[The following is taken from Family Research Council's Tony Perkins' Washington Update feature from October 5, 2015.]
In the largest security detail in American history, there's no such thing as a "chance" meeting. But that's exactly what the media is claiming took place between Pope Francis and Kentucky's Kim Davis. Frustrated by the Pope's obvious support for the jailed clerk, the press is stirring up speculation about whether the conversation even took place.
Pouncing on the private nature of the meeting, everyone from Reuters to the Associated Press is casting doubt on the nature of the get-together, and whether -- in fact -- the Vatican actually invited the Davises to meet the Pontiff. Some reporters are now insisting it was a random encounter, which is laughable considering the amount of security involved in the Pope's visit. In a place like the Vatican Embassy, there's absolutely no way the two parties could have accidentally crossed paths. As Liberty Counsel explained, the Davises were actually transported to the meeting by van by the Vatican's own men. Kim was even asked to wear her hair up so that she'd be less recognizable.
Ultimately, the Davises ended up in a private room, where "no one else [was] present." When the Pope arrived, he stretched out his hands and encouraged Kim to "stay strong," something that wouldn't have made sense unless he was familiar with her case. Now, several days later, the Vatican's communications shop seems intent on giving the media a story where there is none. Pressed by reporters, Spokesman Federico Lombardi appeared to backtrack on the significance of the meeting, suggesting that no one should construe the invitation as an endorsement of Kim.
But we can certainly construe the Pope's own comments as such! No amount of Vatican spin can change his actual words, which were: "Conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right," Francis told reporters on the flight home. "And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right. Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right." Asked if that included government officials, the Pope (having just met Kim) replied, "It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right." In hindsight, we know the context of those remarks. To suggest that Francis's comments were somehow unrelated to Kim and her predicament is ludicrous.
Now, of course, the left-wing media is piling on with attacks on the Davis's attorneys at Liberty Counsel. In what can only be called irresponsible reporting, the AP's Claire Galofaro tried to discredit Mat Staver's organization by slapping the anti-Christian Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) reckless "hate" label on the group. Of course, the only thing worse than trying to smear Liberty Counsel is using a thoroughly discredited organization to do it. The SPLC, as most conservatives know, was linked in federal court to the first case of domestic terrorism in Washington, D.C.
After inspiring the shooting at FRC, most Americans started to rethink the credibility of the so-called "civil rights" group. When the SPLC's bullying tactics were exposed, the FBI went so far as to remove links to the SPLC from its "hate crimes resource" page. The U.S. Army was next, distancing itself from the group's materials. Now, despite the SPLC's agenda of intimidation, the media is using the organization to bludgeon Liberty Counsel and Kim Davis. But instead of exposing any wrongdoing on their part, the media is only exposing its own hostility toward Christians. Which sadly, only furthers the extremism that's silencing religious freedom in the first place.