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Pope Francis arrives in U.S., faces a polarized country

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By NICOLE WINFIELD and RACHEL ZOLL

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God Bless the Pope. God Bless the PResident. Hope his visit here is a productive one..

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Republicans and many conservative Catholics have bristled at his indictment of the excesses of capitalism that he says impoverish people and risk turning the Earth into an “immense pile of filth. Many conservatives have likewise rejected his call for urgent action against global warming.”

Pope Francis is simply holding up the mirror of moral contemplation to the 'gop-tea'.

It is unfair of course to ask the 1% to indulge in self examination. Everything was going so well before Pope Francis started his guilt trip.

Funny thing? Pope Francis, this compassionate and truly caring human being, is only asking for the same compassion Jesus asked for. No wonder the 'gop-tea' calls him a 'Marxist'. Just look at all the trouble moral examination has already caused the 'gop-tea'. Obviously the Republicans and many conservative Catholics have to draw the line somewhere on personal responsibility.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

This pope is very controversial and needs to be reminded the USA and its citizens are some of the most generous in the world in catholic charities and charities in general. Not a bad trait for capitalists.

-11 ( +7 / -18 )

Catholics have a favorable view of him, and nearly 8 in 10 approve the direction he is taking the church

Hardly "polarizing".

P Fran is his own man, not beholding to special interests and he has no stake in any election cycle.

Maybe that's what the 'gop-tea' really needs, but with a conscience and a spoon full of humility? Oh, wait, that would take intelligence and compassion. Sorry, that's setting the bar too high for fans of the Rump who are already too proud of their new found pride in prejudice.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

How ironic it is that the GOP/Tea Party supporters who most frequently boast of their Christian values are also the ones who are most adamantly against the Pope's message of empathy and compassion.

In the U.S., the Catholic Church used to be seen as somewhat right-leaning/conservative, but now the GOP has swung so far to the evangelical right with a message of animosity for anyone who is not a Bible-thumping bigoted American that the Catholic Church now seems left-leaning.

As a non-Catholic, non-religious person, I appreciate the Pope's message of inclusion, which is sorely needed by America at this time.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

This pope is very controversial and needs to be reminded the USA and its citizens are some of the most generous in the world in catholic charities and charities in general. Not a bad trait for capitalists.

Much of this charitable giving would not be needed if the USA was not the most generous in the world at providing corporate welfare for the arms industry. This death spending, ended and diverted, would could solve most of the world's humanitarian and environmental crises. I'm sure the Pope need not be reminded of this.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

As a Catholic & American I wish the Pope good luck with his mission but he's gonna need the I.M.F.Force & then some if he's gonna try out his version of "Hope & Change in this Country & at this time.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Personal giving is not the same as the state stealing money from one group of people to give to another. One is done out of free will, the other at gunpoint. This remains true, no matter how many JapanToday socialists try to twist scripture to fit their world view.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

Matthew 19:24

"And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

So, who knows better? These loud talking conservatives Christians or the Bible which they claim to follow to the letter. In the last couple presidential debates, some of them couldn't even answer basic questions about religion. They don't really want a leader who is Jesus like. This is shown in the their vitriol towards the current Pope. They didn't show dismay with the previous scandal ridden Pope who was also quite political. He just said things that they liked. They don't like that this Pope likes The President more than them. Remember religion is their shtick!

Most of these "religious conservatives" just want a religion that can help them justify doing whatever they want without feeling guilty about it. Manifest destiny! (i.e. slavery, greed, violence, discrimination, destruction, pollution, oppression, ignorance, hate)

These same folks would probably crucify Jesus again if he returned because based on the teachings, he was a socialist all the way! Helping the sick, the poor, and the needy; turning the other cheek, loving everyone; that is Jesus's schtick!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Sensato How ironic it is that the GOP/Tea Party supporters who most frequently boast of their Christian values are also the ones who are most adamantly against the Pope's message of empathy and compassion.

How ironic that the socialist Pope and his acolytes in the wing nut American Left who frequently boast their compassion for the poor and the down-trodden are actually trying to destroy capitalism - the single greatest agent for moving millions out of poverty over the last two centuries. By all means let's raise the cost of energy by preaching the religion of climate change and returning to the old Soviet and Maoist centrally controlled economy that failed so spectacularly in the past and plunged millions into extreme poverty and misery. "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

The USA is almost always in the front of the line with aid, expertise, and charitable contributions following from the fed, corporate and private. Shallow viewpoints often overlook the obvious.

The nation is polarized and the liberals are doing a bang up job at pushing that. Again, look at the obvious with an open mind, you may see reality as is. The illusions are a devicive control tools that seem to work well for those who use them on a small but growing population needing others to make their minds up.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

He is the best pope that the corrupt Vatican has had in a long time. And that is why he is so dangerous to decent, intelligent, freedom loving human beings the world over.

The Vatican has backed off their hard-line stance against condoms, but they still have not figured out (or won't admit) that they have got that Onan parable completely wrong. They seem to be backing off on gay marriage as well, but they still hold dear to the beliefs of hate that caused the troubles in the first place. And they won't get it right concerning abortion either. Or letting their priests have normal sexual relationships so as to keep them from abusing children.

If Francis has not come along the Vatican might well have continued its nose-dive and shattered on impact, to the benefit of all mankind.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

@Silvafan

Cool, mind pointing out Jesus's corollary to that where he said that therefore it's totally cool to steal from the rich?

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Silvafan. most churches in the world long ago parted company with the literal interpretation of Scripture. The ones who still follow the book are all a bit nutty, no?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@MarkG

"The USA is almost always in the front of the line with aid, expertise, and charitable contributions following from the fed, corporate and private. Shallow viewpoints often overlook the obvious."

