Rejecting Pope Francis' recent writings against the world's "tyrannical" economic system, a Tea Party advocate contended that Jesus Christ was a capitalist.
"One truth shines out from the Bible: Jesus spoke to the individual, never to government or government policy. Jesus was a capitalist, preaching personal responsibility, not a socialist," wrote Jonathan Moseley, a Virginia businessman, criminal defense attorney and member of the Northern Virginia Tea Party, in an article for WND.com.
The Tea Party advocate rejected claims that Pope Francis' recently published 50,000-word Apostolic Exhortation was mistranslated and said he believes the pope did indeed condemn capitalism.
In the Exhortation – Francis' first major writing as leader of the Roman Catholic church – the pope condemned "ideologies that defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation," which he attributed to an "idolatry of money."
"How can it be 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?" Francis asked. "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."
The pope has openly spoken out against the free market system in the past, and called for a church "which is poor and for the poor," noting that the disadvantaged often reflect the suffering of Christ.
Denouncing Francis' statements, Moseley pointed to the Bible passage Luke 12:13-14, where Jesus refused to be a judge or arbitrator over a case about family inheritance. Moseley argued that the biblical verses are evidence that "God rejects the left-wing 'Jesus Christ supported socialism' heresy."
"When Jesus was asked to support redistribution of wealth – to tell one brother to share the family inheritance with the other – Jesus refused. Jesus would never support government or a church stealing property by force to give it to a stranger. He would not even intervene for one man to share his own family's wealth with his own brother," he wrote.
He continued, "Jesus Christ is weeping in heaven hearing Christians espouse a socialist philosophy that has created suffering and poverty around the world. It is impossible to love one's neighbor as yourself without fighting against socialism, meaning government meddling in private lives."
Other notable conservatives, like radio host Rush Limbaugh, have also criticized the pope's remarks, equating them to "pure Marxism."
"It's sad because this pope makes it very clear he doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to capitalism and socialism and so forth," Limbaugh said on his show last week.
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good issued a direct response to the radio host's comments, however, saying that they "proudly stand" with the Vatican leader and his leadership of the church.
"Catholics of all political stripes are disturbed by Rush Limbaugh's incendiary comments this afternoon about Pope Francis. To call the Holy Father a proponent of 'pure marxism' is both mean spirited and naïve," the group said.
"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."