Pope Francis Reaches Out To People Of Color On US Papal Tour To Dismay of Some White Evangelicals

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[Commentary]

As Pope Francis rolls out his first Papal visit to North America and wall-to-wall media coverage reaches it's high water mark one issue that will almost certainly get lost in the "Pope Tour" hype is the first Latin American Pontiff's major outreach to people of color.

Yet, for Latinos in America who are overwhelmingly Catholic and the estimated three million Catholic African-Americans, Pope Francis' bold, progressive message of social justice has resonated deeply within both communities.

Sure, the mostly blonde TV people on CNN, MSNBC and FOX News who drive the media's daily news narrative don't get it.  But- Catholic or not, people of color do when Pope Francis visits a small, struggling school in Harlem or washes the feet of Black prisoners at a correctional facility in Philadelphia.

But even for the most uninformed White people, the collective optics of Pope Francis' North American tour will be quite striking. Since when have any American or religious leaders ever washed the feet of Black prisoners? In fact, when have they even visited an American prison, where 2,220,300 adults are currently incarcerated, representing 22% of the entire prison population globally?

Since when has Billy Graham, Joel Osteen or even Creflo Dollar ever bothered to minister folks in prison?

There is a reason why.

American TV evangelists and their White, right wing brethren demonize minorities, even Christian minorities, every chance they get. Whether it's comparing Black Spring activists to ISIS or bashing Mexican immigrants as "drug dealing rapists," White evangelicals from slavery in the 19th Century to the Civil Rights movement have always been on the other side of the battle for racial equality.

In fact, White evangelicals have been the other side.

Roman Catholics on the other hand, have also historically been demonized by White evangelicals and their pals in the Klu Klux Klan. It is because Catholics are also considered foreigners by slave owners and their descendants that are currently alive.

That is because White, slave-holding Protestants were aghast at Pope Gregory's 1839 condemnation of the slave trade, In supremo apostolatus; and ever since that moment, Catholics have been a sworn enemy of slave-holding White, southern, Christians and some of their current, bigoted, evangelical decedents.

Many White American evangelicals also don't perceive Roman Catholics as Eurocentric as they are.

That they are right about.

For 70% of all Roman Catholics live in the "developing world." 

Globally, the Black Catholic Church is growing fast. The National Black Catholic Congress indicates Catholics of African descent represent almost 25 percent of the one billion Roman Catholics throughout the world in more than 59 countries.

Meanwhile Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee (a "Christian" Pastor) and the rest of the GOP's roster of 2016 presidential candidates running use African-Americans and Latinos as whipping posts to drum up White support for their campaigns. Whether it's deliberately distorting President Barack Obama's religious beliefs or slamming Pope Francis as an "extreme leftist," White evangelicals cannot stand the idea that they are slowing losing their bloody grip of power in America.

Don't believe it?

Within less than 24 hours after meeting with Pope Francis, GOP Speaker Of the House Rep. John Boehner, a Catholic, was forced to resign.

Just who do think orchestrated that?

 

 

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