You are right! However, you failed to mention most of these organizations are lead by either left leaning liberals or moderate conservatives. None of which, we are discussing in this article. If the "Left" left the U.S. then America would no longer lead in charitable contributions.

Unless you mean mostly Conservative Presidents that supported dictators an propped up regimens. Or do you mean The Conservative leaders who wants to send money to Israel to help oppress other people instead help the people in US who should be more important?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

A "polarized country"? The funny thing is that America has been polarised by it's politicians, who are the ones who create the issues which divide the people. Once the people are divided, they are easy to control. The left elects people to protect themselves from the right, and the right elects people to protect them from the left. The funny thing is that the people they elect are not really from the left or the right, they just take advantage of the ignorance of the masses.

The church was the pioneer of profiting from the fear of the people. They preach of the horrors of hell and satan, and tell you than the church is the only protection you have from these things. They tell you your sins will send you to hell, but to absolve yourself from sins, you must be baptised into the church, and pay a penance for your sins. It's a wonderful racket.

The pope is a populist who like other populists, is pandering to the poorer classes. Like a good politician, he will blame the rich for the misery of the poor, and in doing so, more people will join the church. Membership in the church has been declining for decades, and fewer and fewer people want to become priests. By creating a little class warfare, the pope hopes to increase hatred of the rich, and get more people to join the church.

What he overlooks is that rich people don't become rich by robbing people and gun point and making them poor. Rich people become rich by providing goods and services people need or want, and in order to provide these goods and services, they must hire people to help them, as well as buy the materials to produce these goods. This means that in order for there to be a large rich class, there must be a large working class. But many people can't seem to get their heads around this. Having fewer rich people never results in there being fewer poor people. The opposite is always true, and there has never been an exception.

If you go to the Pope's home country (Argentina), you will see far greater "financial inequality" than you will find in America or Europe. In the pope's home country the rich class is indeed much smaller than those in America or Europe, but the poor class is very much larger. The annual income in Argentina is about 1/5 what it is in America. Does the pope wish America to be more like Argentina?

The funny thing is that among christian countries, there is a great disparity in financial equality between those countries which are predominantly protestant or predominantly catholic.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

He is the best pope that the corrupt Vatican has had in a long time. - comments

Perhaps the best Pope Ever! Seriously, the Church ran a ring of pedophiles for forty documented years and never once did anything about it except move predators into new parishes. P Fran has the daunting task of stepping boldly forward as the Church has fastidiously shielded it's tormentors for decades.

Pope Francis may well save the Church and there is nothing polarizing about that. In fact, as the article reports, 80% of Catholics hoped their faith would be saved.

And, now, Pope Francis has made that possible. How many other Religions might learn from this? How many Politicians and rabid ideologues are threatened by the truths Francis is making self evident?

His reward? The 'gop-tea; calls him a Marxist as the Holy Father visits America. So much for the 'Christian Nation' gong bangers. Maybe they are another example of Mr. Trump's 'American Losers' campaign.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

It says something about the non-functional level of discourse in the US when someone says things like that we should care for our poor and that unregulated capitalism is bad and that the rich need to do more to help out, and what some people hear is, "I want to eradicate all capitalism on earth and turn everything into a Marxist utopia." You can't have a functioning society if on the most basic level, people refuse to hear what's actually being said.

It's weird, in the 1960s, conservatives had a pretty rational reason for opposing revolutionary communism. The problem wasn't the economic ideology per se, the problem was the "revolutionary" bit. Communism was a social experiment and conservatives rightfully thought it was a bad idea to plunge a society into the chaos of an untested ideology. Nowadays, we can look back and know that we were on the right side of history. Communism as practiced by the USSR and Maoist China didn't work. But some forms of socialism have been tested and shown they do work - the Nordic forms of Social Democracy in particular. However, American conservatives have never acknowledged this fact. Generally, to an American conservative all socialism and all communism are the same thing. And now in its push for ideological purity the Tea Party and supporters of libertarianism have largely abandoned the conservative roots that served them so well in the past and embraced radical social experimentation with initiatives like dismantling the EPA, flat tax rates, and ignoring the science on global warming when it doesn't suit their ambitions. Oh how the wheel turns.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Having fewer rich people never results in there being fewer poor people. The opposite is always true, and there has never been an exception.

A statement that can be easily disproven by the use of second grade elementary school arithmetic. I also believe Adam Smith wrote something along the lines that having one rich person creates 250 poor people. But what would Adam Smith know compared to all the 21st century Kool-Aid drinkers posting their wisdom, deep understanding, and knowledge of how capitalism works on Japan Today.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

In Matthew 22:15-22 we read

Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. "Teacher," they said, "we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"

But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?"

"Caesar's," they replied.

Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

@lllyas

Cool, mind pointing out Jesus's corollary to that where he said that therefore it's totally cool to steal from the rich?

Even Jesus paid taxes! The ultimate socialist and liberal! And your point is?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This pope is very controversial and needs to be reminded the USA and its citizens are some of the most generous in the world in catholic charities and charities in general. Not a bad trait for capitalists.

Without a doubt. Without the US, a lot of people and countries around the world would suffer. That doesn't mean, the US is not a perfect nation, but a nation that is caring and giving despite all of our strengths and weaknesses and regardless or our own trials and tribulations.

http://www.cnbc.com/2013/12/03/worlds-most-big-hearted-nation-the-united-states.html

The United States is the world's most generous nation, according to a global index of giving, as a higher proportion of Americans helped a stranger than any other country in the world.

The 2013 World Giving Index – published annually by international nonprofit organization Charities Aid Foundation – looks at three measures: monetary giving, volunteering and helping of strangers in a typical month. The survey, published on Tuesday, was carried out in 2012 across 135 countries.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Not a Catholic, so from a religious standpoint I don't have a leg in the discussions on the Pope and the direction of the Catholic Church. However, I find it interesting from some of the posters here who deride the GOP and the religious right of being narrow minded, yet seem to be falling all over themselves with the Papal visit since they don't care about the religion, just spread the money around. If the Pope really wants to deride capitalism, he can start by selling some of the art works in the Vatican and use the proceeds to feed the poor and downtrodden. But I haven't seen any auction listings yet.

