As many conservatives fret over Pope Francis’ views on climate change and income inequality ahead of his Thursday speech before Congress, Fox News host Shepard Smith chided those individuals who have criticized the pope for talking about “political” issues.
During Fox News coverage of Pope Francis’ arrival at the White House on Wednesday morning, host Bill Hemmer mentioned that the pontiff may discuss issues that both Democrats and Republicans may disagree with during his address on Thursday.
“Oftentimes the pope is called to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. And you wonder who might be comfortable in Washington, D.C., today and how that may change tomorrow when the pope makes his speech in English before a joint meeting of Congress,” Hemmer said. “And, in all likelihood, an equal opportunity offender, he may leave a little bit for everyone to debate and squirm about.”
Smith responded to Hemmer by saying that “we are in a weird place in the world when the following things are considered political.” Smith then listed five issues both Pope Francis and President Obama have focused on.
“Caring for the marginalized and the poor — that’s now political. Advancing economic opportunity for all. Political? Serving as good stewards of the environment,” he said. “Protecting religious minorities and promoting religious freedom globally. Welcoming and … integrating immigrants and refugees globally. And that’s political?”
The Fox host proceeded to explain that the pope’s discussion on those issues should resonate with all Americans.
“I don’t know what we expect to hear from an organization’s leader like the pope of the Catholic Church, other than protect those who need help, bring in refugees who have no place because of war and violence and terrorism. These seem like universal truths that we should be good to others who have less than we do, that we should give shelter to those who don’t have it,” he said. “They’re the words of the pope, they’re the feelings of the president. And people who find themselves on the other side of that message should consult a mirror, it seems like. Because I think that’s what we’re supposed to do as a people, whatever your religion.”
Amidst reports that Pope Francis would discuss issues like immigration, climate change, and income inequality, numerous conservative lawmakers have called on the pontiff to focus less on those issues. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) urged the pope to steer clear of the “politics” surrounding climate change and capitalism, and instead focus on abortion and marriage. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) said he would boycott the pope’s speech to Congress, nothing that when Pope Francis “chooses to act and talk like a leftist politician, then he can expect to be treated like one.”
Watch the Fox News segment via Media Matters:
- Contributions allow us to hire more journalists
- Contributions allow us to provide free memberships to those who cannot afford them
- Contributions support independent, non-corporate journalism