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More Popular Than Jesus? Pope Francis Just Made The Cover Of Rolling Stone.

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var addthis_config = {“data_track_addressbar”:true};John Lennon was infamously (and unfairly) mocked in 1966 when he claimed that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.” His comment was not hubris, in fact, here’s the full quote:

“Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and I’ll be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first—rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

Hardly hubris, but that’s how the media plays the game.

Fast forward forty-four years, and Pope Francis I has not only been named Time’s and the Advocate’s “Person of the Year,” but the popular pontiff has now made the cover of Rolling Stone — the same magazine whose first cover story of this year was, “How the Beatles Took America.”

The pendulum of fame has swung around, full circle, it would seem.

“After the disastrous papacy of Benedict, a staunch traditionalist who looked like he should be wearing a striped shirt with knife-fingered gloves and menacing teenagers in their nightmares, Francis’ basic mastery of skills like smiling in public seemed a small miracle to the average Catholic,” Rolling Stone’s Mark Binelli writes in “Pope Francis: The Times They Are A-Changin’.”

“But he had far more radical changes in mind. By eschewing the papal palace for a modest two-room apartment, by publicly scolding church leaders for being “obsessed” with divisive social issues like gay marriage, birth control and abortion (“Who am I to judge?” Francis famously replied when asked his views on homosexual priests) and – perhaps most astonishingly of all – by devoting much of his first major written teaching to a scathing critique of unchecked free-market capitalism, the pope revealed his own obsessions to be more in line with the boss’ son.”

The word “gay” is used fifteen times in Binelli’s profile of the pontiff. A few examples:

This is a common retort among conservative Catholics about Pope Francis: You guys in the secular liberal media just aren’t listening. Santorum has insisted the pope’s comments on gays and abortion were taken out of context. New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, a conservative who had made a number of papal long lists in March, also wasted no time in translating Francis’ message, telling CBS This Morning, “Pope Francis would be the first to say, ‘My job isn’t to change church teaching. My job is to present it as clearly as possible. . . . While certain acts may be wrong . . . we will always love and respect the person and treat the person with dignity.'”

While much of this sounds like wishful thinking, they also have a point: The pope’s tonal changes don’t necessarily signal a wild swing from tradition. Francis has ruled out the ordination of women, for example, and he still considers abortion an evil. But those obsessed with contextualizing Francis would do well to take a look at the impromptu press conference he granted last summer to gathered Vaticanisti (members of the Vatican press corps) during the flight back from a trip to Rio. Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, told me he’d expected the press conference would go about 20 minutes. It lasted for nearly 90, and ended up including the pope’s famous “Who am I to judge?” response, which is normally the only part of the exchange that’s quoted. But reading the full transcript or, better yet, watching longer excerpts on YouTube helps to convey the true context.

A reporter asks Francis, who is standing at the head of the aisle, about the existence of a “gay lobby” within the Vatican. Francis begins by making a joke, saying he hasn’t yet run into anyone with a special gay identification card. But then his face becomes serious and, gesturing for emphasis, he says it’s important to distinguish between lobbies, which are bad – “A lobby of the greedy, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of Masons, so many lobbies!” he says later in the press conference – and individual gay people who are well-intentioned and seeking God. It’s while speaking to the latter point that he makes the “Who am I to judge?” remark, and this part of the video is really worth watching, because, aside from the entirely mind-blowing fact of a supposedly infallible pope asking this question at all, his answer is never really translated properly. What he actually says is, “Mah, who am I to judge?” In Italian, mah is an interjection with no exact English parallel, sort of the verbal equivalent of an emphatic shrug. My dad’s use of mah most often precedes his resignedly pouring another splash of grappa into his coffee. The closest translation I can come up with is “Look, who the hell knows?” If you watch the video, Francis even pinches his fingers together for extra Italian emphasis. Then he flashes a knowing smirk.

The Beatles may have been more popular than Jesus, but has than honor — or curse — now been bestowed upon the Pope?

And what does that mean for the cause of progressivism?

Image via Rolling Stone’s Facebook page.
Hat tip: National Memo

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AMERICAN IDIOT

GOP Governor Faceplants on CNN: Ending Mask Mandates Is ‘Following the Data’

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CNN host Jake Tapper grilled Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on Sunday over his decision to lift mask mandates and COVID-19 related restrictions on businesses in his state.

“The governor’s office is getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do,” the Republican governor announced on March 2.

Tapper started off his interview this weekend by telling Reeves that health experts were warning that “people will get sick and die” because of his decision. But Reeves insisted he was just “following the data.”

“We know more people are likely to get sick and die without mask mandates and that is what the science says,” Tapper said. “Why is this a tradeoff you’re willing to make?”

But Reeves insisted his state was in good shape. He also lashed out President Joe Biden, who last week accused Reeves and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott of “Neanderthal thinking” for their decisions to end mask mandates and other measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Let’s talk a little bit more about the data,” Reeves told Tapper. “The fact is that at our peak, we had 1,450 Mississippians in hospital beds because of the virus. Today, that number is below 400. At our peak, we had 360 Mississippians in ICU beds. At this point that number is below 120. The fact is we have seen significantly reduced levels. and, oh, by the way, unlike President Biden who wants to insult Americans and insult Mississippians, I actually trust Mississippians to make good decisions.”