"And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

A good point, but Jesus was also talking about the religious leaders of the time, who were the big shots in the Temple and who were making money from dealing with the Roman occupation as well. It doesn't say that the rich man has to give up everything, but that by obsessing on only money and not the Word of God, the love of riches (you know, trips to Martha's Vineyard every summer, the latest I-gadget, fine art treasures, etc) can cause people to loose focus on what they should believe that is accepting God.

The capitalist commerce that Francis disdains is the reason the portion of the planet's population living in "absolute poverty" ($1.25 a day) declined from 53 percent to 17 percent in three decades after 1981. Even in low-income countries, writes economist Indur Goklany, life expectancy increased from between 25 to 30 years in 1900 to 62 years today.

Francis grew up around the rancid political culture of Peronist populism, the sterile redistributionism that has reduced his Argentina from the world's 14th highest per-capita GDP in 1900 to 63rd today. Francis' agenda for the planet, "global regulatory norms," would globalize Argentina's downward mobility.

So, on the religious grounds, I don't care what the Pope tells his Catholic flock, not my concern. But when he comes over and tries to tell the rest of the world, that capitalism is bad, and the modern life is doing harm and we should scale it back, I have an opinion.

But I will say this for those who deride the so called GOP/Tea and even the Catholic Church and other religious groups, notice how prior to his visit, there weren't any beheadings or car bombs, and even though some may not agree with gay marriage, none were thrown off buildings and other religious groups places of worship that have stood for years have not been torn down. Must be something about Western civilization that allows dissent that is not found in one particular religion. Let the name calling begin.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

@Wakarimasen

Most churches in the world long ago parted company with the literal interpretation of Scripture. The ones who still follow the book are all a bit nutty, no?

Yes, these are the people we are discussing in the article. The same is true for the commenters defending those people. To get our point across, we must use their language and their strongest point, and show the weaknesses in that point.

That is how you win an argument not calling people a bit nutty without a sound argument, no?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Francis grew up around the rancid political culture of Peronist populism, the sterile redistributionism that has reduced his Argentina from the world's 14th highest per-capita GDP in 1900 to 63rd today. Francis' agenda for the planet, "global regulatory norms," would globalize Argentina's downward mobility.

The constant demonization of having wealth or accumulating it without government intervention is seen by many liberals as counter-productive to what they feel is against the entire philosophy of what is justice and that is income redistribution of the wealth.

So, on the religious grounds, I don't care what the Pope tells his Catholic flock, not my concern. But when he comes over and tries to tell the rest of the world, that capitalism is bad, and the modern life is doing harm and we should scale it back, I have an opinion.

Capitalism is bad only for the people that don't understand it, haven't taken the opportunities that the US has given them to create as much wealth as possible. The Pope is entitled to have his opinion, but as you said, to come here and lecture us about how bad Capitalism is in his opinion.

But I will say this for those who deride the so called GOP/Tea and even the Catholic Church and other religious groups, notice how prior to his visit, there weren't any beheadings or car bombs, and even though some may not agree with gay marriage, none were thrown off buildings and other religious groups places of worship that have stood for years have not been torn down. Must be something about Western civilization that allows dissent that is not found in one particular religion. Let the name calling begin.

Very true! But the Dems are also in hot water with this Pope. Ironic on the day he makes a visit where Senate Democrats just opposed and blocked a legislation bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks. This comes as no surprise from the party that values supposedly human life and wants to accept millions of refugees thinking that is is our sacred duty, but doesn't have a problem with killing and harvesting organs from a fully developed child. This should be very interesting how this all will play out.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

The 2013 World Giving Index... looks at three measures: monetary giving, volunteering and helping of strangers in a typical month.

In a nation that fails to educate or care for its own, and brutalises whole swathes of the population with frightening incarceration rates while the privileged retreat to gated communities.

Medieval values. Don'tcha love 'em!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@alphaape

Did Pope Francis or any commentor here say that they want the rich to give up all of their worldly possessions? No......please show me where it is stated.

A good point, but Jesus was also talking about the religious leaders of the time, who were the big shots in the Temple and who were making money from dealing with the Roman occupation as well.

Like the conservative religious leaders, the GOP leaders/teapartyers align themselves with each other for both political and financial again. They use their supposed religious righteousness to influence the ignorant and misinformed for their benefit. See the connection? We don't!

It doesn't say that the rich man has to give up everything, but that by obsessing on only money and not the Word of God, the love of riches (you know, trips to Martha's Vineyard every summer, the latest I-gadget, fine art treasures, etc) can cause people to loose focus on what they should believe that is accepting God.

You seem to understand the point that Pope Francis and his supporters on this article is trying to make, but the detractors on this post just don't seem to understand.

Thanks for the words of wisdom. Hopefully, your cohorts will understand too.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

'A good point, but Jesus was also talking about the religious leaders of the time, who were the big shots in the Temple and who were making money from dealing with the Roman occupation as well. It doesn't say that the rich man has to give up everything,'

Jesus does say elsewhere to give everything, yes everything, to the poor. Couple that with the eye of the needle idea and you have a man with a pretty unequivocal view of the rich and it isn't a favorable one. It's incredible to watch the politicians of the Christian Right ignoring and unconvincingly trying to reinterpret the bible ( the rip-off millionaire preachers flying around in private jets are the masters of this ).

If you believe in lionizing the rich and see nothing wrong with the few possessing an enormous percentage of the wealth, just say it. That's a point of view. Just don't try to say Jesus would in any way approve of this idea. He clearly would not.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

the 78-year-old pontiff removed his skullcap in the windy weather

Scorpion wins....FATALITY.

