Pope Francis Under Fire From Conservatives

As Pope Francis prepares this week to deliver a historic address to Congress, he is drawing fire from an unlikely group: conservative hardliners. 
 
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) announced last week that he will boycott Thursday’s speech over expected remarks on climate change, saying the pontiff is acting like a “leftist politician.”
 
Rush Limbaugh called Francis’s views on capitalism “pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope.” And conservative columnist George Will wrote in a recent column that the Holy Father "embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony.” 
 
This pope is no liberal on many of the social issues — such as abortion and gay marriage — that matter most to the far right. But his positions on immigration, relations with Cuba and Iran, and income inequality are at odds with the those held by the GOP.

Recent polling shows Francis is widely popular among Americans. A CNN-ORC poll released this week found that 63 percent of Americans view Pope Francis favorably, compared to 74 percent among Catholics specifically 

Republicans who choose to publicly disagree with the views of a major religious leader whose every word matters to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics do so at their own peril.

Republicans have to be particularly careful given that their base includes conservative religious evangelicals, strategists say. 
 
“That's the Pandora's box that Republicans have to navigate particularly given the religious fervor of their supporters. But at the same time, they need to find a way to stand up on the key critical political issues,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell.

Read more from Christina Marcos at The Hill

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