WASHINGTON: A US lawmaker said he will boycott Pope Francis's historic speech before Congress next week because the Catholic leader will likely focus on climate change policy instead of ways to stop "violent Islam."
House Republican Paul Gosar penned an explosive opinion piece arguing that the pontiff would be peddling "socialist talking points" if he came to Capitol Hill to focus his address on climate, which the lawmaker said had been changing since the world's biblical creation and not necessarily because of human activity.
"If the pope stuck to standard Christian theology, I would be the first in line," Gosar, who is Catholic, wrote Thursday on conservative website Town Hall.
Read: Pope Francis cites Sufi poet to urge swift action on climate change
"If the pope spoke out with moral authority against violent Islam, I would be there cheering him on. If the pope urged the Western nations to rescue persecuted Christians in the Middle East, I would back him wholeheartedly," he added.
"But when the pope chooses to act and talk like a leftist politician, then he can expect to be treated like one."
The United States is preparing to welcome Francis to Washington on September 22, before he heads to New York and Philadelphia.
The 78-year-old head of the Roman Catholic Church has sparked debate in the United States, particularly among fiscal conservatives who have expressed wariness about the pope's wandering into political issues.
Read: Wilders tells Dutch parliament refugee crisis is ‘Islamic invasion’
The pontiff has attacked those who worship the "God of money," appealed for an ecological revolution and criticised an unjust global economic system that excludes the poor.
Gosar said it would be "ridiculous" for the pope to promote questionable science on climate change as Catholic dogma, adding that if the pope wanted to devote his life to fighting climate change, "then he can do so in his personal time."
"I have both a moral obligation and leadership responsibility to call out leaders, regardless of their titles, who ignore Christian persecution and fail to embrace opportunities to advocate for religious freedom and the sanctity of human life," Gosar said.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