Two close confidants of Pope Francis have written an article in a Jesuit journal that strongly criticises some American religious supporters of President Donald Trump for their fundamentalist views, which the authors say demonise others and create fear and hatred.
The article, in the Vatican-reviewed journal La Civiltà Cattolica, says some American evangelicals and Catholics have become a “community of combatants” who seek to impose a “xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls and purifying deportations.”
Father Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civiltà Cattolica, and pastor Marcelo Figueroa, editor-in-chief of the Argentinian edition of L’Osservatore Romano, in an article titled, “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A surprising ecumenism,” take “value voters” to task for wanting religion to influence politics in what the authors call a “nostalgic dream of a theocratic type of state.”
The authors claim that conservative Catholics and evangelicals come together over “shared objectives,” such as combating abortion and same-sex marriage or promoting religious education in schools, fostering an “ecumenism of conflict” that demonizes others.
“The panorama of threats to their understanding of the American way of life have included modernist spirits, the black civil rights movement, the hippy movement, communism, feminist movements and so on,” the authors write. “And now in our day there are the migrants and the Muslims.”
The authors accuse chief White House strategist Steve Bannon of supporting “an apocalyptic geopolitics” based on misguided theopolitical thinking that centres on state submission to the Bible, an idea “that is no different from the one that inspires Islamic fundamentalism.”
The White House did not immediately return a request from CNN for comment on the article Friday.
The article laments the religious viewpoint that considers “the United States to be a nation blessed by God” and doesn’t “hesitate to base the economic growth of the country on a literal adherence to the Bible.” The authors also note how some electoral campaign messages “are full of references to evangelical fundamentalism. For example, we see political leaders appearing triumphant with a Bible in their hands.”
The authors claim that the beliefs of these religious groups “do not take into account the bond between capital and profits and arms sales,” and suffer from “a sort of anaesthetic with regard to ecological disasters and problems generated by climate change.”
Spadaro and Figueroa say that fundamentalist evangelical and Catholic views are radically opposed to those of Pope Francis, who urges, “inclusion, peace, encounter and bridges.”
“Francis is carrying forward a systematic counter-narration with respect to the narrative of fear,” they say.
“Francis is courageous here and gives no theological-political legitimacy to terrorists, avoiding any reduction of Islam to Islamic terrorism,” the authors write. “Nor does he give it to those who postulate and want a ‘holy war’ or to build barrier-fences crowned with barbed wire.”