“I was just curious why he was taking sides,” Jerry Falwell Jr. gave as his reasoning for a tweet he quickly deleted Nov. 14: “@Pontifex Pope Francis lost all credibility when he failed to call out US Left 4 policies that impoverished inner cities 4 Dem politicalgain” (sic).
This, according to Religion News Service, was in reference to an interview published Nov. 11 in which Pope Francis said of President-elect Donald J. Trump, “I do not judge people or politicians. I only want to understand what suffering their behavior causes to the poor and excluded.”
Falwell, a leader among U.S. evangelical Christians, offered unwavering support for Trump’s presidential campaign. But it is a mistake to view the pope’s words through a lens of partisanship. Anyone following Pope Francis during the U.S. presidential campaign would know he’s consistently stood at the side of immigrants and refugees. These are the poor and excluded that he — along with more than a few U.S. bishops — is concerned the new administration will harm.
Pope Francis took on the issue of polarization, tying it to issues of immigrants and refugees, in his Nov. 19 homily:
“We live at a time in which polarization and exclusion are burgeoning and considered the only way to resolve conflicts. We see, for example, how quickly those among us with the status of a stranger, an immigrant, or a refugee, become a threat, take on the status of an enemy,” he said. “In God’s heart there are no enemies. God only has sons and daughters. We are the ones who raise walls, build barriers and label people."