19 October 2018

Pope allies compared Trump's administration with ISIS

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Donald Trump’s administration is responsible for promoting an “apocalyptic geopolitics” with roots similar to those of Islamist extremism, two allies of Pope Francis have said.

Writing in La Civilta Cattolica, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Antonio Spadaro, and Marcelo Figueroa, the editor-in-chief of the Argentinian edition of the Vatican newspaper, accused Steve Bannon, the US President’s chief strategist, of being a “supporter of apocalyptic geopolitics” and claimed Mr Trump’s team promote an “evangelical fundamentalism” that twists Christian scripture to promote conflict and war.

Both Mr Spadaro and Mr Figueroa are known to be close associates of the Argentinian pope. La Civilta Cattolica is vetted by the Vatican before being published, meaning the article would have had the approval of church authorities.

In the article, the authors accuse Mr Trump’s team of using a selective interpretation of the Bible to demonise “the migrants and the Muslims”.

“Within this narrative, whatever pushes toward conflict is not off limits”, they write.

“It does not take into account the bond between capital and profits and arms sales. Quite the opposite, often war itself is assimilated to the heroic conquests of the ‘Lord of Hosts’ of Gideon and David. In this Manichaean vision, belligerence can acquire a theological justification and there are pastors who seek a biblical foundation for it, using the scriptural texts out of context.”

They say the belief that leaders should “submit the state to the Bible” is “no different from the one that inspires Islamic fundamentalism”.

“At heart, the narrative of terror shapes the worldviews of jihadists and the new crusaders and is imbibed from wells that are not too far apart,” the authors write.

“We must not forget that the theopolitics spread by Isis is based on the same cult of an apocalypse that needs to be brought about as soon as possible.”

The article is likely to deepen tensions between the White House and the Vatican.

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During last year’s US presidential campaign, Mr Trump called Pope Francis “disgraceful” for saying the Republican was “not a Christian” because of his plans to build a wall between the US and Mexico.

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian”, the Pope said.

Mr Trump responded: “For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful.

“No leader, especially a religious leader, has the right to question another man’s religion or faith”.

The pair have enjoyed a more cordial relationship since Mr Trump took office in January, and the Republican described meeting the Pope in May as the “honour of a lifetime”.

However, tensions re-emerged following the billionaire businessman’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change – a move strongly condemned by the Vatican.

2017.07.15 / 18:39
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