Wolfpack: capitalism - the single greatest agent for moving millions out of poverty over the last two centuries

Until 2008? Seems that all capitalism is producing nowadays is increased income for the top 1% and flat income for everyone else. Are you ready to take a serious look at that? Or does asking the question make the the enemy?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As a former "alter boy" and long reformed Catholic, I hope the Pope speaks of being kind to people and keeps his nose out of everything else.

Long live GRAVITY!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

good point. fight fire with fire, eh silvafan?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Until 2008? Seems that all capitalism is producing nowadays is increased income for the top 1% and flat income for everyone else.

So what do you propose? This should be good, I'm all ears, because the last 7 years of Obama's income redistribution did little and his inability to create jobs and get the middle class up has done nothing, but create a chasm of people living on food stamps 45 million people, so that's what hope and change got us?

If you believe in lionizing the rich and see nothing wrong with the few possessing an enormous percentage of the wealth, just say it. That's a point of view. Just don't try to say Jesus would in any way approve of this idea. He clearly would not.

Funny, how you atheists now want to lecture Christians on what Jesus would or would not do and you guys don't even acknowledge that there is a God. Please don't patronize the situation and don't interpret the scriptures literally, the radical Islamists that follow and want Sharia as the law of the land do EXACTLY that.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Jesus does say elsewhere to give everything, yes everything, to the poor. Couple that with the eye of the needle idea and you have a man with a pretty unequivocal view of the rich and it isn't a favorable one.

There is a parable in the Bible where Jesus talks about a man who had brought in his harvest, and it was so much that it filled his barn. He thought that with all of the extra stuff, he would tear down his old barn and build a bigger one, to which the man was told that he was a fool to put his stock on his earthly possessions, his life would be ended that night, to just paraphrase.

If you understood anything about life in Jesus' time, you would understand that this parable doesn't mean that one should not aspire to do well, or just give it all up to the poor. To be successful in your crop, a farmer had to do long and hard work, for many days inspecting and running a farm. No John Deere electric tractors or pickers to glean the vineyards. Nothing but hard labor. For his labors, the man was Blessed with a crop and had more than he expected. The point of the parable asks us to not just look for ourselves, and keep focusing on gaining more and more and storing it up for naught, but maybe to give to the poor when needed, or help others. Notice, he was in the wrong according to the parable after he had managed to get enough for his needs. Nowhere does Jesus say that after he had done all the work, he should not have any for himself. The rest of the theological argument can be on the grounds of "how much is enough." Does that mean a summer in the Hamptons, or buying the newest I-product when we have a little extra.

Also, if you note, nowhere does Jesus or in the Bible for that matter say that it is the "state's responsibility" to take care of the poor. It is up to the individual to do so by giving. Either of themselves or donating through organizations, but nowhere does it say, "Thou shall support thy state, and let them be the ones who feed those who don't have."

Poor people can help poor, but if people are given an opportunity to earn capital and hire someone or donate more, that is much better. To me, the Pope in his calls for redefining capitalism is stepping out of bounds. As I said, he can start by giving up some of the priceless art treasures and selling off a lot of the land and holdings that the Church has if he wants to make that point.

Funny thing though, he has come down on the side of Global Warming and man-made climate change, he seems to forget the story of the flood during Noah's time. But I guess that was man-made also if you consider it was done because man's transgressions. But I digress.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

@Alpha

To be successful in your crop, a farmer had to do long and hard work, for many days inspecting and running a farm.

I would doubt that the "farmer" (i.e. the landowner) did any hard work on the land. He would have paid miserably low wages to peasants to do it for him.

And that's precisely the problem with capitalism.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

'There is a parable in the Bible where Jesus talks about a man who had brought in his harvest, and it was so much that it filled his barn. He thought that with all of the extra stuff, he would tear down his old barn and build a bigger one, to which the man was told that he was a fool to put his stock on his earthly possessions, his life would be ended that night, to just paraphrase.'

I know that parable. Jesus used parables to get his message across ( it was a tradition used by many Jewish preachers at the time ). These parables used familiar ideas and were used to teach a moral point or message - the parables were not to be taken literally.

I'm sure you are also aware that Jesus referenced slavery in a parable. Do you believe Jesus was pro-slavery given your reading of the parables?

I think it's better to take him at his crystal clear statements - give all you have to the poor and it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Don't you think this is more convincing than taking the imagery of a parable while completely ignoring or attempting to muddy the waters of his crystal clear statements?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A "polarized country"? The funny thing is that America has been polarised by it's politicians, who are the ones who create the issues which divide the people.

Spot On. Also as a Catholic American I am embarrassed by the fact that a Representative from the state I reside in, Paul Gosar, who also claims to be a Catholic, is going to boycott the Pope's speech to Congress because he disagrees with Francis' position on climate change. He claims it's a "socialist agenda". This is exactly what sangetsu is talking about. Even elected officials can't show respect to someone like the Pope and hear what he has to say, and then possibly engage in intelligent discussion of it. No, we simply boycott it, because we don't want to hear it. I have often called JT politicians "children" here on JT, but folks like Gosar in the U.S. are equally as bad.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Whoa - the Pope is not a Marxist; he simply desires a more just society. As lucabrasi noted, he who brought in the crops may well not have been the "farmer" but his laborers - and that is vastly more likely today. Equitable distribution of the fruits of labor are at issue here, not any abstract hatred of the wealthy.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I think it's better to take him at his crystal clear statements - give all you have to the poor and it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

Liberal translation: advocate more socialism and hopefully giving Christians (at least the hardcore believers a guilty conscious) pitiful and shameful! Good luck with that.

Don't you think this is more convincing than taking the imagery of a parable while completely ignoring or attempting to muddy the waters of his crystal clear statements?

