Pope Francis made a statement Thursday claiming that presidential candidate Donald Trump is “not Christian” because of his views on immigration, saying that a Christian would build bridges, not walls.
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” said the pope referencing Trump’s plan to build a wall to keep Mexican citizens out of America.
While many question Trump’s sincerity about his Christian beliefs, since he never mentioned them before becoming a presidential candidate, one cannot simply claim to know what someone else believes. The pope is committing a basic logical fallacy, the No True Scotsman fallacy. I could easily claim the pope is not a Christian because he lets people die of AIDS and harbors child rapists, yet we all know he is as Christian as they come and his deeply held beliefs also happen to make him a terrible person.
The pope is wrong to believe he is the authority on people’s faith, and Trump’s campaign highlighted that right away in their statement following the pope’s remarks.“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,” Trump said in his statement.
While there is plenty wrong about Trump’s remarks and he is obviously pandering to the Christian Right’s persecution complex, he is right that the pope is wrong to question his faith. According to Pope Francis, almost all conservative Christians are not Christian because so many of them support Trump or at the very least share in his bigoted views against Mexican citizens.
Photo credit: Agência Brasil / Creative Commons