Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar missed a chance to experience the peacefulness that descended on Washington with his boycott of Pope Francis' address to Congress, Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania tells Newsmax TV.
"It was a very unifying speech. He really brought a lot of people together," Kelly said Thursday on "The Hard Line." "I said yesterday, there was a peacefulness, a calmness that descended on the city and it settled here. The scowls all turned to smiles."
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Gosar, who is Catholic, disagrees with the pope's stance on climate change, and cited that as his reason for boycotting Francis' address to a joint session of Congress.
Kelly, who is Catholic as well, told host Ed Berliner that the pope is a man of peace and that he wishes Gosar, whom he considers a friend, would have attended to hear him out.
"Listen, as somebody in government, I listen to him as a Roman Catholic because that's what my faith is," Kelly said. "But I also listen to his message to those who are sent to govern, sent to represent people, of how they must conduct themselves. I did not look at him as a menace, I did not think he's a menace, I don't think he was divisive, it was quite the contrary."
Kelly said critics shouldn't dismiss the pope's words even before hearing them. As Americans, all should take the Francis' advice to work together, he said. "That's now who we are as a people. That's not America," he said.
"My gosh, we're the great melting pot, and if we don't understand how we all got to where we are and the exceptionalism that we have and most of it is based on a Judeo-Christian value system."
Francis' message deserved to be heard, he said. Anyone who chose not to hear it "missed a wonderful opportunity," he said.
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