- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

While most members of Congress were thrilled to be in Pope Francis’ presence last week, one congressman is raising money off the fact that he boycotted the pontiff’s address, saying he treated the head of the Roman Catholic Church the way he would any other “leftist politician.”

Rep. Paul Gosar, Arizona Republican, sent an email fundraising plea to supporters recounting all of the abuse he’s taking from the media since his boycott — including the lecture he said he, a lifelong Catholic, took from one website listing “what I got wrong” about the church.

“When a pope chooses to act and talk like a leftist politician, then he can expect to be treated like one,” Mr. Gosar wrote.

He criticized Francis for not spending more time talking about pro-life issues and religious liberty — two areas where he says church teaching and U.S. constitutional principles are in complete alignment — and instead focusing on global warming.

Mr. Gosar said if he, as a Catholic, had boycotted a papal speech over the church’s doctrinal opposition to same-sex marriage, he would have been hailed.

The fundraising quarter ends Wednesday and Mr. Gosar and his colleagues on Capitol Hill, as well as the presidential campaigns, are scrambling for last-minute dollars to boost their numbers. A good showing in a congressional or Senate race can often scare potential challengers away from even trying to make a run.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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