Pope Smacks Obama’s Knuckles on Religious Liberty

Pope Francis meets with President Barack Obama in March 2014

In the most nakedly political encounter between a Pope and a President I have ever seen, Pope Francis used his first meeting with President Obama to smack the most powerful man in the world’s knuckles on the urgent unfolding religious liberty crisis in the U.S. And then the Holy Father gently caressed his other cheek by praising President Obama on climate change.

The smackdown first:

Mr. President, together with their fellow citizens, American Catholics are committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination. With countless other people of good will, they are likewise concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty. That freedom remains one of America’s most precious possessions. And, as my brothers, the United States Bishops, have reminded us, all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it.

Coming just a few weeks after Kim Davis was released from jail, this shout out should rally many Christians to take the threats at least as seriously as the Pope does, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, too.

On climate change the Pope praised Obama, saying:

Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution.
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