What the Pope vs. Trump Smackfest Reveals
Over the last day, Pope Francis and Donald Trump have been exchanging verbal volleys from their standpoints as the only living man to head both a nation and a religion and another man who aspires to the same. It all began when Pope Francis declared of Trump, “a man who thinks only about building walls… is not Christian.” Trump responded on Facebook:
Click the image to read the whole shebang. Notice how, when it comes to war, Donald Trump is so confident: with him as president, ISIS will be “eradicated,” because any problem + Donald Trump = gone, over, done. He is the secret sauce.
More to the point, Donald Trump also declares that “For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful.” Also, “as President I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened.” Finally, he declares a new and interesting principle for American politics: “No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith.”
Has Donald Trump actually ever gone to any religious services in his life? Questioning others’ religious faiths is what religious leaders and the texts they extol do all the time. A religious faith like Catholicism has in its creeds and holy books and approved homilies detailed descriptions of the right kinds of religious faiths, the wrong kinds of religious faiths, the people whose faiths are worthy and the people whose faiths are unworthy. Drawing lines and excluding people from the religious community is the foundation of almost every religious community there is. If you really feel the way you say you feel, Mr. Trump, then maybe it’s time to let go of your God. He’s a pretty exclusive, judgmental deity. Read Deuteronomy some time.
But I don’t think Donald Trump really wants an end to religion as a forceful presence in people’s lives. It’s just that Donald Trump doesn’t want anyone to question Donald Trump’s religion in particular. If he gets hold of power, Donald Trump wants to be Commander in Chief of… a religious army, defending his particular Christian faith. That’s not in the Constitution, to be sure, but neither is the peculiar notion that nobody has the right to question another’s religion (on both points, see The First Amendment).
If elected President, Donald Trump will eradicate his enemies, defeat those who would weaken Christianity, eliminate the right to question religion… but never be “disgraceful.” That’s the important part to keep in mind. President Donald Trump will accomplish all this gracefully. He’s a man of great grace, unlike all those losers out there.