Image via the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee launched a petition last week to protest what it described as the "latest anti-religion pursuit" by the Obama administration, but it looks like the group is already abandoning its crusade.
A webpage that took aim at President Obama for his "plans to close the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican" is nowhere to be found on the NRSC's website. The original URL now directs back to the NRSC's homepage…
But the embassy isn't actually closing. It's re-locating to a larger U.S. compound in Rome, a move that will save more than $1.4 million and bolster security. Vatican officials even dismissed the re-location as a non-issue.
The language of the National Republican Senatorial Committee's petition, now deleted, didn't mince words:
The media is reporting that President Obama plans to close the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican. This is just the latest anti-religion pursuit of this Administration, a slap in the face to Catholic-Americans around the country that weakens America’s position as a global leader.
Except, as CNN explains:
A spokesman for the Vatican said the move was well within the Holy See's requirements for embassies and that relations with the United States are far from strained.
The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Canadian priest who works with the Vatican's press office, said the Vatican requires foreign embassies to the Holy See be separate from the country's mission to Italy, have a separate address and have a separate entrance.
Both Rosica and the senior State Department official said the proposed U.S. move satisfies those requirements.
Rosica also praised Ken Hackett, the new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, telling CNN that "at this critical time in history, he brings eminent credentials to represent the United States to the Vatican."
A conservative blog here in Colorado joined in this apparently coordinated hit, quoting Colorado resident, former Vatican ambassador, and former Republican National Committee chairman Jim Nicholson of Colorado saying, "[Obama is] turning this embassy into a stepchild of the embassy to Italy." Colorado Peak Politics warned darkly, "this is just the latest in a series of controversial moves by the Obama administration the week of Thanksgiving, when many Americans aren’t paying attention."
Only problem is, the Monday after this story was spread around every Catholic Thanksgiving table in America, it turned out to be a bunch of bull. And while some might eventually learn that it was never true, it's just another case of spreading BS, and hoping it spreads farther than the fact-checking.
Unfortunately, that works quite often.