Tapper then asked Reeves if he thought it was a good idea for the residents of his state to continue wearing masks, to which Reeves replied that he did.

“If you have not received the vaccination and you’re going into a large crowd or if you’re going out to dinner, I strongly encourage Mississippians and people across the country to wear a mask because I believe that it does, in fact, reduce the ability of individuals to spread the virus. No question about that,” Reeves said.

“Only about 9% of Mississippi residents have been fully vaccinated – 9%,” Tapper noted. “The governor of neighboring Alabama, Republican Kay Ivey, is extending her mask mandate another month. Why not do the same thing so you can get more of your constituents vaccinated before relaxing your measures? We all want to go back to normal. The fear is if you do this, it will take longer to actually get back to normal.”

“Well, I should start by saying I love and appreciate Governor Ivey over in Alabama,” Reeves replied. “She is a great friend of mine and has been for many, many years. But when you look at the numbers in Mississippi, it doesn’t justify government intervention. It just simply does not. It doesn’t justify statewide mask mandates. You’ve made a very valid point earlier that statewide mask mandates have been in effect in our state over the last six months and we are not going back to that.”

Watch video below:

Related: ‘It Is Time’: Mississippi Joins Texas in Lifting All COVID Restrictions Despite Doing Terrible Job Controlling Virus

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ANTI-SCIENCE EXTREMISM

Protestors in Idaho Bring Their Kids to Mask-Burnings Promoted by Far Right Extremist Lawmakers

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Two far right Republican state lawmakers in Idaho recorded a video promoting coronavirus mask burnings, which subsequently took place across the state Saturday, including on the steps of the state capitol in Boise.

Despite what the two lawmakers say, Republican Governor Brad Little has instituted no statewide mask mandate, businesses are mostly open, and there are no stay-at-home orders, according to The New York Times.

The two GOP lawmakers are Rep. Dorothy Moon, whose husband belongs to the antigovernment extremist group the John Birch Society, and Rep. Heather Scott who reportedly supports white nationalism and according to a report is a leader in a group known as COWS, or the Coalition of Western States. Its founder was removed from the GOP caucus after a report stated he had engaged in domestic terrorism.

In April of 2020 Scott “compared Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) to Adolf Hitler because she said that stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic are akin to Nazi extermination camps.”

In the video the two lawmakers, Moon and Scott, say they “fully support” the mask burnings.

“People are gonna be lining up [at] burn barrels to throw masks in, mandates, or emergency orders or replications there have, because I think everyone’s ready for this emergency order to be lifted,” Moon says. “And now we’re almost one year into this COVID lockdown and mandates and orders that it’s time to end the numbers aren’t there.”

Given that Idaho ranks 43rd in per capita coronavirus testing, it’s impossible to say accurately “the numbers aren’t there.”

Scott chimes in to say the mask-burnings will be “pretty fun,” and Moon adds that there will be “50 burn barrels set up around the state.”

And indeed, people did come out to burn masks, and brought their children with them. One speaker referred to Idaho residents as “political refugees,” apparently for living under mask requirements in Boise.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter Sergio Olmos posted these photos and videos of the mask-burning at the Idaho capitol. Law enforcement officers asked the anti-science extremists, who are promoting the mask-burnings and including their children in them, to put out the fire.

 

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ANALYSIS

Expert Explains How Dems Just Brilliantly Forced Trump to Respond Under Oath for the Capitol Riot

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On MSNBC Saturday, former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance outlined the legal problems that the new civil suits against former President Donald Trump will create for him.

“These civil cases are a very interesting aspect of the search for accountability,” said Vance. “We’ve seen the flawed impeachment procedure, which failed to hold him accountable despite evidence. We’re looking at the criminal process and criminal investigations ongoing, too early to conclude whether that would ultimately reach former President Trump and his inner circle. These civil cases are a direct and potentially more quick route for the American people to gain the truth.”

“Representative [Eric] Swalwell’s complaint is particularly interesting because it raises claims under the Ku Klux Klan Act, which talks about interference with Congress’ performance of official duties, and files suit in his individual capacity, arguing interference and interference with his well-being and the well-being of others,” said Vance. “Only one of the claims in this complaint have to survive a motion to dismiss, an early preliminary motion that the defendants will file in order to begin the discovery process, and that’s part of the legal proceedings in the civil case where a litigant like Representative Swalwell has the ability to take depositions to ask for documents where there’s actually an obligation that the defendants respond under oath.”

“This could get interesting relatively quickly,” concluded Vance, although she added, “It’s too early, I think, to assess whether the suit has a chance of success on the merits.”

“At the end of the day you serve at the pleasure of the president,” saidformer EEOC general council David Lopez. “I think the norm that was violated was that she decided to stay. I’ve never heard of that happening before.”

Watch below:

Image via Shutterstock

 

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