Conservative media have long alleged that progressives are waging a “war on Christianity” in the United States. Now many of these same media figures are waging their own war on the man who leads the world's largest Christian denomination, the Catholic Church's Pope Francis, for addressing the urgent issue of climate change.
Conservative Media Figures Have Hyped “War On Christianity” In America
Fox's Stuart Varney: Obama Has “Declared A War On Christianity” With Policies On Women's Health. In an interview on Fox News' Hannity co-host Dana Perino, Fox Business host Stuart Varney claimed that the Obama administration's decision to require health insurance companies to cover female contraception was an attempt to “dominate the Church.” He said that by enforcing the contraception policy, Obama “has declared a war on Christianity”:
SEAN HANNITY: And joining me now with reaction to the growing outrage over the administration's contraception mandate, from the FOX Business Network, Stuart Varney, and the co-host of The Five, she deals with Beckel five days a week.
DANA PERINO: ...[I]t's not about the use of contraception. It's about compelling an organization and then fining them if they don't provide it for free.
STUART VARNEY: All right. I'll go further. And I'll be harsher. I think this is a cruel and arrogant move on the part of the president. It is cruel to tell Catholics that you must abandon your faith or abandon charity. That is a cruel decision to place upon anybody.
VARNEY: I think this was deliberate decision on the part of the president and it displays his arrogance. The man says, I basically want to dominate the Church. I want the Church to bow to me. It's a terrible political miscalculation but morally awful.
PERINO: And if you disagree with me, then you are declaring a war on women's health.
VARNEY: Yes. Whereas he, in fact, has declared a war on Christianity. [Fox News, Hannity, 2/7/12 via Nexis, via Media Matters]
Rush Limbaugh Claimed LGBT Rights Movement Waging “War On Christianity,” Responsible For Closing Churches And “Bully[ing]” Catholics. On the May 12 edition of his show, Limbaugh blamed a drop in the number of Americans who identify as Christian since President Obama took office on the fact that some churches perform “homosexual marriages” and hire both LGBT and female ministers. Limbaugh later asked: “How is it possible that less than one million gay activists are able to bully and steamroll an entire country on the subject of marriage?” On the April 29, 2015 edition of his show, Limbaugh complained that the Obama administration might force churches to perform gay marriages by threatening to remove their tax-exempt status. He also declared that LGBT activists are carrying out “a war on organized religion because organized religion stands in the way” of gay marriage:
As far as the activists are concerned, this is a War on Christianity, just as it was obvious that's what this was in Indiana and has been all over the country. It's a war on organized religion because organized religion stands in the way. So it has to be chipped away. It has to be discredited and, if possible, even destroyed. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 5/12/15; 4/29/15]
Breitbart Published Several Articles Warning Of A “War On Christians” By “Militant Atheists,” Obama, And “Big Gay Hate Machine.” Breitbart has published many articles attacking atheists, President Obama, and LGBT activists for supposedly perpetrating a “war on Christians”:
- An article published in December 2013 headlined, “Militant Atheists' War On Christians And Christmas In 2013” said “atheist activists” are working to “banish Christians from sight.” [Breitbart, 12/22/13]
- An article headlined, “National Religious Freedom Day And Obama's War On Christians” lamented that most Americans are unaware of “Religious Freedom Day,” which is “why the Obama administration and the far left can get away with a veritable War on Christians.” [Breitbart, 12/26/14]
- An April 8 article said that Obama has “demonstrated his utter contempt for people of faith through politics -- there is no other word for willfully deceiving people in order to gain the political power necessary to crush them,” and cited Obama's remarks speech at the annual Easter Prayer Breakfast. [Breitbart, 4/8/15]
- An article headlined, “Big Gay Hate Machine Closes Christian Pizza Parlor” defended a Christian-owned pizza parlor in Indiana that controversially refused to serve gay customers and subsequently closed. [Breitbart, 4/2/15]
Powerline's John Hinderaker Said Obama “Slander[ed]” Christians, Is “Remarkably Ignorant Of Both Christians And Christianity.” In a May 15 post for Powerline, conservative blogger John Hinderaker framed Obama's comments about how people of faith should focus on helping the poor as “casual slander of Christians.” In a January 17 post, Hinderaker criticized Obama for not being adequately outraged when a Christian couple was killed by Muslims in Pakistan, writing: “Don't hold your breath waiting for Obama to do anything about the persecution of Christians.” [Powerline, 5/15/15; 1/17/15]
