President Obama has decided that his invited guests for the arrival of Pope Francis next week will include transgender activists, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, and a nun who criticizes church policies on abortion and euthanasia. The Vatican has objected. It notes that photos taken with the pope might be used to suggest his endorsement of activities he does not approve.
I’m no fan of this pope. Thus, I’m tempted to think that if Pope Francis wants to embrace the left, let him experience the full menu.
What I actually think, however, is that Obama’s lack of respect for the pope is inexcusable. Including the nun who opposes church policy seems particularly egregious because Obama is gracelessly injecting himself into an internal church dispute.
Thus, I agree with Mona Charen who says:
It’s vintage Obama. Even when hosting the most ideologically sympathetic pontiff in his lifetime (climate change, Cuba), Mr. Obama cannot restrain himself. He cannot be civil and respectful, searching for common ground. . . .
We’ve become a little inured to this president’s staggering insensitivity and passive aggression over the years. But in this case, you’d have to remove the “passive” part. This is an embarrassing moment for our country.
I also agree with the editors of the Washington Post who say:
What struck us as we read about this small controversy is the contrast between the administration’s apparent decision to risk a bit of rudeness in the case of the pope and its overwhelming deference to foreign dictators when similar issues arise.
When Secretary of State John F. Kerry traveled to Havana to reopen the U.S. Embassy recently, he painstakingly excluded from the guest list any democrat, dissident or member of civil society who might offend the Castro brothers.
And when Chinese President Xi Jinping comes to the White House next week, shortly after the pope leaves town, it’s a safe bet that he won’t have to risk being photographed with anyone of whom he disapproves. Chen Guangcheng, the courageous blind lawyer, for example, lives nearby in exile, but he probably won’t be at the state dinner. Neither will Falun Gong activists, democracy advocates or anyone else who might, well, give offense.
Clearly, the Obama administration is more respectful of the Castro brothers and the Red Chinese president than he is of the leader of the Catholic church. Does he respect them more?
I wouldn’t be surprised. They are further to the left and impose their will more forcibly.