NEW YORK -- Pope Francis, who is increasingly talking about the dangers of climate change, is scheduled to deliver an influential encyclical on environmental challenges in the coming weeks, particularly on how man-made climate change impacts the poor.
This is upsetting some American conservatives, particularly those beholden to large corporations whose profits might be impacted by legislation to limit carbon emissions.
It’s even riling Catholics, with presidential candidate Rick Santorum, perhaps the most devout papist in American political life, recently telling Francis to stay out of climate change and “leave the science to the scientists.” That would be Pope Francis who has a masters degree in chemistry making him, well, a scientist.
Still, Santorum was happy to dismiss Francis’ warnings, telling a radio show on Monday: "The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science, and I think that we probably are better off leaving science to the scientists and focusing on what we're really good at, which is theology and morality. When we get involved with political and controversial scientific theories, I think the church is not as forceful and credible."
In short, stick to the bedroom, Francis, and let shareholders make their profits.
Yet Santorum isn’t just an enemy of climate change. He’s an enemy of science. Not content to dismiss man-made global warming as a "hoax," despite 97 percent of scientists publishing peer-reviewed papers to the contrary, he also likes to deny the theory of evolution, preferring to believe in creationism.
And the former Pennsylvania Senator isn’t the only presidential candidate to struggle with modernity. Last month, Jeb Bush, brother of the hapless George W. Bush, said climate change is happening, but man might not be to blame.
Likewise Rick's fellow White House hopeful Marco Rubio who, when not calling gay rights a “real and present danger” to freedom, likes to talk about how humans have nothing to do with the Earth's temperature.
"Humans are not responsible for climate change in the way some of these people out there are trying to make us believe,” he recently argued, adding: “I believe the climate is changing because there’s never been a moment where the climate is not changing.”
Then there is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who at a foreign policy think tank discussion in London in February, refused to answer whether he believed in evolution, much to the delight of the British crowd.
Should you be wondering why some American politicians are forced to deny basic science, here's the answer.