Jeb Bush’s Hypocrisy on Religion and Science

Jeb BushJeb Bush is a Roman Catholic. And so, as for many conservative Catholics, Pope Francis’ visit was a bit uncomfortable. But it shouldn’t have been. Liberal Catholics have a long tradition treating the pope with a certain amount of skepticism. But conservative Catholics are the authoritarians. The pope is the guy who dictates what the church is. The conservative Catholics should fall in line. They are certainly the first to say so when the pope says something that they agree with. But not now. And truthfully, not ever when it meant believing something they didn’t want to. If anything, conservative Catholics were even more upset with Vatican II in the mid-1960s.

But that doesn’t make me any more understanding of the obvious hypocrisy. As soon as Pope Francis started saying liberal-sounding things, I started hearing conservatives making excuses. Basically it was some variation on, “I turn to the pope for religious guidance, not political guidance.” But that’s clearly not true. They were more than willing to turn to the pope for political support when it came to abortion or homosexuality. It’s just that they’ve decided that those are religious, whereas things in the Bible about greed and the environment are political. Clearly, I think they ought to do what the liberals do and just admit that they take what they like from the pope and leave the rest.

“He’s not a scientist, he’s a religious leader.” —Jeb Bush

A recent quote from Jeb Bush really blew my mind, however. In relationship to the pope’s position on global warming, Bush said, “He’s not a scientist, he’s a religious leader.” This goes along with the new Republican line on global warming, “I’m not a scientist.” Bush uses this line himself, “I’m a skeptic. I’m not a scientist. I think the science has been politicized.” So he can’t take advice from the pope because he’s not a scientist. But he can’t take advice from scientists, because the science has been politicized. And that leave him only to trust what he just wants to believe.

Pope FrancisThis is the modern world in a nutshell: no one in public life is ever expected to suffer for their beliefs. So Bush can go around talking to Latino Catholics about his Catholicism, but that doesn’t mean that it has any effect whatsoever on his thinking. So he could demagogue the Terri Schiavo case because of his faith, but he doesn’t even need to consider a rethink of his anti-environment, pro-oil policies, because it is outside his faith. His faith is defined by his political desires.

This is why it really is different for liberals. We may like it that Pope Francis seems to be on our side on the issues of poverty and global warming. But we never claimed these or any other positions were based on our religious principles. Well, most of us anyway. There are people like Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig, who are liberal, anti-abortion Catholics. But note that she actually lets the religion guide her politics, not the other way around. And that is exactly what Jeb Bush and almost all of the Republicans do. They use their religion in the most depraved, sacrilegious way to do the bidding of their politics.

Bush is right: Pope Francis is not a scientist. And neither are the people he listens to for “advice” on global warming. So given that being a scientist isn’t a prerequisite for his taking advice, why doesn’t he listen to Pope Francis? Oh, that’s right: because it isn’t what he wants to believe; it isn’t useful for his political goals; and most of all, because he’s a hypocrite.

13 thoughts on “Jeb Bush’s Hypocrisy on Religion and Science

    • Brian — I think it means if the pope act doesn’t work out, he can always cook super blue meth!

    • Yeah, I had read that. But you know the logic: if he isn’t a scientist, he shouldn’t be listened to because he isn’t a scientists; if he is a scientist, he shouldn’t be listened to because scientists are a bunch of liberal hoaxers.

  1. Jeb! has found his true religion:

    “I hope your stock price goes up too. That’s American capitalism, right, at its best. It’s not owned by one or two people. It’s shared by everybody. Everybody’s interest is aligned in the right way. Praise Jesus! I get fired up when I see examples like this.

    We just have to unleash the animal spirits in Americans, and we will be America renewed again. Preach! I feel like I’m at the pulpit. It’s like a tent revival meeting.

    Your success makes environmentalists miserable.”

    http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/09/30/444753002/hear-how-energy-policy-helps-bush-put-the-in-jeb

    This was about a gas-drilling company, unveiling his energy policy, which has nothing to say at all about renewables.

    • Good grief! “Shared by everybody.” Does he even understand how stocks work? And “your success makes environmentalists miserable.” Yeah. And companies dumping poison make poisoned people miserable. What’s the point of these statements? Kissing the ring, I suppose.

      I think a difference between liberals and conservatives is liberals often betray their principles, then rationalize the decision away or get depressed about it. Conservatives like Jeb have no principles. There’s no such thing as honor to them. Selling your soul, well, you can’t miss what you don’t believe in anyway.

      • In my experience, people who grew up rich normally have very little idea how business works. They are insulated from it with a wall of paid staff. So I suspect that Bush does not, in fact, know how stocks work.

        • That’s an amazing display of dumb — if he thinks that stocks are collectively owned while screaming against anything the public actually owns — but I can actually believe some rich people think this.

          • Support for Gulf War II went up, I understand, with gas prices. AKA, people thought it was cool if we killed people, just so’s we got lower gas prices. As if our oil companies were nationalized and would lower prices because access to oil was cheaper!

            • I’m skeptical about that. I would think that our approaching war was what caused gas prices to go up. And with the approaching war was a huge propaganda campaign for the war. In general, I have a relatively high opinion of people. I don’t think they are generally in favor of war. They are just rubes.

              • You’re probably right and I have no idea where I came across that, if it had any basis (perhaps among Republican voters) or if my memory’s shoddy completely. I’m better now at keeping sources in my head; that would have been more than ten years ago.

                • It is complicated, regardless. But I remember that polls done 6 months before the war found people distinctly against it. It was only due to the unrelenting propaganda pushed by our “free” press that it became popular.

    • Those are amazing quotes!

      Yeah, all of us who are worried about global warming are just jealous. The same goes for people who don’t like seeing insane people go on shooting sprees in schools. Why, oh why, are we liberals so jealous of successful people?!

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