Dem Sen. Barbara Boxer attacks Fr. Sirico of Acton Institute for questioning global warming – VIDEO – POLL

I have long contended that Sen. Barbara Boxer may be the dimmest light in that intellectual constellation called the U.S. Senate.  She has competition, I’ll grant.

I saw this at the Daily Caller, which, by the way, has a poll asking if she should apologize to Fr. Sirico.  HERE – Great video below.

Sen. Barbara Boxer Attacks Catholic Priest For Questioning Global Warming [VIDEO]

California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer went after a Catholic priest in a Wednesday hearing for supposedly questioning the pope’s statements on the dangers of man-made global warming.

“So do you disagree with the pope when he says that climate change is one of the biggest issues,” Boxer asked Father Robert Sirico of the conservative Acton Institute.

“I’m very grateful for your defense of the pope. Perhaps not in all of his magisterial authority and the cherry-picking of this or that,” Sirico tried to respond before being interrupted by Boxer.

“I can ask you what I want,” she said. “Do you disagree with the pope on climate change, it’s a simple yes or no.”

Boxer, who is Jewish, was trying to get Sirico to say he disagreed with the pope on global warming. Last year, Pope Francis published an encyclical blaming humans for global warming and calling the Earth “an immense pile of filth.”

Environmentalists and Democrats were overjoyed with the encyclical. Former Vice President Al Gore even said he could convert to Catholicism because of the pope’s global warming activism.

Francis’s encyclical was not well-received by more conservative Catholics in the U.S., who saw it as out of place for the pontiff to speak out on a scientific issue — let alone an issue he was advised on by academics who support population control.

“When the pope says things that have to do with science, he does not speak from the magisterial authority of the church. When he speaks on moral issues, such as abortion and contraception and the like, then he speaks on magisterial authority,” Sirico responded before again being interrupted.

“So who’s cherry-picking?” Boxer said. “You’re saying that when the planet is facing all these problems, it’s not a moral issue.”

“I never said that,” Sirico said. “Where did I say that? Could you give me that quotation, senator?”

“You just said it, sir,” she said. “Sir, you receive money form the Koch brothers, from Exxon, you disagree with the pope… I think you ought to have a talk with Reverend Nelson.”

“Who is by the way, not a scientist,” Sirico responded.
Boxer was referring to the the Presbyterian minister who also paneled the hearing. Nelson told Congress he’s worry about global warming’s impacts and encouraged policymakers to push more wind and solar energy onto the grid.

“[T]here is no greater measure of God’s abundant provision than that of the energy provided by the sun and wind,” Nelson said, according to his prepared remarks.

You simply have to watch this.   The video has more than the article. Note how spectacularly RUDE she is.  Also, note how at the beginning the philosopher eviscerates her.  She didn’t react well.

Boxer is rude and should apologize.  HERE


As of 1900 GMT:



Shall we have a count-down to when “The Wile E. Coyote of contemporary liberal Catholicism” jumps in with venom at the Fishwrap to champion the Senator for her insights and moral superiority over ACTON INSTITUTE?




About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. tcreek says:

    I guess its too late to invite Barbara Boxer to speak at the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences but I doubt her view would differ much from Bernie Sander’s presentation.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  2. crickally says:

    This is the same woman who flew into a rage and berated a senior military officer for addressing her as “M’am”. As a former military officer I can affirm that “Sir” and “M’am” are exactly the correct, proper, polite, and most respectful way for military personnel to address someone (including the president) ; it’s taught in basic training.
    Sen Boxer displays all of the Four Marks of the True Liberal: Ignorance, Arrogance, Incompetence, and Dishonesty.

  3. Semper Gumby says:

    Triumph Acton Institute!

    Fr. Sirico’s book Defending the Free Market is another intelligent broadside against the powers and principalities of the Senate.

  4. Christine says:

    We need to pray for Sen. Boxer–and America.

  5. Anthony says:

    In response to tcreek… All she has to do is invite herself… heck, it worked for Bernie…

    None of this is really surprising…

    Barbara Boxer is a Democrat from the People’s Republic of Kalifornia… Need I say more?

