A parody of 'The Apprentice' puts real words from Catholic presidential candidates in perspective.
Before November 2016, we have a lot to learn about the presidential candidates and their visions for the future of the country — and the planet.
Part of that means really listening to what they're saying — especially when it comes to the issues that affect us all, like the climate.
In the parody below, the pope takes a different throne — not unlike a certain presidential candidate was "fired" from by a certain TV network. He acts as judge and jury in a competition between five self-described Catholic presidential hopefuls.
And as each candidate states their case, you might join me in thinking, "Holy geez, this is way too close to reality." Take a look:
The actor playing the pontiff opens with some familiar words.
They're familiar because the real Pope Francis wrote them in an encyclical. He was quoting Patriarch Bartholomew, the archbishop of Constantinople and spiritual leader to over 300 million Orthodox Christians.
Like the pope, each contestant is played by a highly skilled actor whose lines were modeled after actual remarks made by the individuals they portray.
Here are five things pope don't play when it comes to a presidential climate plan:
1. God wants us to burn fossil fuels.
As contrary to Catholic values (according to Pope Francis) as that sounds, the ideas were lifted right out of a selectively Catholic presidential candidate's response on behalf of the opposing party to President Obama's 2013 State of the Union address.
2. Talking about climate change? So stupid.
The candidate quoted above, an “evangelical Catholic," thinks not being stupid means asking the president not to mention climate change during his visit to New Orleans for the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The same candidate also happens to believe gay people, not greenhouse gases, are to blame for rising severe weather events.
3. Scientists, you do you. We'll be over here. Not listening.
The candidate behind this statement hears what he wants to hear when it comes to the voice of his church. Of course, he doesn't seem to realize the irony of what he's saying.
He wants the church to "leave science to the scientists," but he'd rather lawmakers completely ignore the consensus among 97% of climate scientists that global warming is likely caused by human activity.
4. Energy policy is like parenting. You can't play favorites.
The spiritually confused candidate represented here wants to endall federal energy subsidies — not just for oil and gas (which amounts to almost half a trillion dollars over the last century) but also for solar, wind, and other renewable energy development.
He doesn't want to "pick winners," but oil has been the big winner of the past 100 years. Investing in renewables is really more like practicing good sportsmanship.
5. Climate change is real. (Wait, what?)
OK, that's what I'm talking about! Maybe we're onto something here?
Oh, damnit! What a piece of work. Despite publicly stating that he believes climate change is to some degree caused by humans, this presidential hopeful's actions as a governor suggest just the opposite.
While his state legislature — his constituents' representative body — has urged him to rejoin a regional climate change plan, he has ignored their pleas, calling it "useless."
To tell it like it is, talk is cheap, buddy.
It's starting to seem fashionable among certain Catholic candidates to deny the wisdom of their spiritual leader.
That begs the question of whothey actually follow.
The video closes with a clue.
If this is the first time you're hearing about the Koch brothers, they're billionaires who want to dominate the American political landscape. And they're spending a fortune to do it through elections and legislation.
Money in politics isn't just a threat to democracy. It's a threat to the planet.
And it has been a problem on both sides of the aisle. But we can be hopeful. Research out of Yale University shows that a lot of conservative voters are being misrepresented on climate issues, and it's just a matter of time before they take action.
The good news is we have until November 2016 to separate the wheat from the chaff and rally our communities for a climate plan both Pope Francis and the world can (literally) live with.