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Articles by Mark Joseph Stern

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues.

Featured Article

This story was originally published by Slate and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

On June 16, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush — a self-proclaimed devout Catholic — delivered some harsh words to an unexpected ideological opponent: the pope. In response to Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change, which frames environmentalism as a Catholic issue, Bush declared that:

I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope. … I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting in the political realm.

Intriguingly, Bush hasn’t actually read the encyclical — but because it may contradict his own views, he feels entitled to dismiss it out of hand. As the American Conservative’s brilliant and irascible Rod Dreher points out, the statement reveals Bush to be a “cafeteria Catholic,” one who refuses to take the church’s view seriously “if it conflicts with what he already believes”:

Jeb Bush, as a Catholic, is not free to discard the social teaching of the Catholic Church … because it doesn’t suit his personal beliefs. Note well that Bush doesn’t e... Read more