Meanwhile, secular Americans who don't attend church have become the largest group in the base of the Democratic Party, which supports the safety net for average folks. How odd that churchless people are closer to the social principles of Jesus than many churchgoers are.
New Pope Francis has gained immense worldwide popularity because he pushes the humane liberal ideas of Jesus, not the sexual taboos and hidebound Puritanism that dominated his church in the past.
"Inequality is the root of social evil," Francis declares. All poor families deserve "land, lodging, labor," he preaches. He says capitalism rests on "unfettered pursuit of money" and discards "unproductive people" like the poor, elderly and less-educated.
Conservatives are rattled by the prelate. Republican figure Pat Buchanan accused him of preaching "socialist sermons."
But the pope is merely voicing the values of Jesus. He is underscoring what should be obvious to every thinking person: that Jesus was a liberal.
Author note: This column was published before Donald Trump clinched further proof that white evangelicals oppose Jesus. Trump built his presidential campaign on ethnic prejudice hostility to Hispanics, Muslims and other minorities. Yet Jesus taught inclusion and brotherhood. Jesus showed that a Samaritan, from a minority despised by Jews, was kinder than more "proper" people. However, white evangelicals gave 81 percent of their vote to racist Trump. They contradicted the values of Jesus.