Wow!

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

'Funny, how you atheists now want to lecture Christians on what Jesus would or would not do and you guys don't even acknowledge that there is a God. Please don't patronize the situation and don't interpret the scriptures literally, the radical Islamists that follow and want Sharia as the law of the land do EXACTLY that.'

I don't hear you getting angry with GOP politicians who do interpret scripture literally and attempt to deny scientific fact by doing so. Also, can you tell me the figurative rather than literal meaning of 'give all you have to the poor'? Perhaps in my ignorance, I thought it meant give all you have to the poor.

Also, can you help me out of my clearly ignorant literalism in the case of Jesus attacking the rich man making an ostentatious show of giving a tiny fraction of his wealth to charity? It's just with so many posts gleefully telling us about generosity I thought I'd mention that one too.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

bass: So what do you propose? This should be good, I'm all ears, because the last 7 years of Obama's income redistribution did little and his inability to create jobs and get the middle class up has done nothing, but create a chasm of people living on food stamps 45 million people, so that's what hope and change got us?

Thanks for asking. Like I've said before, the flat wages have been going on under different administrations. Worker productivity has shot up during that same time, so workers are producing more but taking home the same amount. And it doesn't matter who is president, it's been the same. Different tax rates, different regulations, different growth numbers, different president, different Congress.....all producing flat wages.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Jim

Also, can you tell me the figurative rather than literal meaning of 'give all you have to the poor'? Perhaps in my ignorance, I thought it meant give all you have to the poor.

Always had a problem with this. But good old C S Lewis explained it pretty well: If you literally give everything away, you make yourself homeless and unable to feed yourself, and you become a burden on society. Lewis reckoned you should give enough away so that you notice it. So you can't have that third beer, because you've donated to the Red Cross, or you have to walk home because you've given your bus fare to a homeless person.

As long as you're aware of feeling a bit "pinched", you're doing the right thing, which seems fair enough to me. (Not that I always manage to practise what Mr Lewis preaches!)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I would doubt that the "farmer" (i.e. the landowner) did any hard work on the land. He would have paid miserably low wages to peasants to do it for him.

@ lucabrasi: It doesn't say if he was the landowner or if he had servants to do the work. Even if he did have servants, work was still involved on his part since he was the one who assumed the risk and was responsible for the taxes. When was the last time a poor person hired someone?

Your comments are at the crux of the problem that I have in regards to the Pope and his beliefs on capitalism. So what if the man in the parable was a landowner. That doesn't mean that he was part of the "1%" he could just be a man who managed to scrape by for years, and own his own land, and therefore able to set his own destiny, and not relying on "Rome" for a handout to help him.

I think it's better to take him at his crystal clear statements - give all you have to the poor and it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

There is also a story about a poor woman giving her paltry pennies but doing so with a cheerful heart and how Jesus said she is a more giving person because she is doing it not for show but from the heart, no matter how small the amount was she did it willingly.

You can interpret the scriptures in many different ways, thus you have many different branches of Christianity. But again, on doctrine I'm not Catholic so I don't care what he tells his flock to do. But I think his comments on climate change, and modern society are wrong. Francis deplores "compulsive consumption," a sin to which the 1.3 billion persons without even electricity can only aspire. He leaves the Vatican to jet around praising subsistence farming, a romance best enjoyed from 30,000 feet above the realities that such farmers yearn to escape.

I'm sure you are also aware that Jesus referenced slavery in a parable. Do you believe Jesus was pro-slavery given your reading of the parables?

Yes the Bible does talk about slavery, and one of the things about Christianity is that it has gone through a reformation. As some pointed out, not everything is taken literal. You do also realize that the Bible and the beliefs at the time frown on homosexuality? Also, the killing of persons convicted of crimes. Yet those are two issues among many that believers and non-believers continue to wrestle with to this day.

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@luca The Lewis view sounds a bit too convenient. Lewis was hardly short of a few bob and it would take a hell of a lot for him to feel 'pinched'.

Given that Jesus emphasized the spiritual over the material and clearly despised avarice, I'd say he'd be closer to the moral view that everything spent on something not necessary for your survival has a starving child's blood on it. It's certainly something I can't live by, but the example of the poor widow giving away something she couldn't afford to give as opposed to the ostentatious rich man making sure everyone knows about his 'generosity' ( read the posts above ) seems to indicate this idea.

The head of the Catholic Church could also do with a bit more of walking the walk.

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Even if he did have servants, work was still involved on his part since he was the one who assumed the risk and was responsible for the taxes.

Nice sentiment, but I'm sure you're aware that that is, for the most part, not how things work today. Mitigating risk while maximizing income is. Carly Fiorina, for example, received from HP according to Wikipedia, "US$65 million in restricted stock..., a $3 million signing bonus, a $1 million annual salary (plus a US$1.25–US$3.75 million annual bonus), US$36,000 in mortgage assistance, a relocation allowance, and permission (and encouragement) to use company planes for personal affairs."

Whether that level of compensation was justified may be questionable, but just six years later - and following layoffs of 30,000 employees - she was terminated, and very graciously: "Fiorina received a severance package valued at US$21 million... According to Fortune magazine, Fiorina collected over US$100 million in compensation during her short tenure at HP."

Now, certainly the computing business was in a huge state of flux at the time, with the commodization of hardware resulting in production being offshored and consolidated, but she bet very, very wrong in her purchase of Compaq - yet, not only did she suffer zero penalty (quite the opposite, actually), but she is now running for president on a platform to allow those like her to pay less in taxes.

If you think cases like this - and this is in no way isolated - are acceptable, please say so, but do not pretend that most modern Midas assume much risk or pay excessive taxes.

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The ultimate socialist and liberal!

