Jeb Bush may not be very good at running for president. But he has a remarkable talent for wedging his foot in his mouth.
But he will have a hard time topping his argument against accepting Pope Francis’ counsel on the need to fight climate change. After the pontiff urged members of Congress to engage with the rest of the world in “courageous actions and strategies” to combat global warming, Bush declared that the pope’s call should be disregarded.
Why? Because, Bush announced, “He’s not a scientist, he’s a religious leader.”
Bush, who is Catholic and who has attended mass with Pope Francis, needs to study up on the pontiff’s background in science. And on the rigorous research that underpins the pope’s advocacy on climate-change issues.
Before he chose to pursue the priesthood, the future pope trained as a chemical technician. Writers for the National Catholic Reporter reference “his training as a scientist” and point out that the young Jorge Mario Bergoglio “worked as a chemist prior to entering the seminary.”
Forbes went so far as to headline a 2013 assessment of the new leader of the Catholic Church “Pope Francis, Scientist.” Alex Knapp, a writer for the magazine on science and technology issues, explained that, “From the numerous profiles that I’ve read of the new Pope, it doesn’t appear that he pursued the sciences after becoming a priest. Still, it’s encouraging to know that he has that background. That’s because that knowledge of science will help face many of the challenges facing the Church—many of which have to do with the new ethical terrain that has to be traveled in the wake of new technologies and discoveries.”