Connect with us

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

Published

on

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

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

News

‘Don’t Breathe Easy Yet’: Abortion Pill Safe Only ‘For Now’ Experts Say After SCOTUS Ruling

Published

on

In a largely expected ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejected an attempt to have a decades-old prescription drug widely used to induce abortions, mifepristone, pulled from the market, but only because the group that filed the lawsuit lacked standing. The court did not rule on the actual merits of the case, nor on the drug’s safety and viability, or the FDA’s decision to approve the medication. Civil rights and other legal experts have long held Republicans, especially after Roe v. Wade was overturned, want to go after medication abortion and contraception, and warn after Thursday’s SCOTUS ruling those efforts will continue.

Mifepristone, which was first approved for use in France in 1988, was approved for prescription use in 2000 by the U.S. Food and Drug administration, which states it is safe to use.

“Justice Brett Kavanaugh, writing for the court, wrote that while plaintiffs have ‘sincere legal, moral, ideological, and policy objections to elective abortion and to FDA’s relaxed regulation of mifepristone,’ that does not mean they have a federal case,” NBC News reports.

Justice Kavanaugh advised the plaintiffs that they “may present their concerns and objections to the president and FDA in the regulatory process or to Congress and the president in the legislative process.”

“And they may also express their views about abortion and mifepristone to fellow citizens, including in the political and electoral processes,” he added.

READ MORE: GOP Will Ban IVF if Trump Wins After Southern Baptists Condemnation: Expert

Robert Reich, the professor of public policy and former U.S. Cabinet Secretary, wrote: “The Supreme Court dismissing challenges to the FDA’s approval of mifepristone is good news, but the fight’s not over. A MAGA-controlled FDA could effectively ban all abortion medications without even involving the courts or Congress. Abortion access is on the ballot this fall.”

Legal journalist Cristian Farias, added, “Today’s decision denying standing to religious doctors challenging the FDA’s approval of mifepristone says nothing about states doing the same. That’s a big problem, because Trump judge Matthew Kacsmaryk allowed a trio of states to intervene in this very case. He’s on a mission.”

Also pointing to the Kacsmaryk decision, Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern warns, “Today’s decision will probably not stop him from issuing more nationwide restrictions on mifepristone.”

Legal experts say the way the court ruled was anticipated, the physicians’ claim to standing was “utterly ridiculous,” and warn the right will return with another attack on medication abortion.

Attorney Moe Davis, the well-known and outspoken retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, professor of law, and judge, declared: “To be clear, the Supreme Court did not decide the merits of the case. They said the party challenging mifepristone lacked standing (i.e., they couldn’t show they suffered any injuries) to bring the case. Another party could (and will) try again. This isn’t a win, it’s a delay.”

Professor of law and legal historian Mary Ziegler said, “The fight over abortion pills and the Comstock Act isn’t over. Other plaintiffs are ready to bring identical claims and assert they have standing. And conservatives argue that a Trump DOJ could enforce the Comstock Act as a ban and force SCOTUS to take up the q.”

READ MORE: ‘Birth Control and Dental Dams and Food’: Fox News Host’s Rant Goes Viral

Alex Aronson, former Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, now Executive Director of the non-profit organization Court Accountability, responded to Thursday’s ruling from a tactical perspective.

“Classic Roberts Court maneuver:

-grant dangerous, frivolous, right-wing case with no business on its docket;

-light country’s hair on fire;

-smack down frivolous case to be hailed as reasonable and moderate, giving cover to other destruction.

-still advance right-wing agenda”

Professor of law Melissa Murray, making clear this ruling is likely not the end, warned, “don’t breathe easy yet.”

“This decision preserves access to medication abortion… FOR NOW,” she wrote. “There will be another case–with better plaintiffs–before the Court faster than Thomas can book a ride on Crow’s private jet.”

READ MORE: ‘Lying’: Johnson Slammed for Latest Claim on Trump Respecting Peaceful Transfer of Power

 

Image via Shutterstock

Continue Reading

News

‘These Kinds of Folks’: Jim Jordan Wants to Block Fani Willis and Alvin Bragg

Published

on

Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, increasing his efforts to use the tools of his office to support, protect, and promote Donald Trump, has been speaking with Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan about defunding federal prosecutions of the now-criminally convicted ex-president, according to a report by Politico Playbook.

