Democracy Now! - September 25, 2015

Pope Francis has arrived in New York, where he will speak at the United Nations General Assembly. On Thursday he became the first pope ever to address a joint session of Congress. He urged nations to adopt the Golden Rule when it came to dealing with refugees, and used the opportunity to call for an end to the international arms trade. "Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society?” Pope Francis asked. "Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money—money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade." After the congressional address, Pope Francis skipped an offer to dine with lawmakers in order to eat with homeless residents of Washington, D.C. "We can find no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing," Pope Francis said. We speak to Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK and leader of the Nuns on the Bus project.

During his speech before Congress, Pope Francis highlighted the work of four "great" Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. "A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty, as Lincoln did; when it fosters a culture which enables people to ‘dream’ of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do; when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas Merton,” the pope said. We look at the lives of Day and Merton, two radicals who have inspired the Catholic left for decades. We speak to Orbis Books publisher Robert Ellsberg, who has published books by and about Day and Merton.

Climate change has been a key focus of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States. During his address to Congress on Thursday, the pope said, "Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a culture of care and an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature." We speak to Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is arriving at the White House for a state visit with President Obama today, where Xi is expected to commit to implementing a cap-and-trade system to limit China’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2017. A cap-and-trade system is a market-driven strategy in which governments cap emission levels and then allow companies to buy and sell permits to pollute. We speak to Greenpeace International’s Kumi Naidoo, who recently visited China.

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