By G. Michael Dobbs
I was taught never to talk about religion or politics to strangers and I’ve broken that rule many times. Here I go again. If you’re easily offended, skip to the end.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin recently made the following comment about Pope Francis: “He’s had some statements that to me sound kind of liberal, has taken me aback, has kind of surprised me. Unless I really dig deep into what his messaging is, and do my own homework, I’m not going to just trust what I hear in the media.”
Apparently Palin was referring to Francis’s statements on several matters as well as his eschewing some of the trappings that have marked the tenures of some of his predecessor.
The pope, in reference to issues such as abortion, contraception and same sex marriage famously said, “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time. We have to find a new balance, otherwise the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards.”
This statement and others have been seen as evidence of a real change in the Catholic Church. I think it’s fair to say the pope’s statements have been welcomed by many people around the world, in and out of the church.
I have no idea if Palin is Catholic, but I do know she seeks to remain part of the country’s political landscape any way she can. She does that by making statements such as this.
Her remarks were interesting to me, as she obviously does not associate Christianity with the concepts that Pope Francis has become identified with such as charity and humility.
Well, she was criticized for her statement and came out with a doozy of an apology: “Just to clarify my comment to Jake Tapper about Pope Francis, it was not my intention to be critical of Pope Francis. I was reminding viewers that we need to do our own homework on news subjects, and I hadn’t done mine yet on the pope’s recent comments as reported by the media. Knowing full well how often the media mischaracterizes a person’s comments (especially a religious leader’s), I don’t trust them to get it right when it comes to reporting on the Vatican. I do, however, trust my many Catholic friends and family, including some excellent Catholic writers, who have since assured me that Pope Francis is as sincere and faithful a shepherd of his church as his two predecessors whom I admired. I apologize for not being clearer in my response, thus opening the door to critical media that does what it does best in ginning up controversy.”
Pope Francis couldn’t have possibly expressed some of the philosophies Jesus Christ said in the New Testament as they would just smell of a liberal media conspiracy, right?
Palin is a paid consultant at FOX News, which is part of the media she doesn’t trust. So does that mean she instinctively questions what she hears on that network? Since she is part of the media in her role as a pundit, does that mean she doesn’t trust herself?
Or was her remark about the pope actually part of her publicity effort about her new book, “Good Tidings and Great Joy, Protecting the Heart of Christmas?” According to the blurb on Amazon.com, Palin “calls for bringing back the freedom to express the Christian values of the season. She asserts the importance of preserving Jesus Christ in Christmas – in public displays, school concerts, pageants, and our expressions to one another other-and laments the over-commercialization and homogenization of Christmas in today’s society.”
Oh, another “war on Christmas” tome. Hasn’t Bill O’Reilly worked that concept to death?
Not in my back yard
According to a new survey from Western New England University, “Three out of five adults in Massachusetts say they favor having casinos in the state, but a majority also say they do not want to see a casino in their community, according to the latest survey from the Western New England University Polling Institute.”
Casinos, then, are like prisons and new high schools – people want them, but not in their neighborhood.
The question therefore is: where?
Agree? Disagree? Drop me a line at email@example.com or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.