    Both Senators Boxer and Feinstein are shrill beasts who seek to advance a socialist agenda and are not shy about bullying people to achieve it.

    It is regrettable that logic (which is haaaaaard) is being replaced by squishy feelings (which are easy)…

  6. CradleRevert says:

    If there’s one thing politicians hate, it’s being made to look like a fool. You can tell from Sen. Boxer’s reaction that she knows she was intellectually bested.

  7. Tony Phillips says:

    What’s interesting is that the senator assumesd that philosophy and (natural) science are two completely different disciplines.
    Apologise? For what? This is just politics as usual.

  8. DonL says:

    Lucky thing he didn’t slip and call her Ma’am…she tends to abhor such southerly mannerisms of kindness.

  9. acardnal says:

    And they wonder why I drink.

    Sen. Boxer is an outstanding example of why the Church – and Judaism – asks us to pray for our government officials!

    The 74 year old Boxer announced that she is not seeking reelection in 2016. She is retiring. Some prayers are answered to our liking.

  10. SimonR says:

    Why is she so rude????

    [Okay… everyone all together now… ONE… TWO… THREE… “She’s a LIBERAL!”]

  11. Christ_opher says:

    Father Robert Sirico gave a reasoned argument. The key to his argument was one word s o r o s.

  12. Fr. Andrew says:

    Could we have a pool or place over/under bets on when Wile E Coyote of contemporary liberal Catholicism will respond? Could be some fun…perhaps run out of for legal purposes?

  13. Kerry says:

    Poll: “Barbara Boxer should climb Mount Nikita with:
    1) Three full sets of Samurai gear tied to a rope around her waist.
    2) Eleven full sets of Ginzu knives tastefully woven into her hair, with 13 Blackbirds perched on each knife.
    3) With a backpack containing copies equal to 65 pounds of the book, The Consolation of Philosophy, by Boetius
    4) All the above.

  14. Semper Gumby says:

    acardnal wrote: “And they wonder why I drink.”

    Good one.

    The Calvin and Hobbes comic strip once did a film noir parody. Sitting in a darkened office with his hat low over his eyes, Calvin the Private Investigator delivered this classic line: “I got seven shots in me- six of bourbon, one of lead.”

  15. acardnal says:

    Semper Gumby, touche.

  16. Kerry says:

    Oops, not “Nikita”, Mount Niitaka.

  17. iamlucky13 says:

    Boxer is not a scientist either. She’s had a brief stint as a stockbroker, then as a journalist, before starting a four decade long career as a politician.

    She’s one of the least qualified people in that room to lecture anybody on science.

    Mockery of philosophy is by extension a mockery of the basic practice of critical thinking that philosophy is founded on, and a form of anti-intellectualism. To treat a philosopher as completely unqualified to understand and comment on scientific matters was rich. She doesn’t even have education in formal logic to fall back on to establish her authority for commentary.

    Of course, her rudeness was political showmanship. Her attitude of haughty contempt is a form of “appeal to emotions” or “argumentum ad passiones.” It suggests to the reader the opposing argument is so unreasonable as to merit scorn, and distracts from rational consideration of the content of the argument. This sort of tactic has been shown in controlled studies to be effective in provoking the conveyed emotions in audiences and can help enable groupthink.

    The trimming of the video in several spots allows Sen. Boxer to get off too easy. The full hearing is online, and even more absurd.

    Mr. Epstein was asked by another senator to explain the concept of energy poverty. He did so in an even, matter-of-fact tone.

    Sen. Boxer was then given the opportunity to ask questions. As we see, she instead opened by attacking Epstein. Perhaps due to her contempt for logical argument, she failed to notice she was not actually addressing the case he made, but only attacking his individual credibility, yet failing even to explain why he should not be treated credibly. Perhaps due to scorn for critical thinking, she also failed to notice that her comment that, “I don’t appreciate being lectured about science by a philosopher” was a non sequitur, because he didn’t lecture her about science, but economics.

