In a peculiar, rambling essay, papal adviser Father Antonio Spadaro SJ has caricatured white southern evangelicals as well as conservative American Catholics as ignorant, theocratic, Manichean, war-mongering fanatics anxiously awaiting the apocalypse.
The article appeared in both Italian and English in the Vatican-vetted journal La Civiltà Cattolica, of which Father Spadaro is editor-in-chief. In it, the Jesuit priest says that U.S. Evangelicals and Catholics have engaged in “an ecumenism of conflict” that seeks to advance “a theocratic type of state.”
Spadaro, a friend and counselor of Pope Francis, was assisted in drafting the essay by an Argentinian Presbyterian minister, Marcelo Figueroa, an old friend of the Pope’s who was hand-picked by the pontiff as editor-in-chief of the Argentinean edition of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.
Conservative Christians, the article warns, are ultimately driven by “the desire for some influence in the political and parliamentary sphere and in the juridical and educational areas so that public norms can be subjected to religious morals.”
But is this really so? The story that has dominated religious liberty discussions in the U.S. since 2011 has been that of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic nuns that was harassed by the Obama administration under the HHS mandate of the Affordable Care Act and made it all the way to the Supreme Court. Do Spadaro and Figueroa really believe that the good sisters were fighting for “some influence in the political and parliamentary sphere” rather than simply asking to live according to their religious beliefs?
The sweeping generalizations of Spadaro and Figueroa and their evident lack of familiarity with the complex religious landscape in the United States prompts concern about the quality of advice that Pope Francis is receiving from close advisers.
After insulting American evangelicals, in fact, Spadaro and Figueroa go on to assail those “who profess themselves to be Catholic” but express themselves in ways “much closer to Evangelicals.”
Virginia State Senator Richard Black (R) disputed the claims that the Syrian government has attacked its own people with chemical weapons. He asks, like many of us have, what would have been their motive? Black believes the CIA has lied about Syria in much the same way they lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the Libyan no-fly zone and others.
In 2015, Black was designated by ISIS as an enemy of ISIS, which named him the "American Crusader." Black, unlike many in political office, flew 269 combat missions in Vietnam. As a Marine pilot, he was wounded in fierce ground fighting with the 1st Marine Regiment. He became a career jag prosecutor and ran the Army's Criminal Law Division at the Pentagon. These credentials give him the authority to speak on the matter of the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria.
Why is the issue important? It's because the use of such weapons continues to be an ongoing threat and could lead to a further aggravation of the situation in Syria.
"Syria did not gas its civilians," Black began. "Syrian jets were reported to have bombed Concha kun with sarin gas on April the 4th 2017. Three days later the US attacked Syria with Tomahawk missiles. No one stopped to ask what possible motive Syria had to kill random civilians."
Black then added, "This sarin gas claim mirrored the mysterious redline attack of 2013. With scarcely any evidence, Washington blamed President Bashar al-Assad and hastily prepared for war, but there was no motive to kill civilians with poison gas."
"The redline allegations were debunked by Pulitzer prize-winning author Seymour Hersh, who published the red line and the ratline," Black said. "Seymour Hersh documented how Turkish intelligence agents had supplied terrorists with sarin gas and rockets to attack the Goethe suburb in 2013. Turkey launched the redline attack, not Syria."
Black further expounded, "That plot to stampede the US into attacking Syria failed because Americans refused to be tricked into another war. On the other hand, Concha kun bypassed congressional oversight and public involvement and that enabled the execution of missile attacks."
"CIA program Timber Sycamore has armed and trained terrorists to invade Syria since 2012," Black said. "Battle-hardened jihadists from camps in Jordan Qatar Turkey and Saudi Arabia have murdered Christians and other moderates in Syria before returning home to spread a tsunami of Terror across the globe."
"This sarin gas attack was a fake," said Black. "The media's failure to question Syria's motive was a disgrace. Syria had no reason to use poison gas on civilians and we had no lawful justification for attacking their country. Concha kun was another link in the chain of deceitful actions against the legitimate, duly elected Syrian government."
"America's war on the Syrian people is cruel and morally abhorrent," the Virgina state senator said. "We must stop arming terrorists and end America's proxy war on Syria."
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