Pope Francis and Woody Guthrie. The Surprising Similarities on Faith, Power, Politics, and the Poor

Pope Francis and Woody Guthrie. The Surprising Similarities on Faith, Power, Politics, and the Poor

Is Pope Francis a “Woody Guthrie Catholic”?

From the start, Pope Francis has been making international news by persistently talking about economics and the social responsibilities of the rich and powerful.  Pope Francis has been described almost universally  as a “a radical” a “social justice liberal”,  a champion of the poor.

I have been a big fan of both Pope Francis and Woody Guthrie and recently it struck me that these two men, who come from vastly different worlds, would probably have been great friends.

The Pope’s social and economic priorities in many ways has a remarkable similarity to Woody Guthrie’s passions for the poor and his disdain for the powerful.

Folk musician Woody Guthrie was one of the most prolific and influential songwriters of the twentieth century and is best known today for his song “This Land is Your Land”.

People know Guthrie as a singer songwriters whose favorite target was big business and big politics – Woody called them all facists. What many people don’t know was that Woody had a deep Christian faith.

Many view Woody Guthrie as  a social activist if not a communist,  but what most people do not know is that he was denied membership in the Communist Party because he refused to  renounce his Christian faith.

Pope Francis and Woody Guthrie seem to share a similar view on the ministry of Jesus Christ and that is to say Jesus Christ was an advocate for the poor and the powerless and in the end he was crucified by the rich and the powerful.

U2 Sings Woody Guthrie Song “Jesus”


Guthrie was an original American songwriter characterized by a strong sense of social and political activism that captured the pulse of his times, and whose great influence can be clearly seen in the work great of the great American songwriters who followed him, including Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, and U2.

To those who admire Woody Guthrie’s work,  these facts are somewhat well know but few understand or are familiar with Woody’s deep faith in God and his love for Jesus Christ.




A beautiful collection of his thoughts on Christ and our Creator can be found throughout this remarkable book.

Notable quotes by Woody Guthrie on his Christian Faith

On Christ

• Christ is my choice
• Christ your cross is mine
• Christ I hear your word run clear up here across all my old crazy sickly lost centuries
• Jesus Christ youre my best doctor
• All my songs blow out of Christ
• All my factories run by power of Christ in God

On Christ’s Death

• Jesus didn’t die
• Christ shows me how to die and live on
• Christ is alive
• My star of stars
Chirst (Resurrection of)
• Jesus lives
• My only life I sail by

Christ (Saviour)

• Save me Jesus save me
• My ink I think by
• Teach me your way to live and to die
• My pen I write by
• Show me how to see God
• My truth I fight by
• God teach me to be like Jesus
• My lantern I die by

On being Christian

• I’m a fullblooded Christian without no beads
• My heart I go by
• I’ma Christian that wears no military medal
• My blood I live by
• My love to guide by

• Real old time Christianity is just plain old love of all Gods things you see
• Christianity is love for all
• Christianity is lots bigger than us all
• Christianity is all the life worth the living
• I see my Christianity as an everyday fight
• I see how my Christianity save all of us of every and every
• Christianity has to be lived


• I believe that Christmas ought to come every night instead of every year “
• Without my Jesus we’d not ever fell or see any spirit of Gods love called Christmas
• We sure do need lots more of Gods big Christmasy spirit around here
• Christmas is just like Christ and Santa Claus he’s just like God long beard and all
• Christmassy morning frost is the very best thing to eyes come here outo our earthy planet to dwell “woody guthrie” “BSA”
• Christmas is my most often abuse word in all my tongues and lingoes


• Gods lots bigger and stronger than all my churches here “woody guthrie”
• I’ve just not seen any church than can save my soul “woody guthrie”
• My church here hurts more folks than it helps “woody guthrie”


• God slung us here “woody guthrie”
• God’s hand has throwed us all here I say “woody guthrie”
• I can’t see how or why god makes us but he knows a lot of things I don’t know “woody guthrie”


• God got here ahead of all my churches and all my party tags and labels “woody guthrie”


• God is the only political party I believe in “woody guthrie”


• My handmade cross I’ve got to carry “woody guthrie”
• My faith done my job for me “woody guthrie”
• Faith oh faith o faith o faith “woody guthrie”
• My faith has made you well again “woody guthrie”

Faith in Christ

• If Jesus was to preach here like he preached in Galilee I know we’d lay Jesus Christ back in his grave “woody guthrie”
• I had the faith to stop thinking “woody guthrie”
• I give you faith enuff to sober up on and to stay sober on.
• Let’s hope so.


• God is my best friend

• Christ is my best of friends
• Genius is God


• Christely Jesus is my only true gentle man my earthy planet given faith to “


• God gives my only gifts worth having


• Who’s got a heart here on earth? “

• Every face I see looks sad to me
• Sweet heaven its now my home


• I hate this whole darned world I’m trying to walk around on But heaven is my homey homey home
• I fly on upto heaven ‘cause my souls got wings
• I’ll sing all down over across old Rabbits ass pass and Ill play old Jeffy’s fiddle right off down an for of old Heaven “woody guthrie”
• Trying to make heaven my home “woody guthrie”
• Ima gointo sing with alla God’s angels and Leady belly once cute and Jacky guthrie some more me around heaven “woody guthrie”
• Dontya weeper a tear here for me on my gib hour I take my big trip off up to gods good heaven ‘cause I’ll play and I’ll sing right along a big bunch better than I could ever sing here or ever play here “woody guthrie”
• Where men like me and leaderbelly and Jack Guthrie tired to hard “woody guthrie”


• I know hell well “woody guthrie”
• To all my heirs I leave my heavenly sins and all my starry sunny worlds I see yonder coming “woody guthrie”
• I see it’s a lot harder job to go to hell than it is to go to heaven
• Racial hate is real hell “woody guthrie”


• Love is all to all
• Love is my best sorrow


• Morality ain’t