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Culture & Religion

Conservatives Prove Fair-Weather Friends of Faith

Pope Francis' remarks on climate change, that we must collectively account for our mistreatment of nature, has also weakened the GOP's political narrative in which they appear as the party of God.

Mitt Romney appeared ready to champion his faith in a 2016 presidential bid, inspired by religion to alleviate poverty in America. But he dropped out, appearing to lack a certain conviction. 

When Pope Francis called trickle-down theories of economics “crude and naive” in 2013, Paul Ryan, Romney’s former running mate and a Catholic, said of Francis: “The guy is from Argentina—they haven’t had real capitalism.”

The guy, as Ryan said, has been rankling conservative American politicians with his insistence on just economics. But there is an important intersection between religion and the market economy, both historically and theoretically, argues Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen:

“If you don’t have an instinct, and genuinely born from a religious tradition, amongst the CEOs to voluntarily follow the rules, capitalism just doesn’t work. There is no way you can police honesty if it doesn’t come instinctively for you.”


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