The Corner

Culture

Why Pope Francis’s Meeting with Kim Davis Matters

Pope Francis’s meeting with Kim Davis is delightful for the way that it disrupts the media’s preferred narrative that Francis is rewriting the Catechism of the Catholic Church to align with the Democratic party’s platform. Obviously, more than a few voices on the right agree with the assessment that Francis is a man of the Left who’s making things worse.

The Catholic Church’s views have never aligned perfectly with either major American political party, and they probably never will or should. The Church is usually reflexively anti-war, at least wary of free-market capitalism — “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” — skeptical of limits on immigration and migration, and supportive of generous programs to help the poor. But it’s also indisputably pro-life, wants broad legal protections for religious liberty, wants family-focused policies and for all of the calls for love and compassion for gays, does not recognize or perform gay marriages.

The objection from the right to Kim Davis is that she’s refusing to do the job she agreed to do, citing her personal moral objection to gay marriage. While most folks would believe a government official shouldn’t be forced to do something that violates her conscience, she also refused to allow anyone else in her office to issue those marriage licenses, either. She effectively contended her personal moral conscience extended outward to other people. (After court orders, her deputies are now issuing the licenses.)

The objection from the left to Kim Davis is that she’s opposed to gay marriage, full stop. There isn’t much nuance in progressives’ view of Davis; as far as they’re concerned, she’s got horns and fangs.

Francis’s meeting with Davis is rather spectacular disruption to the narrative of the progressives’ perfect pope. It is hard to interpret his meeting with her as anything less than moral support and/or an endorsement, and a rebuke to everyone who considered her a moral evil, a theocratic fascist, an evil intolerant bigot, and so on.

It’s going to be fascinating to see if the coverage of Pope Francis gets more hostile from here on out, now that he’s embraced the woman that America’s political and media elites deemed “a thrice-divorced hillbilly who epitomizes the hypocrisy and self-righteousness of Bible thumpers everywhere.”

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