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Two Likely GOP Presidential Candidates — Who Are Also Catholic — Weigh in on Pope’s Climate Change Views


“The environment needs to be taken care of. It shouldn’t be worshipped.”

AP/Bullit Marquez

WASHINGTON — Two presumptive Republican presidential candidates who are also Catholic said they're not opposed to Pope Francis making assertions about climate change, but disagree with what he said about free market.

Bobby Jindal: It's a 'Good Thing' for the Pope to Weigh in on Issues Like Climate Change

“I would advise spiritual leaders to address the issues of the day, to provide their input,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told TheBlaze Friday. “I think we need their input. I think we are richer for their input. It doesn’t mean I’m going to always agree with it. But I think it’s a good thing when religious leaders weigh in on important issues. Unlike the left, I don’t want to take God out of the public square.”

Pope Francis issued an encyclical on climate change Thursday, blaming most of it on human activity.

But Jindal, who was born to Hindu parents and converted to Catholicism, said he doesn’t agree with the pope’s conclusions on the market’s impact.

“The free market economic system is similar to how Winston Churchill criticized democracy. He said it was the worst system except for all the alternatives,” Jindal said, after speaking at the "Road to Majority" conference. “That’s how I think about the free market system. Is it perfect? No. It’s a human system.”

But he added, “the free market economic system has helped hundreds of millions of people escape poverty.”

Another GOP governor expected to join the presidential race is John Kasich of Ohio, also a Catholic who has some issues with the pope’s encyclical.

“The environment needs to be taken care of. It shouldn’t be worshipped,” Kasich told reporters Friday after his speech to the conference. “I think the pope is pointing out that we need to take care of this environment. I don’t agree with his conclusion that the problem is free enterprise, which lifts people out of poverty.”

Kasich stressed that as governor, he had a strong record on the environment, reducing emission by 30 percent over eight years and encouraging renewable energy.

“I have no problem if the pope wants to talk about creation and how we should be conscience of it,” Kasich said. He added, “I don’t know about all of his recommendations. But he’s saying we ought to care about creation. I agree with him.”

Follow Fred Lucas (@FredLucasWH) on Twitter

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