Michael Savage Attacked Civil Rights Policies And Groups For “Steal[ing]” From Christian White Males And “Purg[ing]” Them From Government. On multiple occasions, nationally syndicated conservative radio host Michael Savage has claimed civil rights groups and policies are part of an attack on Christians and Christianity:
- Savage called the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) “the most dangerous organization in the history of America,” saying they “attack everything to do with Christianity.” [Talk Radio Network, The Savage Nation, 5/24/04, via Media Matters]
- Savage criticized affirmative action, saying it is “being used to purge our police departments of white males - particularly, heterosexual, Christian white males are being purged from state departments, state police departments, and from police departments.” [Talk Radio Network, The Savage Nation, 5/15/06, via Media Matters]
- On Martin Luther King Day in 2007, Savage called “civil rights” a “con ...used to exploit primarily heterosexual, Christian, white males' birthright and steal from them what is their birthright and give it to people who didn't qualify for it.” [Talk Radio Network, The Savage Nation, 1/16/07, via Media Matters]
These Same Media Figures Are Now Attacking Pope Francis For Addressing Climate Change
Varney Warned That Pope Is In “Alliance” With Obama To “Reshape The World” By “Redistributing The Wealth.” On the June 15 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co. during a segment that discussed Pope Francis' June 18 encyclical calling for action on climate change, Varney warned that Pope Francis and President Obama were forming “a policy alliance” and are “a powerful force, a very powerful force, pushing left.” He then asked, “Will Francis and Barack reshape the world by taxing the rich, taxing fossil fuels, and redistributing the wealth? That's exactly what they are trying to do.” [Fox Business Network, Varney & Co., 6/15/15]
Limbaugh: Pope Francis Is A “Marxist” Who Supports Leaving “Everybody ... Living Equally In Misery.” On the June 16 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh said that the encyclical “seems to confirm” that Pope Francis is a “Marxist,” and on his website called the encyclical, “The Pope's Leaked Marxist Climate Rant.” On his June 17 show, Limbaugh said the Catholic leader is aligning himself with figures on the left who want to leave “everybody ... living equally in misery.” Limbaugh also said the encyclical suggests that rich countries “need to keep giving” money to the poor “until our rich are no longer rich.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/16/15; 6/17/15]
Breitbart Editor: Encyclical Includes Language You Would Expect From A “16-Year-Old Trotting Out ... Formulaic Bilge And Accepted Faux-Wisdom.” Breitbart editor James Delingpole criticized the encyclical for including “hackneyed language and extremely dubious science you might expect from a 16-year old trotting out the formulaic bilge and accepted faux-wisdom required these days to pass a fairly typical exam paper in Geography or Environmental Sciences.” And in an April 27 article, Delingpole claimed that “it really isn't the job of the Pope to pronounce on science,” adding that Pope Francis is “an enthusiastic subscriber to the quasi-Marxist doctrine of 'liberation theology.'” [Breitbart, 6/16/15; 4/27/15]
Powerline: The Pope's Motive On Climate Encyclical Is “Hostility Toward Free Enterprise And The Prosperity That It Creates.” Hinderaker wrote in a June 16 Powerline post that “the Pope has no idea what he's talking about” in the encyclical, and said his “motive is, apparently, hostility toward free enterprise and the prosperity that it creates.” [Powerline, 6/16/15]
Michael Savage: Pope Sounds Like He Is “Directing Mankind To Worship The Antichrist ” And Is A “Danger To The World.” Savage declared on the June 16 edition of his show that “The pope is a danger to the world.” He continued by calling the pope “the great deceiving pope,” “stealth Marxist,” and, “eco-wolf in pope's clothing,” and comparing him to the false prophet in the book of Revelation “directing mankind to worship the Antichrist.” Savage concluded that “we are living in global tyranny right now”:
The Pope is a Marxist. I stand by those words. He is a wolf in pope's clothing, he is an eco-wolf in pope's clothing. He is a stealth Marxist in religious garb.
[The man] sounds like the false prophet in revelation ... directing mankind to worship the Antichrist.
We are living in global tyranny right now. We are living in global tyranny where the Big Lie is told over and over again. [The Savage Nation, 6/16/15, via RightWingWatch]