A friend notes that the GOP didn’t mind a bit when Benjamin Netanyahu, of the small nation Israel, decided the United States Congress needed to hear his views on Iran and other matters. In fact, Bibi’s applause rocked the chamber. So how come the outcries from Republicans of the evangelical stripe when Pope Francis – whose even smaller nation-state would never seek, let alone get, billions in annual aid from U.S. taxpayers – comes to speak on Capitol Hill? You can bet that if Islam had a comparable leader, which it does not, the odds of that person ever speaking to Congress would, in today’s toxic climate, be a bazillion to one.
My main concern with Francis’ speech is that Congress won’t take it to heart. On Sept. 14, 2001, Billy Graham spoke to presidents, members of Congress and others at the National Cathedral. And just last year, the Dalai Lama came to Congress and gave its opening prayer. A pity members haven’t been better listeners. Perhaps Francis will have more success. We can only hope.
P.S. I’m not Catholic.
Ann Thackrey Berry