From Pope Francis to local parishes, caring for immigrants and refugees is central to the work and witness of the gospel in Catholic institutions around the globe. But to one member of Congress, those commitments mean “Satan is controlling the Church.”
Speaking to Church Militant — a Detroit-based outlet so controversial the Detroit Archdiocese asked them not to use the label “Catholic” — Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene added, “The Church is not doing its job, and it’s not adhering to the teachings of Christ and it’s not adhering to what the word of God says we’re supposed to do.”
Things got stranger from there as she also blasted the Catholic hierarchy: “If the bishops were reading the Bible and truly preaching the word of God to their flock and not covering up child sex abuse and pedophilia, loving one another would have the true meaning and not the perversion and the twisted lie that they’re making it to be.”
All this was too much for conservative activist Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League. He demanded Greene apologize for the “slander” and called her “a disgrace.”
That only caused the congresswoman, often referred to by her initials MTG, to escalate her rhetoric. She released a lengthy statement describing herself as a “cradle Catholic” who left over fears her children would experience abuse from clergy. She referred to Catholic bishops as “monsters,” claimed “America’s Catholic bishops are some of the worst in the world,” and doubled down on the claim of demonic possession.
Less incendiary but more troubling is Greene’s attempt at redefining the biblical concept of love. Echoing the command of Jesus to “love one another as I have loved you,” Greene reduced this sacrificial command that animates the worldwide Christian family to a nationalistic legalism to attack Catholics: “Yes, we’re supposed to love one another, but their definition of what love one another means, it means destroying our laws. It means completely perverting what our Constitution says. It means taking unreal advantage of the American taxpayer. And it means pushing a globalist policy on the American people and forcing America to become something that we are not supposed to be.”
Despite professing “unwavering faith in Jesus Christ,” there is no mention by Greene of the Exodus story, biblical prohibitions on mistreating foreigners, or the proclamation of Jesus that we encounter him in welcoming the stranger. Instead, she presents her position as both faithful and biblical, showing little awareness of the Church’s long history of providing aid and safe harbor to refugees and immigrants.
This most recent episode is only the latest example of outrageous behavior by Greene. In this edition of A Public Witness, we highlight some of her greatest hits and consider what wisdom her own pastor might have for the conspiracy theories she promotes and the divisions she sows.