Amid Pope Francis' highly publicized visit to America this week, it's hard not to reflect upon the fact that he is receiving such a warm welcome despite having views that are in line with those of our heavily criticized president, Barack Obama.
Combating climate change and bettering U.S. relations with Cuba are two issues that the Pope and Obama both heavily advocate for.
While the Pontiff is set to be the first Pope to address the United States Congress, it's almost certain that he will speak about the aforementioned issues as they are close to his heart.
We can assume, based on all the excitement surround his visit, that the Pope's messages to Congress will be respected and well received which is completely opposite from the response Obama receives when he addresses the same topics.
Obama's recent tour of Alaska, for example, was aimed at showing how the state's melting permafrost and eroding coastlines are a snippet of worse problems to come if we don't actively combat climate change.
Many Republicans and other Obama critics don't believe in man-made climate change and some said that the president's efforts in Alaska were too little, too late.
During that same trip, the POTUS made the bold decision to rename Alaska's Mt. McKinley to its traditional Native American name, "Denali, meaning "The high one."
Renaming the mountain resulted in outrage from Republicans who felt Obama was overstepping his boundaries and negatively impacting the legacy of America's 25th President, William McKinley, for whom the mountain was previously named.
Never mind the fact that McKinley was from Ohio and never even visited the Alaskan peak before his death.
Obama's clean power plan has also been slammed by several Conservatives along with just about every climate change initiative that has been proposed or carried out.
But, as the Pope is set to speak on this very issue only one Republican, Paul Gosar (R-AZ.), has publicly declared he will boycott the Pope's speech on Thursday.
As far as strengthening relations with Cuba, Obama was also greatly attacked for planning to reopen the embassies that had been closed for half a century.
"It's unacceptable and a slap in the face of a close ally that the United States will have an embassy in Havana before one in Jerusalem," tweeted Republican GOP candidate Ted Cruz after Obama's announcement.
Pope Francis, however, played an instrumental role in bringing the U.S. and Cuba together by addressing letters to Obama and the Cuban President Raul Castro in which he urged the two to settle differences, helping facilitate a dialogue between them.
But again, no huge conservative outcry about that either.
From the foundation of those efforts, the American flag was recently raised at the embassy in Cuba, symbolizing an era of restored relations.
Could it be in our "secular" nation that conservatives are willing to respect the differing views of a religious leader more than their own president's? ... As long as said religious leader isn't Muslim, of course.
It's not that Republicans are expected to suddenly change their stance on these issues just because the Pope speaks, but it's a matter of the contrasting treatment he will receive in comparison to how Obama is so often dragged through the mud.
After the Congress meeting, let's see how many conservatives take to Twitter and other outlets to bash the Pope and refer to his pleas for unity as a "slap in the face."