The media and the secular left have a love-hate relationship with the Roman Catholic Church and its popes. When the pope takes positions with which they agree, they applaud him, but when he takes positions with which they disagree, they either ignore or criticize him.
Such is the case with Pope Francis' encyclical on "climate change." The Washington Post gave it editorial praise, stating in a front-page headline that it "poses a dilemma for 2016 GOP hopefuls." Since Francis included abortion along with "climate change" in his argument that the environment and life at all stages has value and is in need of protection, one might ask why the secular left and media don't think that's a problem for Democratic presidential hopefuls?
Pope Francis accepts as a matter of scientific doctrine that the Earth is warming and that humans are responsible for it. Yet near the end of the encyclical, he confesses that "the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics." Which is it?
Francis also admonishes the world's wealthier nations to open their wallets and give to the poor. The problem with that admonition is unless the political, economic, religious and cultural conditions in poor countries change, people on the receiving end of the money (if indeed there is any money left after their corrupt governments siphon it off for themselves) will be just as poor when the money is spent.
Is it worth radically altering our economies and lifestyles and giving government even more power over us for a climate change faith that has not been fully debated and is problematic at best and wrong at worst?
Before rushing ahead with legal mandates, it would be useful to consider "scientific" predictions from the past that have proven wrong. The government now wants to ban trans fats from our food, but 50 years ago people were told to switch from butter to margarine because it was thought the trans fats in margarine lowered cholesterol levels. Foods such as coffee and chocolate have either been good or bad for us, depending on the "scientific" study of the moment.
Francis turns spiritual and political lobbyist when he declares, "We believers cannot fail to ask God for a positive outcome to the present (UN) discussions (on climate change), so that future generations will not have to suffer the effects of our ill-advised delays."
Marc Morano responded on climatedepot.com: "No matter how nuanced and faithful to Catholic teachings this encyclical attempts to be, this passage where the pope urges Catholics to 'ask God for a positive outcome' to the current UN global warming treaty process will overpower every other message. The Pope is clearly endorsing a specific UN political climate treaty and essentially declaring he is on a mission from God to support a UN climate treaty. He even conjures up the comical concept of climate 'tipping points.'"
The UN claimed in 1982 and 1989 we had reached environmental tipping points.
Most of these Chicken Little fantasies are based on computer models, not actual temperature readings.
Let's not forget some of the many embarrassingly wrong predictions that have been made about global warming. An ABC News special in 2008 predicted New York City would be underwater by this year and that gasoline would cost $9 a gallon and milk $13 a gallon because of "global warming." In the 1960s and '70s, media giants such as Newsweek, Time, Life and National Geographic were convinced the globe was cooling and we were in danger of a "new Ice Age."
In his encyclical, Francis calls for "an honest and open debate so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good."
I'm for that, but Francis has already reached his conclusion without debate. In doing so, he has joined disciples of the environmental cult.
Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist. He can be reached at email@example.com.