Beckmann: Pope should focus on abortion
No matter your religious affiliation, up to and including none, it was difficult not to feel the enormity of this week’s U.S. visit by Pope Francis — leader of the Catholic church — to Washington.
His greeting and ceremony at the White House, overseen by President Barack Obama, should stand as one of the high points of Obama’s two-term administration.
The pope’s obvious popularity was evident as one watched the 15,000 people gathered on the White House lawn to be in his presence, and while his audiences may never approach the throngs of more than 100,000 who regularly greeted one of his predecessors — Pope John Paul II — it was easy to understand from the palpable emotion why the current pontiff is declared by some to be the most popular man in the world.
The day put to rest — at least momentarily — all the clamor about a separation of church and state as the president thanked Pope Francis for his like-mindedness on numerous issues.
No longer was Obama interested in labeling anyone a “bitter clinger” for holding to religious beliefs.
No longer was the president telling Christians to get off their “high horse” and no longer was he talking about Christians who, in his opinion, committed “terrible deeds,” like slavery, in “the name of Christ,” as he did at the National Prayer breakfast back in February.
If only such celebratory events could remain such.
Unfortunately, this one did not.
Instead, the pope’s visit also included an opportunity for political lobbying by both men at the podium.
The pontiff continued his half-informed campaign — all of his advisers are climate change alarmists, no dissenting voices are allowed — to urge the world to somehow change global weather patterns.
He urged more empathy toward immigrants, although legal ones have always been welcome in our country.
And he suggested that Christians should open their arms to strangers like those refugees seeking asylum outside their war-torn homelands, even though it’s Europe and wealthy Middle Eastern countries who are now denying that safe haven, not the United States.
Obama, sensing a brother in arms on all these issues as well as wealth distribution, laid out the relation between religion and love for all while giving Pope Francis credit for being a leading voice on those concerns.
But while the president gave thanks for the pope’s leadership on all these issues, both men stayed away from one key issue that presumably divides them, and that’s abortion.
It was the elephant on the lawn, if you will, with the pontiff avoiding any mention of the estimated 1 million unborn infants killed in the U.S. every year and about 40 million worldwide.
Obama offered no defense of his administration’s approval of the gruesome procedure or his threat to allow closure of our government in defense of funding for Planned Parenthood, which carries out more than 300,000 of those abortions every year.
I’ve received emails this week from abortion advocates who complained that I focused so much attention of this omission from an otherwise grand event.
Defense of that position is simple.
If such important men as the president and the pope are going to spend so much time speaking about the myth of manmade climate change, supposedly caused by trace gases in the atmosphere, and never proven as a threat to anyone, then we should be willing to discuss openly the truly harmful effects of abortion which snuffs out lives and leaves horrible emotional scars in its wake.
I never expected Obama to advocate for change there, but the pontiff missed a grand opportunity in front of a worldwide audience to make the case for the unborn.
It’s a shame he found it necessary to focus on political positions instead.
Frank Beckmann is host of “The Frank Beckmann Show” on WJR-AM (760) from 9 a.m. to noon Monday-Friday.