- Reuters/Micah Walter
Controversial conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said that President Barack Obama is "having an orgasm" over Pope Francis' recent thoughts in his "Evangelii Gaudium," an "apostolic exhortation," where the Roman Catholic Church leader condemned global inequality and the "tyrannical" world economic system.
"This is the president citing the pope, his new best friend, because the pope is ripping America, the pope [is] ripping capitalism," Limbaugh said on his show on Wednesday. "And Obama's having an orgasm. Jeremiah Wright is beside himself. Jeremiah Wright thought he was Obama's preacher, now [the] pope somehow has co-opted Obama."
The remarks were in response to Obama's recent comments on equality, where he mentioned the Vatican leader in a speech: "So the basic bargain at the heart of our economy has frayed. In fact, this trend towards growing inequality is not unique to America's market economy. Across the developed world, inequality has increased. Some of you may have seen just last week, the Pope himself spoke about this at eloquent length. 'How can it be,' he wrote, 'that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?'"
Limbaugh argued that "this guy can't wait to rip this country apart, every day, whenever there's an opportunity to criticize this country, he's the first in line."
Pope Francis' strong criticism of the free market system has been seen as controversial in conservative circles, with Tea Party advocate and Virginia businessman Jonathan Moseley writing in an article for WND.com that "Jesus was a capitalist, preaching personal responsibility, not a socialist."
The Vatican leader said in his first major written work in November that the current economic system is "unjust at its root."
"This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless," Francis wrote.
The pope added that he wants to see a church "which is poor and for the poor," noting that the disadvantaged often reflect the suffering of Christ. He has heavily focused on issues of poverty and inequality throughout his ministry, including when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina.
"This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope," Limbaugh previously declared on his show, and added that the pope is "totally wrong, I mean dramatically, embarrassingly, puzzlingly wrong" about economics.
Catholic groups have defended Francis' comments, however, with Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good calling Limbaugh's remarks "incendiary" and insisting that it "proudly stands" behind the Roman Catholic Church leader.
"Francis's critique of unrestrained capitalism is in line with the Church's social teaching. His particular criticism of 'trickle down economics' strengthens what Church authorities have said for decades: any economic system which deprives the poor of their dignity has no place within a just society," the group wrote.