In response to the Pope reminding the world that Donald Trump is about as much of a Christian as he is a leprechaun, conservatives in America have rallied round their potential presidential nominee to discredit El Papa for daring to criticize him.
But first, here's the background to the latest episode of the conservative war on intelligence and human decency.
After visiting Mexico, The Pope urged the United States to address what he called a "humanitarian crisis" on its southern border. In response to Trump's pledge to get Mexicans to pay for a giant wall to keep them out of America, Pope Francis told journalists:
"A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel."
Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump fired back with a nasty, nonsensical post on his facebook wall about just how "disgusting" the Pope is, and how incredible a leader he will be, because, you know, Obama is a Muslim. He wrote:
If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened. ISIS would have been eradicated unlike what is happening now with our all talk, no action politicians.
The Mexican government and its leadership has made many disparaging remarks about me to the Pope, because they want to continue to rip off the United States, both on trade and at the border, and they understand I am totally wise to them. The Pope only heard one side of the story - he didn’t see the crime, the drug trafficking and the negative economic impact the current policies have on the United States. He doesn’t see how Mexican leadership is outsmarting President Obama and our leadership in every aspect of negotiation.
For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful. I am 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. No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith. They are using the Pope as a pawn and they should be ashamed of themselves for doing so, especially when so many lives are involved and when illegal immigration is so rampant.
Donald J. Trump
Trying to figure out exactly what Trump is saying here requires the sort of analysis one needs to translate a Sarah Palin speech, but from the get go, it makes literally no sense whatsoever. According to Trump, the Vatican is going to be attacked by ISIS, but it wouldn't have been attacked by ISIS if Trump were President, because ISIS wouldn't exist. Given Trump is (in his mind) going to be President, then the Pope has nothing to worry about, unless ISIS is planning an attack on the Vatican within the next 10 months. If Trump knows something the entire global intelligence community doesn't he might want to let the authorities know. Otherwise, he should put his crystal ball away and keep quiet.
Then, there was this little trick conservative twerps like Ben Shapiro and Fox News started pulling in reference to the Pope's dislike of walls that separate human beings:
Of course, those walls were erected in the 9th century, and, as the New York Times points out, don't keep people out of the city in any way whatsoever:
Scholars who study Medieval Italy and the history of the Roman Catholic Churchdismissed those criticisms as the product of a basic misunderstanding of both the geography and the history of Vatican City, a roughly 100-acre enclave in Rome that is the seat of the Holy See.
“The rhetoric from Trump’s team is misinformation, and it is not true,” said Gerard Mannion, a professor of Catholic Studies at Georgetown University in Washington.
“It isn’t all surrounded by walls, and it’s not like you need a separate visa or a passport to enter,” he said. “You wouldn’t know, almost, when you even entered Vatican City. There is a white line painted on the ground in St. Peter’s Square, but that kind of thing is not obvious everywhere.”
There are, to be sure, formidable walls in Vatican City, and much of of the site, including the gardens and the modest guesthouse that is home to Francis, is set behind them. But the walls do not entirely enclose the city-state, and in the modern era they are not meant to, historians said.
“Anybody can walk into St. Peter’s Square — that’s the whole point of it,” said Dr. Mannion. “It was designed to be welcoming and to draw people in like two open arms, to draw them into the heart of the church.”
So other than the entire premise of the argument being wrong, they make some really great points.