The Pope is a Marxist, so says Rush Limbaugh. Why? Because Pope Francis decided to not only endorse anthropogenic climate change, but also had the nerve to suggest humans should do something to curb their carbon emissions output. If only the man who was once quoted as saying “religion is the opium of the masses” could see the Pope endorsing his work about a century later, I bet even Marx would have started believing in a higher power.
This past week, Pope Francis released an encyclical, a 183 page document that according to Devin Henry at The Hill is “a formal statement of the church’s views on a subject, [and] is heavily focused on the impact climate change will have on the poor. Francis writes that developed nations and strong economies need to take the lead in combating it. He blames fossil fuels for driving global warming and says the world needs to move away from ‘especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas.’”
Republicans constantly tell us to look to the church for a moral example of how to live your life. They consistently tell us to read the Bible because it tells us that God wanted Americans to believe in tax cuts, deregulation of business, gun ownership, and that abortion should be opposed at all costs. However, the Pope’s statement on anthropogenic climate change made even the most stringent of Catholics, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (both of whom are 2016 Republican presidential contenders), sick to their stomach. Rick Santorum said “[t]he church has gotten it wrong a few times on science… And I think that we are probably better off leaving science to the scientists and focusing on what we’re really good at, which is theology and morality.” One problem with that statement, as reported by James West of Mother Jones, “the Pope earned a technician’s degree in chemistry from a technical school in Buenos Aires before joining the seminary.” Jeb Bush recently said that “I hope I’m not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home, but I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinal or my pope…I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting in the political realm.”
So I ask these Republicans this; I understand that most of you are “not scientists” and therefore cannot subscribe to the majority opinion shared by climate scientists that humans are significantly contributing to climate change. But most of you guys are also “not economists” and yet you guys predict that environmental deregulation will not hurt the environment and that cap-and-trade will devastate the U.S. economy. These Republican presidential contenders are also “not women”, yet they have no problem curtailing abortion rights and including contraception in women’s healthcare plans. These Republican presidential contenders are also “not black”, yet insist that increasing school choice (read: privatizing education and closing public schools) and closing the Department of Education is the only way for Black Americans to receive a good education, insist that over-policing poor neighborhoods and continuing the War on Drugs will help them personally (even though its been hammering them throughout the last few decades by locking up people for simple drug possessions) and insist that voter I.D. laws will not restrict their ability to vote, even though evidence shows otherwise.
But outside of all this, the real question is, does the Pope’s endorsement of doing something about anthropogenic climate have anything to do with Marxism? Did Karl Marx endorse Cap-and-Trade while discussing commodity fetishism? No. Was Karl Marx a climate scientist who wanted to get rich off the government tit by studying climate science? No. Was Karl Marx an advocate for Solyndra and increased government subsidies for green-energy companies? No.
In light of all this, I am now beginning to conclude that conservatives are merely using the word “Marxism” as a scare tactic to slight anybody who disagrees with them. Crazy, I know.