Red Carpet for Pope–Taxpayers Billed

For the first time in his Administration, Bush personally picked up a visiting dignitary, Pope Benedict XVI, at Andrews Air Force base. No president has ever picked up a visitor at Andrews Air Force base before. The next day, the White House hosted what even Associated Press referred to as a pomp-filled” arrival ceremony. The U.S. and “Holy See” anthems were played together, along with the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” The event included a 21-gun salute, and the Fife and Drum Corps.

The Bushes even put on a Bavarian-themed birthday fete for the pope on April 16, which was Ratzinger’s 81st birthday, even though the guest of honor was absent, praying with bishops at the Basilica. The D.C. archdiocese did pay rent for the mass at the Nationals ballpark.

The Secret Service coordinated the pope’s security in D.C. with city police, with costs expected to be about $2.2 million, including clean-up.

In New York, the archdiocese won’t have to pay for extra security provided by the city or for the use of Yankee Stadium for a mass.

Once again, a pope came to preach against secularism, gay rights, women’s rights, and abortion, and the American taxpayers got the bill!

Freedom From Religion Foundation