Thursday morning Donald Trump is meeting with House Republicans, barely blocks away from the violent and deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol he incited, at the restaurant where one of the pipe bombs was discovered outside on January 6, 2021. Republicans, according to Punchbowl News’ Max Cohen, are singing the indicted ex-president “Happy Birthday,” and have presented him with the bat and ball from the congressional baseball game, which the GOP won Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, asked if Trump has committed to respect the peaceful transfer of power, an irritated and frustrated Speaker Johnson told reporters, “Of course he respects that. And we all do and we’ve all talked about it ad nauseam.”

READ MORE: GOP Will Ban IVF if Trump Wins After Southern Baptists Condemnation: Expert

Trump has been urging Speaker Johnson to pass legislation that would allow an ex-president to move any state-level prosecutions against them to the federal courts. It’s an idea that has been met with skepticism among Republicans, but “there’s an education effort underway inside the House GOP,” Politico reports, citing remarks by the bill’s sponsor, U.S. Rep. Russell Fry (R-SC).

Chairman Jordan wants to take those efforts to defund those federal prosecutions, specifically defunding Special Counsel Jack Smith’s Office, and extend them to state prosecutors who have brought cases against the ex-president. State and local law enforcement agencies, including district attorneys offices, are eligible for federal grants.

“That country certainly sees what’s going on, and they don’t want Fani Willis and Alvin Bragg and these kinds of folks to be able to continue to use grant dollars for targeting people in a political lawfare type of way,” Chairman Jordan told Politico Playbook.

READ MORE: ‘Birth Control and Dental Dams and Food’: Fox News Host’s Rant Goes Viral

Continue Reading

News

GOP Will Ban IVF if Trump Wins After Southern Baptists Condemnation: Expert

Published

on

Republicans will ban in-vitro fertilization (IVF) if Donald Trump is elected after the Southern Baptist Convention voted on Wednesday to condemn the practice, a political scientist is predicting. IVF involves manual fertilization of eggs, some of which are destroyed if not implanted, which is murder according to those who believe life begins at conception.

“The SBC is the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., with over 50,000 churches and over 14 million faithful, and has become a political force in recent decades,” Reuters reports. “The resolution called on ‘Southern Baptists to reaffirm the unconditional value and right to life of every human being, including those in an embryonic stage, and to only utilize reproductive technologies consistent with that affirmation.’

Largely white and Republican, the Southern Baptist Convention is the second-largest Christian denomination in the U.S. after Catholics.

“The move may signal the beginning of a broad turn on the right against IVF, an issue that many evangelicals, anti-abortion advocates and other social conservatives see as the ‘pro-life’ movement’s next frontier — one they hope will eventually lead to restrictions, or outright bans, on IVF at the state and federal levels,” Politico reports Wednesday.

READ MORE: ‘Birth Control and Dental Dams and Food’: Fox News Host’s Rant Goes Viral

“Southern Baptists are the base of the Republican Party,” writes professor of political science David Darmofal. “Parties are responsive to their bases. The Southern Baptist Convention just voted to oppose IVF. Republicans will ban IVF if Trump wins.”

According to the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) over 86,000 babies, about 2.3%, were born via IVF in 2021, largely due to infertility.

America already has a declining fertility rate, meaning that more people are dying than are being born, according to the CDC.

“The general fertility rate in the United States decreased by 3% from 2022, reaching a historic low,” CDC reports. “This marks the second consecutive year of decline, following a brief 1% increase from 2020 to 2021. From 2014 to 2020, the rate consistently decreased by 2% annually.”

READ MORE: ‘Lying’: Johnson Slammed for Latest Claim on Trump Respecting Peaceful Transfer of Power

The U.S. Senate on Thursday will vote on legislation to protect IVF.

Other critics are sounding the alarm as well.

“When Sen. Katie Britt and Sen. Ted Cruz say IVF is safe and Dems are fear-mongering, she’s lying, and today the SBC told on her,” Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Kyle Whitmire wrote.

“I could care less if Southern Baptists oppose the science of IVF that has helped so many people to have families that they otherwise would not have,” noted neuroscientist Bryan William Jones. “You be you. What I do care about is that Southern Baptists are working politically to PREVENT families from having access to IVF.”

The Biden campaign Wednesday afternoon posted video of Donald Trump praising the SBC and vowing, “I’ll be with you side by side.”

Watch below or at this link.

READ MORE: Buttigieg on Martha-Ann Alito: Flags Symbolizing Love vs. Insurrection Are Different

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.