Pope a Dope
The presidential campaign of 2016 is promising to be one of the most fascinating races in recent history. When Pope Francis arrived at the U.S. Mexican border on Wednesday, February 17, his spokesman said that the pontiff’s visit was not political. Less than twenty-four hours later, it became just that.
According to Reuters News Service, the Pope was told about U.S. Presidential Candidate, Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall along the border to stop the flow of illegal aliens into this country from Mexico, and he was asked to comment on it. Rather than decline to answer and remain true to his earlier statement, Pope Francis jumped right into the deep water. The pontiff said, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.” His unfortunate remarks and Trump’s rebuke are still the subject of debate and discussion and surely will be for weeks to come.
In a lucid effort to bait Pope Francis into a wider controversy, a reporter asked him if American Catholics should vote for someone with Trump’s views. The Pope refused to walk into that trap saying, “I’m not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not a Christian if he said things like that.”
In response, Donald Trump called the Pope’s criticism, “disgraceful.” His outrage is warranted. Pope Francis could have said many other things. He could have called American Christians to repentance from abortion, same-sex marriage, our culture’s craven rebellion against God or any number of other things. Instead, he chose to inject himself into a matter that he is clearly unqualified to address.
It’s unfortunate that the Pope neglected to mention Paul’s admonition to the early church, reminding the Christians in Rome that they were subject to governing authorities, even when Nero was killing them for sport. In Romans chapter 13, the Apostle Paul warns the Roman church that all government is ordained of God. It’s tragic that Pope Francis chose not to preach to Catholics in Mexico that violating the law by breaking into another nation to steal is not Christian. It’s shameful that Francis would choose to encourage and embolden illegal aliens to violate our laws.
Pope Francis seems to hold to the weak and impotent secular image of a Christian rather than the biblical model. Most non-Christians and “nominal” Christians embrace an image of Christ that is more akin to Ghandi than the Almighty Lord of All. They persistently view Christians, not as bold and faithful followers of Christ like those of the early Church, but as doormats to be abused, maligned and disregarded. Therefore, if Christians dare to speak out against malice, depravity or our culture of death, they are to be further bashed by the “tolerant” and the “open-minded.”
The truth is that the United States of America is by far, the most generous nation on earth. Whenever and wherever a crisis occurs, American Christians are there supplying aid and comfort to victims of natural disaster, genocide, famine and plague. The issue of illegal immigration has nothing to do with charity, human rights or poverty relief all of which, would be fully within the Pope’s purview. This issue is simply about defending ourselves, our families and our nation from ruin by enforcing our own laws.
Donald Trump is a Presbyterian. The Presbyterian church grew out of the Protestant Reformation through the efforts of John Knox. The Protestant Reformation occurred as the response to widespread corruption within the Catholic church. For Pope Francis to question Trump’s faith is outrageous, especially in view of his peculiar silence on those issues that are fully within his moral and spiritual authority.
For the United States, there is real danger and justifiable concern about the people, arms and illegal drugs entering the country from Mexico in this age of Islamic terrorism. Pope Francis’s decision to engage in the character assault of any Republican presidential candidate while side-stepping the advocacy of abortion and homosexuality by Democrats is beyond absurd. It’s an example of “straining the gnat and swallowing the camel.” It is not, however, unexpected. After all, we live in an era in which a president violates the law, Supreme Court justices ignore the Constitution, media lies to the people and a cabinet secretary who is known to have violated federal espionage laws runs a campaign for president, all without consequence.
Perhaps, to expect a Pope to hold himself to a higher standard in this age is just too much to ask. But if it is, then he should avoid making public statements critical of those who seek to enforce the rule of law and uphold minimum standards of national security. A wall is sometimes necessary to protect a people from the lawless.
The God of the Bible is a God of order, not of disorder. He is loving, merciful and kind as well as holy, righteous and just. We cause endless problems for ourselves and others when we dwell in either extreme to the exclusion of the other.
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