KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. — First was the British prime minister, who called Donald Trump “divisive, stupid and wrong.” Then came Britain’s Parliament, which denounced him with colorful language. The French prime minister, the Turkish president and a Saudi prince also weighed in: The Republican presidential front-runner, they agreed, was a demagogue disgracing the United States.
On Thursday, Pope Francis added the strongest voice yet to a growing chorus of world leaders taking a stand against the celebrity candidate — condemning Trump’s hard-line immigration agenda and suggesting he was not a Christian because of it.
As the pontiff took the rare step of injecting his views into the U.S. campaign, his remarks underscored the anxiety coursing through world capitals about a possible Trump presidency. Francis noted Trump’s promise to deport an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States illegally and make Mexico pay for a wall along the border to keep them out.
“A person who thinks only about building walls — wherever they may be — and not building bridges, is not Christian,” Francis told reporters Thursday aboard the papal plane as he returned to Rome from a visit to Mexico, according to a translation from the Associated Press.
“This is not in the Gospel,” he added.Trump, not to be admonished by anyone, dissed the Pope.
Trump, who never accepts admonishment, dissed the Pope and his words.
Trump, a Presbyterian, strongly rebuked Francis for his comments, seeking to gain the upper hand politically in a state where polls show him with a double-digit lead.
“For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Kiawah Island. “I’m proud to be a Christian, and as president I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened, unlike what is happening now with our current president.”
If a religious leader can’t question a person’s faith, then who can? I am sure men and women of the cloth would question mine on any given day, especially if they heard the rant I was on yesterday. Fair game. It’s their job to provide assessment to their own flock. The Pope has a great many people in his flock around the world–perhaps as many as a billion.
Trump is not a member of the Pope’s flock. However, often world religious figures comment on the behavior of various leaders, especially the more outrageous or notorious one becomes. Much of U.S. world interaction is diplomatic. Trump makes a very poor diplomat. People need to remember this.
Whether you agree with him or not, President Obama is a gracious diplomat. About the only people who do not respect him are Americans.
Furthermore, Trump has to cultivate enemies. He has to talk down to people. I believe most Christians, if they look closely at their own religious teachings, can agree that perhaps that behavior doesn’t fall into line with the teachings of Jesus.