Several prominent Protestant leaders -- including Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr. -- are criticizing Pope Francis for implying yesterday that Donald Trump's intention to build a wall on the southern border of the U.S. is "not Christian," the Christian Post website reports today (February 19, 2016).
After the Pontiff chastised Trump's desire to build the wall instead of "building bridges" in a conversation with reporters during his return flight home from Mexico, the real estate mogul responded by saying that it is "disgraceful" for a religious leader to question a person's faith.
Falwell -- the president of Liberty University who endorsed Trump for president earlier this year -- told CNN that the Pope's comments would cause America's first Catholic president, John F. Kennedy, to "roll over in his grave." Believing that the Pope fully intended to get involved in American politics, Falwell said, "I think John F. Kennedy would be rolling over in his grave right now if he could hear what the Pope was saying. That's a man who fought to be president against lots of prejudice because many Protestants in this country did not want to elect a Catholic president [because they feared the Pope would be running the country]."
Franklin Graham -- a Protestant minister and the son of world famous evangelist Billy Graham -- said on Facebook that the desire to protect national security by building a wall does not defy the Gospel. He added, "My advice to the Pontiff : Reach out and build a bridge to Donald Trump. Who knows where he may be this time next year!"