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After Pope Francis’ suggestion that the Catholic Church not be “obsessed” with abortion, contraception and homosexuality, American conservatives tended to react by stressing that the pontiff wasn’t changing any dogma, but rather just presenting a more conciliatory tone — much as Republicans were supposed to do after the 2012 election.

They played this angle up when Francis seemed to walk back his outreach by reminding people he really doesn’t like abortion.

But others on the right aren’t willing to be so accepting of a Pope who had already said in July, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?”

“I know even the pope has said when we talk about these things, we imply a kind of intolerance. That is not the point at all,” Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in Virginia E.W. Jackson said Sunday. “The point is to be true to the word of God. The point is to stand up and tell the truth. There is no better way found, ever, to raise children than with a mother and a father in the home. Even sociologically, you can make the argument.”

Actually, sociologically, the kids of gay parents are doing better than average children, according to the largest study ever on the subject.

Americans for Truth About Homosexuality president Peter LaBarbera — a walking Smithsonian exhibit for virulently anti-gay sentiments that all too recently were sanctioned by mainstream society — made the disproven connection between the acceptance of homosexuality and the abuse scandals that plagued the Church in the last decade.

Further, LaBarbera doesn’t buy the argument that the Pope’s change in tone isn’t significant.

“We understand that the pope is not embracing a change in Church doctrine, and that he truly wants to help homosexual strugglers come to God,” he wrote. “But at the same time we recognize that words matter in this debate — indeed, they often drive it.”

He vowed to keep a “close eye” on the Holy See.

Bryan J. Fischer, radio host and “Director of Issue Analysis” at the American Family Association, merely took the Pope’s comments as a chance to blame gay people for his need to be anti-gay.

When the Pope is provoking reactions like this, it’s not hard to see why liberals are so thrilled by his words.

Photo: markn3tel via Flickr.com

Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)