Stephen Colbert Takes on Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar for Boycotting the Pope

On last night’s episode of the Late Show, host Stephen Colbert ripped into Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar for boycotting Pope Francis’ address to a joint session of Congress.

“As a Catholic, I’m a total Francis fan-boy, but not everyone likes what he’s doing,” Colbert told the audience. “Anger at the pope’s views on global warming will come to a head tomorrow morning because Catholic Arizona Congressman, and Supercuts test model, Paul Gosar, has announced he is boycotting Pope Francis’ address to Congress.”

In a lengthy op-ed published recently in, Gosar explained he was skipping out on the pope’s unprecedented and historic visit to Congress because “Media reports indicate His Holiness...intends to focus the brunt of his speech on climate change.

"If the pope plans to spend the majority of his time advocating for flawed climate change policies," Gosar added, "then I will not attend.”

Gosar's convinced that the pope's “climate-change talk has adopted all of the socialist talking points, wrapped false science and ideology into 'climate justice' and is being presented to guilt people into leftist policies.” He says he would rather the pope use his visit to Washington “to be one of the world’s great religious advocates and address the current intolerance of religious freedom.”

As New Times wrote about earlier this week, Gosar’s declaration did not go over well with the public.

From the response on social media to the Arizona Republic’s E.J. Montini to co-founder of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, Bill Patenaude, almost everyone, it seemed, had something to say about the boycott.Colbert went on: “What the Pontiff is asking is for all of us to change our position on carbon emissions,” he said last night. “This is a bold step for my church, and as a Catholic I couldn’t be prouder."

He mocked Gosar’s statement that “to promote questionable science as Catholic dogma is ridiculous,” by adding: “So I guess what the congressman is saying is that the Pope should be promoting hard science liking walking on water and virgin births.”

Wagging his finger at a projected image of Gosar, Colbert added: “I don’t give a flying flock what your personal doctrine is, you do not disrespect the bishop of Rome. [However,] if you’re so stuck in your ways…that you would give up your chance to hear the words of our holy father, then can I have your tickets?”

(Colbert, who relentlessly mocked Gosar’s hair, assured the Congressman he would have no trouble passing for him: “If I run into the pope, I got you covered. I’ll have the nearest three-year-old cut...and I’ll say I’m you.”)

Responding to all of the criticism, Gosar issued the following statement this morning:
"The Pope is a good man and the leader of my church. While I will not be attending the Pope's address to Congress in person, I will still listen to what he has to say, whether on television or by reading the transcript of his speech. But we know for a fact, through members of the Pope’s advisory council, that His Holiness will spend a significant amount of his speech advocating for climate change policies. I am by no means attempting to tell the Pope what he can and can’t speak about. What I am doing is using my feet to voice my disappointment in the Pope’s decision to prioritize climate change over speaking out against religious intolerance happening across the world. This is a missed opportunity by one of the world’s greatest leaders at a pivotal moment to help save lives NOW, Christian and non-Christian alike, not to advocate for liberal politics. I believe in my heart that I have a duty to bring awareness to this issue and take a stand for what I know is right."
Watch the full segment below:

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Miriam is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Miriam Wasser