President Obama wants American Christians to “act a lot more like Pope Francis,” and that fighting poverty should be their emphasis. President Obama was speaking at Georgetown University, the oldest Jesuit University in America, at the ecumenical Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit on Overcoming Poverty.
Obama said that Pope Francis is a global icon because of his “insistence” that fighting poverty is at the heart of the Christian life, and said that Francis was “transformative.”
“That emphasis is why he’s had such incredible appeal, including to young people all around the world, and I hope it’s a message everyone receives when he comes to visit,” Obama said. Pope Francis will visit the United States in September.
“When I think about my own Christian faith and my obligations,” Obama said, “it’s important for me to think what I can do myself, like individually mentor young people or make charitable donations.” He admitted, however, that Christian communities “have a voice in the larger debate.”
The president’s remarks drew some criticism. One commentator was upset that “the most anti-life, pro-abortion, anti-religious freedom, pro-secularist POTUS in the history of our nation is telling us how to be better Christians,” adding “After all, who is he to Judge?”
Jesus never fought for social change, or wealth redistribution. Jesus focused on changing hearts and gave power to live in unjust and oppressive environments.
“The government under which Jesus lived was corrupt and oppressive; on every hand were crying abuses,–extortion, intolerance, and grinding cruelty. Yet the Saviour attempted no civil reforms. He attacked no national abuses, nor condemned the national enemies. He did not interfere with the authority or administration of those in power. He who was our example kept aloof from earthly governments. Not because He was indifferent to the woes of men, but because the remedy did not lie in merely human and external measures. To be efficient, the cure must reach men individually, and must regenerate the heart.” Desire of Ages, page 509
“All the world wondered…” Revelation 13:3