Socialist? According to Shaw, certainly. Liberal? Absolutely not. Jesus did not advocate sin (violating the ten commandments and other teachings of the old testament). Jesus told the religious leaders of the day that he had not come to change or abolish the laws of Moses, but to fulfil them. He never told people that he could or would absolve them of their sins, he told them to "sin no more". The church is different, after confession you are never told to "sin no more". If people stopped living in sin, what would they need the church for? The church preys upon guilt or fear, things people would have less of if the church encouraged them to live without sin.

The church places itself between man and god, and charges a fee. We have no need of priests, bishops, cardinals, or popes, who are the greatest of all hypocrites. The church doesn't punish sin (any more), nor does it reward good behaviour. It exists to enrich itself, as many religions do. Visit the pope's palaces, look at his jewels, his cars, planes, and helicopters. Not much different from the priests at the large shinto shrines with their gold Rolexes and shiny Mercedes Benz cars.

The church nowadays stands opposite to everything Jesus advocated. The wealth and power of the church are not what they once were, but the church remains one of the world's largest landowners, and one of the richest organisations in the world. It has used the donations of the people to by gold, jewels, and trinkets to decorate buildings and the robes of higher church officials.

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Humans love fairy tales and happy endings. Even though the current Pope seems like a nice bloke, in some ways it is amazing that there are still followers of Catholicism considering all the damage so many Catholic priests have done. Guess it just proves how stupid and gullible so many people are. Powerful religions are powerful because they have vast sums of money. They have vast sums of money because they prey on people's weaknesses and pretend to listen to people while receiving endless donations because many can't think of what else to spend their money on. This money helps the Church get out of most deep holes in much the same way that a powerful person, company, or politician can. We can all be nice to one another without needing any religion, can't we?! If not, why not?

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@Jim

Yes, it's hard to argue that Jesus didn't mean exactly what he said, but then, in a perfect Christian society, we'd all be giving all our possessions to each other like some kind of crazy conveyor belt. It'd be madness.

A more useful, understandable quote would be (and it's from memory, so maybe not exact), "Let he who has two cloaks give one who has none."

Only one; you get to keep the other.

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@Alphaape You're avoiding my point. Of course the bible contains references and actual mandates for slavery. Slaveholders did take the verses citing slavery literally centuries after the reformation, and within a few decades, those citing the anti-gay verses of the bible will find themselves increasingly isolated. That's not my point.

The fact that Jesus used familiar imagery in his parables doesn't mean he advocated the idea itself. I've heard many Christians in the US cite this parable as a justification for accumulating wealth but they understandably tend to use the image of a slave in a parable less as a justification for slavery nowadays. It is a bit strange to ignore the unequivocal denunciations of wealth Jesus made and cite the images in a parable to justify a view.

I'm sure you'd agree that it's pretty difficult to justify the kind of materialism and concentrations of wealth we see nowadays and claim Jesus wouldn't have a problem with this. Lucabrasi mentioned the idea of giving away one of your two cloaks. What was that famous quote from a US president about a chicken in every pot and a car ( or was it two?) in every garage? How about the idea of two cars, two houses, two yachts, two smartphones, two luxury brand watches/bags/wallets or maybe more interestingly, two firearms?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Not a Catholic, but for some reason, I really like this guy !

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I don't hear you getting angry with GOP politicians who do interpret scripture literally and attempt to deny scientific fact by doing so.

First of all, it is NOT the entire GOP that are Bible thumpers and not even half, so let's just not go there. As far as the few politicians that do, let them. They are allowed to believe as they wish and if they want to believe like Atheists who are you guys to tell them that they are wrong. If you push your beliefs on them, they can do the same. What makes me angry is the constant insidious and blatant acts towards Christians. When a gay couple goes and asks a Christian baker to bake a wedding cake and they refuse, take your business elsewhere, there are thousands of bakers that will gladly bake a cake for gay couples, but NO, they have to single out and force one individual that doesn't believe in gay marriage and libs and the gay activist will hound the individuals that will not cross that religious threshold, therefore you have to make an example out of these people! It's shameful and pitiful. But a gay couple wouldn't dare go into a Muslim cake shop demanding the same thing and you guys know it. So the main point is, as long as the president doesn't govern solely based on religion it doesn't and should't matter how they think.

Also, can you tell me the figurative rather than literal meaning of 'give all you have to the poor'? Perhaps in my ignorance, I thought it meant give all you have to the poor.

How about getting a Bible, read it and tell me how you interpret it. Makes for great reading as well.

Also, can you help me out of my clearly ignorant literalism in the case of Jesus attacking the rich man making an ostentatious show of giving a tiny fraction of his wealth to charity? It's just with so many posts gleefully telling us about generosity I thought I'd mention that one too.

The Bible says also you shouldn't lie, that means Obama and Hillary are in very, very serious trouble. I thought to mention that one as well.

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"Pope Francis arrived Tuesday on the first visit of his life to the United States, bringing his “church of the poor” to the world’s wealthiest superpower"

This "wealthiest superpower" has racked up an $18.4 trillion debt.

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@Bass I didn't say it was the whole GOP who believe the world is 6,000 years old and believe evolution and the Big Bang are 'lies from the pit of hell' ( a GOP politician did say that ). However, I think it's fair to say it has more anti-science bible-bashers per head than any political party in the developed world. Yes, I'll tell people who want to teach junk-science to children they are wrong all day and twice on Sundays.

I have read the bible. I was educated in a very religious school. My interpretation of 'give all you have to the poor' is to give all you have to the poor. My interpretation of the camel and the eye of the needle is that Jesus believed it was close to impossible for the rich to enter heaven. What's your interpretation? Jesus thought being a millionaire or a billionaire was just fine and something to aspire to? Blessed are the one-percenters/wealth creators for they shall inherit the earth?