    She then pretended to move on to asking a question of Reverend Nelson, but the question was actually a vehicle for more attacks on Epstein, who “claimed to be a scientist” and “made up figures and facts.” Note that he did not claim to be a scientist. Eventually a question for Nelson did come out, mixed in with a slightly better veiled attack: “What you’re trying to tell us in a very calm voice and not an argumentative, nasty voice (gesturing to Epstein), is that we have a moral obligation to the least among us, am I right on that point?”

    This is hilarious. Her question was only 16 words long but took 2 minutes, 41 seconds (counting Nelson’s 20 second long answer in the middle of her rambling), mostly spent projecting her own uncivil behavior onto someone else.

    The disingenuous questioning continued with Father Sirico – “Father, I appreciate your being here,” but the false welcoming act was immediately dropped. She pretended to ask questions about Acton’s funding, but refused to actually let him talk*, saying she had limited time to ask questions; Remember, she had previously spent over 2 minutes asking a one sentence question, and a rhetorical one at that!

    * (I suspect his rush, after she cut him off, to interject a mention of abortion may have been an attempt to raise similar questions about her own funding. Her largest donor by far is a super-PAC entirely dedicated to promoting abortion)

    Then she burned up more time on a choppy reading of Twitter posts (none of which were by Fr. Sirico) intended to frame him as dissenting from the Pope’s authority (Since Boxer despises logic, it’s consistent for her to conclude somebody else making a Twitter post = Fr. Sirico denies papal authority), before falsely stating that he said environmental problems are not a moral issue. After he called her out on her lie (far too graciously, in my opinion), she switched to an association fallacy, then closed with a muddled line about him daring “to wear the cloth there in front of us.” That was definitely the nastiest thing she said and a shameless attack on his integrity as a priest.

  18. Charivari Rob says:

    Yes, Boxer has issues.

    All the same, I cringed at one of Father Sirico’s remarks.

    ““When the pope says things that have to do with science, he does not speak from the magisterial authority of the church. When he speaks on moral issues, such as abortion and contraception and the like, then he speaks on magisterial authority,” Sirico responded before again being interrupted.”

    The problem isn’t about climate change, per se – it’s about the notion of science.

    It plays into the false dichotomy that “science” is something separate from morals. It plays into the old canard that the teaching of the Church is something for unthinking “believers” and that science, reason, critical thinking & other “practical” matters are best left to others.

    Reason, properly applied, leads to truth.

    Science supports the Truth that the Church teaches about moral issues like abortion.

    A scientist can (and should be able to) figure out that abortion is evil – no matter what he or she thinks of religion, Pope or the Church.

    There are things related to science on which the Pope (this Pope… any of our recent Popes) speaks that DO have to do with the magisterial authority of the Church.

  19. frjim4321 says:

    Hearings of this nature are usually far more about grandstanding by senators and representatives. They are almost never enlightening. There are plenty of offenders from both sides of the aisle.

  20. benedetta says:

    She verbally abuses…a priest…about the pope?? Really? Wow. Major boundary violation. Our civil society is in tatters, and, while there is blame pretty much everywhere, the one party works it to death and we all suffer for it.

  21. jflare says:

    Charivari Rob,
    In a way, I understand why you would cring at Fr Sirico’s remarks: They could be interpreted by someone with misguided intentions (to be optimistic) to cast a division between faith and science, when no such division truly exists. On the other hand, Sen Boxer has been known to attempt casting a subject-matter in the light of infallibility doctrine, thereby implying that opposing her viewpoint would be sinful, being opposed to the Church’s teachings. Fr Sirico’s response–especially as aided by the other senator–aimed at providing a remedy to that distortion. Because Sen Boxer turned infallibility into a bullwhip for her own use, Fr Sirico had to correct the abuse. Obviously Sen Boxer did not appreciate being exposed for the fraud that she has inflicted.

  22. iamlucky13 says:

    “Because Sen Boxer turned infallibility into a bullwhip for her own use, Fr Sirico had to correct the abuse.”

    More specifically, an infallibility she rejects. Yet remarkably, that hypocrisy ranks among the least of her offenses in that hearing.

Comments are closed.