- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 13, 2014

He closed the brief letter like this: “With every good wish to Your Holiness, I am, Sincerely Yours, John Boehner.” The recipient was Pope Francis, the author House Speaker John Boehner, who has asked the pontiff to address a joint session of Congress in the future. The simple but formal gesture promoted more than 1,000 press mentions in the space of an hour when it was released on Thursday; the topic was subject to interpretation.

“Is Congress holy enough for Pope Francis?” asked the Daily Beast. “Can Pope Francis bring peace to Congress?” asked New York Magazine. Lawmakers could be “looking for a miracle” suggested Fox News Latino while the National Review deemed Mr. Boehner’s invitation “grateful and penitential.”

Congress is not a God-free zone, and bipartisanship is a byproduct here. Indeed, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi offered her complete support for the idea.

SEE ALSO: Boehner invites Pope Francis to address Congress

Pope Francis has inspired millions of Americans with his pastoral manner and servant leadership, challenging all people to lead lives of mercy, forgiveness, solidarity, and humble service,” Mr. Boehner explains. “His tireless call for the protection of the most vulnerable among us — the ailing, the disadvantaged, the unemployed, the impoverished, the unborn — has awakened hearts on every continent.”

The lawmaker continues, “His social teachings, rooted in ‘the joy of the gospel,’ have prompted careful reflection and vigorous dialogue among people of all ideologies and religious views in the United States and throughout a rapidly changing world, particularly among those who champion human dignity, freedom and social justice. These principles are among the fundamentals of the American idea. And though our nation sometimes fails to live up to these principles, at our best, we give them new life as we seek the common good.”


Things should be interesting near the White House around or about April 22. That’s when the somewhat fearlessly titled Cowboy and Indian Alliance arrives in the nation’s capital to express their distaste for the Keystone XL pipeline project. The “pipeline fighters” consist of ranchers, farmers and tribal communities who have planned a “Protect and Reject” march, among many other things.

“We will set up camp nearby the White House, lighting our fire and burning our sage, and for five days, we will bear proud witness to President Obama’s final decision on Keystone XL, reminding him of the threat this tar sands pipeline poses to our climate, land, water and tribal rights,” says Mark Hefflinger, spokesman for organizer Bold Nebraska, a grass rootsy group that condemns “far right ideas and policies,” among other things.

“Throughout those five days, we will show the power of our communities with events ranging from prayers at Secretary of State John Kerry’s home and an opening ceremony of tribes and ranchers on horseback in front of the White House,” Mr. Hefflinger adds.

That should be interesting. Among the organization’s support groups: Oceti Sakowin People of the Seven Council Fires, The Sierra Club, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and CREDO, a San Francisco-based progressive group that launched an “anti-tea party” super PAC in 2012.


And what do Americans think of the Keystone pipeline at this point? Overall, 34 percent say it should be constructed; 57 percent of Republicans and 15 percent of Democrats agree. Another 32 percent approve construction, but only after an “careful” environmental impact review; 25 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of Democrats agree. Nineteen percent overall give a total thumbs down on the project; 7 percent of the GOP and 25 percent of Dems agree.

And last but not least, 16 percent “don’t know”; 10 percent of Republicans and 18 percent of Democrats admit to the same feelings. The source is a YouGov poll of 998 U.S. adults conducted March 4-5.


Only five days old, and the bodacious “bossy” campaign has already been co-opted. On background: A female power trio consisting of Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chvez and former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice have declared the word “bossy” unfair.

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