I thought you couldn't resist your usual partisanship. Hillary and Obama are rich so they are clearly not people Jesus approved of regardless of their lies. Can I ask your interpretation of 'turn the other cheek' and 'love your enemy'? Bomb the living daylights out of people based on a pack of lies? Blessed are the arms manufacturers?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This Pope is awesome.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Why are they teaching creationism in science classes in Louisiana? Is it because Christians are persecuted in America?

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Pope Francis arrived Tuesday on the first visit of his life to the United States, bringing his “church of the poor” to the world’s wealthiest superpower and a country polarized over issues closest to his heart: immigration, social injustice and economic inequality.

Right. The Catholic Church is many things. But 'church of the poor?" I suppose in the same way Apple is the company of the poor...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Laguna: Whether that level of compensation was justified may be questionable, but just six years later - and following layoffs of 30,000 employees - she was terminated, and very graciously: "Fiorina received a severance package valued at US$21 million... According to Fortune magazine, Fiorina collected over US$100 million in compensation during her short tenure at HP."

Yep. They can say what they want about performance and doing a good job and earning your pay, but when the opposite happens and you run the country into the ground you get tens of millions of dollars anyway. They can't lose, and they all help each other by being board members of other companies which keeps the compensation ridiculously high regardless of performance. Just getting hired means you'll get more money than you can spend in your lifetime. Performance is more of an optional thing.

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Bass4Funk,

Interesting that you cite the bigoted baker in Belfast. It's not inconceivable that the same establishment would have refused Catholics business a generation ago, and that's why it made the headlines.

People thought they had moved on from the era - not so long ago - when that particular bible-thumping, killjoy minority (latter day Pharisees: Europe's own Taliban) ruled an oppressive roost. Swings, roundabouts and slides in the public park were locked up on Sundays, and Northern Ireland was 'dry' on the Sabbath thanks to them.

By contrast, Francis, when asked about about gay relationships, said "who am I to judge?"

That, sir, is Christianity.

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People are going to have their religious beliefs, whether it is thinking that the world is only 6000 years old, or that this Sunday when the Blood Moon arrives there will be a catastrophe heralding the arrival of the Second coming of Christ. I am not knocking the Pope or Catholics or any religion on their belief in doctrine.

But as I mentioned, this Pope I don't go along with his Global Warming and some of his social policies on how he thinks the world should run. Many posters are going all out about the rich not getting into Heaven, well it isn't about the money, but about what they have been focusing their lives on at the expense of their faithfulness to God. You notice, it didn't say that it was impossible, but difficult. If that were the case, then why would the church amass such wealth and as it's head the Pope would be the owner of that wealth, so by trying to blame the rich as being sinners wouldn't he along with the rest of the hedge fund managers, and Soros, and the other billionaires not make it into Heaven? Jesus was talking about those who put the false gods of money, and other earthly vices before their beliefs in God, and how focusing only on those earthly things could detract one from focusing on their spiritual lives. Not all rich people are bad, some are.

I think it's fair to say it has more anti-science bible-bashers per head than any political party in the developed world. Yes, I'll tell people who want to teach junk-science to children they are wrong all day and twice on Sundays.

If you want junk science, how about the Pope's stance on Global Warming. When they come out and say the science is closed, then they are wrong. The very nature of science is that there are still unanswered questions out there. To say that man is so smart that we have figured out everything we need to know about the climate yet can't really predict the weather accurately. I'm all for not putting more junk in the oceans and air, but to say that we as man have caused climate changes is a bit far fetched considering that during the Old Testament times, there were numerous trade routes in what is not Oman that were flowing with rivers, and over time the climate has shifted via natural causes such that portions of the Sahara desert that were green are no longer so, and that those trade routes in Oman have dried up and been covered with deserts. And guess what, there were polar bears back then and they are still here now.

God is not affected by man, Man is affected by God. The Pope is just a man, so have faith in God and not man. Oh and by the way, I am very religious, have an Engineering degree, believe in evolution and still have faith in the Bible and what's presented in it (including the creation story). Go figure.

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@Silvafan

If the "Left" left the U.S. then America would no longer lead in charitable contributions

Except that claim is proven false by study after study. If the 'Left' left America there would a lot less dependency and a lot more of a stable and unified country.

@SuperLib

Is it because Christians are persecuted in America?

Haven't you heard? The government is throwing Christians in jail and running them out of business now.

@Kurobune

Not a Catholic, but for some reason, I really like this guy !

I'm guessing you are partial to Socialism and the religion of global warming.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

If the "Left" left the U.S. then America would no longer lead in charitable contributions

A good book to read is "Do As I Say, Not As I Do" that goes into details of how the progressives on the Left tell everyone how they should live their lives, and yet are hypocrites. A good chapter in it is on the charity aspect you mention. Big time lefties say that they give their "time" and "efforts" to a cause, thereby relieving them of giving financially.

Speaking of "Left" here are a few points the Pope has made that have made some believe that he is a leftist, and is trying to push church and state together in a dangerous fashion:

He has contradicted the teachings of past popes. Pope Francis' comments contrast starkly with John Paul II's writings. In Centensimus Annus (1991), John Paul acknowledged that Marxism clearly failed with the fall of the Soviet Union, and praised any economic system "which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production as well as free human creativity in the economic sector."

He has decried "inequality" as "the root of social ills." Presumably speaking about capitalism, which has lifted billions out of poverty by providing jobs and other opportunities, the pope once said, "The current model, with its emphasis on success and self-reliance, does not appear to favor an investment in efforts to help the slow, the weak or the less talented to find opportunities in life."

He has criticized free-market capitalism. During a speech in Bolivia, Pope Francis called unfettered capitalism "the dung of the devil," a comment many saw as a possible endorsement of socialism. He went on to criticize "corporations, loan agencies, certain ‘free trade’ treaties, and the imposition of measures of 'austerity.'

