Author and activist Naomi Klein joined a panel discussion on Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show Wednesday and shared her thoughts on why Pope Francis’ messages seem to be resonating so well with huge numbers of people.
The segment aired the day ahead of the pope’s historic address to U.S. Congress.
Responding to host Larry Wilmore’s question on why the pope has become such a celebrity, the This Changes Everything author said, “I don’t think it’s about religion. I don’t think it’s that suddenly people are converting to Catholicism. I think basically he’s kind of like [Senator] Bernie Sanders in a white dress, and people are psyched about it.”
Wilmore comments on how the pope is saying revolutionary things—including that God does not have magical powers.
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“He’s talking about climate change, right?” Klein said. “And it’s important to say God is not a magician because a lot of what you hear from right-wing Catholics is, ‘We don’t have to worry about climate change because God will just magic up our mess, and he loves us, and everything’s fine.’ And he is saying, actually, if you make a huge mess, you have to live with it. Mommy’s not coming and neither is God.”
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As for the Independent senator from Vermont’s own view on Pope Francis’ visit, he said on the Senate floor Tuesday that he hopes “that some of my colleagues would examine the very profound lessons that he is teaching people all over this world,” and cited the pope’s comments on the crisis of global inequality.
“We are living in a nation in which the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. We are living in a world in which the top 1 percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 99 percent. The very rich are becoming much richer, while the rest of us become much poorer,” Sanders said.
“The pope is right in saying all of us must address the grotesque income and wealth inequality we are seeing throughout the world,” he continued.
The issue was among those the pope highlighted in his speech to lawmakers Thursday, saying, “I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes.”
Watch the full Nightly Show segment below:
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