He accepted a blasphemous crucifix from communist Bolivian President Evo Morales. During his visit to South America this year, Morales handed the pope a small statue of Jesus crucified on a hammer and sickle — the symbol of communism — and the pope took it in his hands, accepting the gift and taking it back to his home in the Vatican.

That's just some of them. To be fair, some of the things that I read that I pulled from the article that I got those from I can agree with, such as the Church's stance on divorce and remarriage, as well as calling out the bad apples in the Church, so I am not just an all or nothing poster. I just have some issues with a few of the things he is espousing.

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Wolfpack: The government is throwing Christians in jail and running them out of business now.

Wait, you mean even Christians are being put in jail for disobeying a judge? I had no idea this was going on. We need to correct this so Christians can once again feel that they are above the law, which is true and just.

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We need to correct this so Christians can once again feel that they are above the law, which is true and just.

You are right SuperLib, just like we need to make sure that the illegals who break our immigration laws are put into jails also. But no that is not being "fair" and they were only doing what they felt was right.

As far as the county clerk in KY, I understand her point, but alas she was elected by the people to do a certain job, and she failed in that part. I don't mind her disagreeing with gay marriage, and she is not condoning the fact that she believes in it if she issues the certificate, but it is her job. Just as we have seen in places like Minnesota where Somali taxi drivers will not give rides to people who bring bottles of alcohol into their cabs or with seeing eye dogs since dogs are considered an affront to their religious sensibilities, and for awhile they had the right to do so but courts have ruled that they must abide by the law and not discriminate, so should this clerk.

Unlike the case of the bakers who refuse to bake a cake for gay couple, that's a private business and like it or not they do have a right to refuse service, just like some places require one to wear certain types of clothing to enter. The clerk's is a public trust position and she should abide by her duties.

For those who want to blast me for being hypocritical, remember, in the Old Testament, Lot was in the middle of it all before Soddom & Gamorrah were destroyed, yet he wasn't caught up in the insanity that led to the city's destruction. And Jesus even made the point to the Disciples when asked about paying taxes and He asked them whose image was on the coin and He said "render unto Caesar's that which is Caesar..." meaning His followers are still part of the world here on earth, and are required to follow the laws. What makes it a bit better than in his day is that one has the right (maybe not the ability sometimes) to move when one doesn't agree with the laws, or to become civic minded and help change those laws (as in numerous examples such as civil rights, etc).

That is something that this current Pope is not about (individuality or the ability to one to make a decision that is best for them) I tried to point out in my previous example, except for when doing so is aligned with his own populist beliefs, like him saying that illegal immigrants are just "pilgrims" and America should welcome them (from his talking today). Funny thing, it seems that the left continually blasts the "pilgrims" who came over to settle America on the Mayflower and other as taking the land away from the true Native Americans, but now these new pilgrims are doing it and it is ok. Again, go figure.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@SuperLib

Wait, you mean even Christians are being put in jail for disobeying a judge? I had no idea this was going on. We need to correct this so Christians can once again feel that they are above the law, which is true and just.

I used to think Liberals believed in civil disobedience when they were on the outside looking in. Now that they are running things it's no longer such a good idea huh?

A lot of people disobey the law because it goes against their conscience; the freedom riders supporting the civil rights movement are a good example. Also Barack Obama who refused to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act. The freedom riders were imprisoned for their beliefs because their actions went against the laws. Laws they considered unjust. They did not back down from their convictions and were willing to suffer the consequences. That is what made them so admirable. As Alpha points out, the President can ignore immigration laws (and others) and suffer no consequences. Illegal immigrants can ignore the laws and suffer no consequences. Meanwhile Kim Davis is sent to jail. Why? Because this disobedience is popular and Kim Davis' isn't?

It's funny how everything is so black and white for the Left when they are in charge. What has changed is that what was once the counter-culture is now the culture. The devoutly religious are now the actual counter-culture in modern day America. I am not religious but I agree with Kim Davis' stand because she was elected to represent her community and because she was willing to suffer the consequences of her actions. She has religious rights that are being ignored and the government is not making an accommodation for them when it is super easy to do so. Unless she is impeached she will have an opportunity to continue resisting as is her right. She will also have to face the voters in her district again and they will also have a say her future.

Obama himself agreed with Davis right up until three years ago. I didn't hear anyone on the Left calling him a bigot or religious nut for his beliefs. As a part of his job, the Pope can disagree with Obama about gay marriage; but Obama is not going around saying that he does not have any moral authority as Pope for not endorsing same sex marriage. On the contrary, Obama is heartily endorsing him because the Pope is also a Leftist ideologue.

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Freedom Riders (Wikipedia): "Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern United States in 1961 and following years to challenge the non-enforcement of the United States Supreme Court decisions Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia (1946) and Boynton v. Virginia (1960),[1] which ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional.[2] The Southern states had ignored the rulings and the federal government did nothing to enforce them. The first Freedom Ride left Washington, D.C., on May 4, 1961,[3] and was scheduled to arrive in New Orleans on May 17.[4]"

Telling us that bigots like Davis are comparable to Freedom Riders will just isolate you even further as most people will smell a rat. We know you people hate gays and want to punish them for their lifestyle choices and deny them rights.

You have a decent sized base now, but the younger generation won't stand for this so it's only a matter of time before you lose. Obviously we are only putting up with your crap for now because Christians are the majority, but if other groups claim they should be exempt from laws that go against their fairy tales then it will expose the fact that we are creating people who are laws unto themselves. And that's not going to fly.

All you have to do is not care what gays do. It really is that simple. Remember the fight against gays in the military? When we finally put that to rest no one ever talked about it again. It was all just a bunch of people crying because they felt they are "damaged" because their bigotry wasn't law of the land. The world didn't end when they were finally pushed aside and it won't end here.

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