On Christmas Day, Pope Francis used his immense reach to go against two of the most important policies President Trump has initiated. First, he pushed for a two-state solution with a divided Jerusalem, a reference to President Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Then, he told the nations they must help migrants “driven from their land,” a not-so-veiled attack on the President’s stance on accepting more refugees.
I’m not a fan of the President, but the Pope’s attacks were flat out wrong. Of all the things I can oppose the President on from his incessant push for massive infrastructure spending to his penchant for petulance at any given moment, the two things I wholeheartedly support are his intended actions on Jerusalem and unchecked immigration. I may not like how he’s going about performing these two important tasks, but I love that he’s performing them. That’s much more than can be said of every other recent president.
Before I get into why the Pope is wrong, let’s talk about one potential criticism against him that I will not invoke. Some would say the Pope and all other religious leaders should stay out of the worlds of policy and governance. While the separation of church and state is a noble and fundamental aspect of modern society, there’s a difference between the church (or any other religious institution) getting involved in government and individuals of religious recognition expressing their views. We do not want a theocracy (until the one true King and Priest returns), but one of the concepts that’s been spreading through Washington DC and other secular world capitals is the notion that faith has no place in politics. I’ll go into much greater detail about why that’s impossible in a future article, but as a teaser, let’s take into account that “science-driven atheists” have a faith of their own that pervades the political world, so even a lack of faith is, in itself, a religious belief that influences leaders and representatives. Again, more on that in the future. For now, let’ simply dismiss the notion that the Pope or any other religious leader is somehow supposed to stay out of politics. They can’t and shouldn’t.
With that said, let’s look at the Pope’s criticisms:
Pope Francis called for Israel and Palestine to be separate, independent countries, and for the world to take better care of millions of migrants “driven from their land”—two subtle hits at President Donald Trump in the pope’s annual Christmas address.
Speaking in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, the Pope indirectly addressed Trump’s decision last week to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a controversial move that many—including the more than 120 nations that backed a United Nations resolution on Thursday—believe will undermine the so-called “two-state solution.”
Rather than make this one long article, I’m turning it into three. In the other two articles, I individually tackle the Pope’s assertions that America in general and President Trump in particular must change his policies on migrants and Jerusalem.
Helping migrants “driven from their land”
The easy message for the Pope is to condemn anyone he believes should be letting in more refugees. He was talking directly about America in his Christmas Day speech, though he fell short of blaming us.
The harder message is one that proposes sustainable solutions. That message is never spoken by world leaders because it requires more effort than they’re willing to exert. Pointing at America and telling us to do something about it is much easier than pulling together a coalition of nations to put real effort into fixing the situation. Even the United Nations, whose job is allegedly to address situations like these, are much more interested in condemning an embassy move than helping millions of people in dire need.
Real solutions aren’t easy, but they’re achievable as I noted in one part of this short article series:
Refugees need, more than anything else, safety and stability. The vast majority did not wake up one morning and decide they wanted to become Americans, Germans, or Australians. They woke up to war and were displaced by it. Many open border proponents, and apparently the Pope, would like for us and other western nations to give these refugees a “good life” with our version of safety and stability. This has been demonstrated time and time again to be a huge mistake that affects the host communities and the refugees themselves. There’s no need to go into the effects in the host communities. You either hear the stories or ignore them. What’s not often considered is the “better life” the refugees are going to be treated to by putting them into our culture.
For some, it’s better. They embrace it. We’ve heard plenty of stories about migrants and refugees who came to our country under duress before assimilating and doing great things in their lives. These are highlighted by the media and rightfully so. However, there are many more who are placed in western cultures and either have a hard time assimilating into it or attempt to assimilate those around them into the culture they’re bringing with them.
The Pope wants help in the form of bringing in more refugees. The real solution is to help nations that are more culturally aligned and that have the potential for infrastructure to support an influx. Nations in the Middle East, east Africa, and southwest Asia are much closer culturally to those affected by the Syrian crisis. Bangladesh is a good destination for Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, but they need a great deal of assistance from the international community. In every situation where refugees are seeking new homes, there are better places to send them than to the United States or other western nations.
Dividing Jerusalem in a two-state solution
The other big news from the Pope’s address is his call for a two-state solution and the dividing if Jerusalem. This is the common talking point for world leaders today. It seems they are unified in pushing this as the only way to find peace, ignoring the fact that peace negotiations haven’t worked for decades before President Trump declared recognition of a united Jerusalem as Israel’s permanent capital.
It’s time for the Pope and everyone else to stop. They continue to push a narrative in hopes that it will stick. In many ways, it has. Most of the world seems to agree. They act as if this international pressure will push Israel to change their stance.
They act like Israel will someday have suicidal leaders because doing what the world wants could easily lead to many radical Muslims’ end goal of wiping Israel completely off the map:
What the Pope and the rest of the world want to do is split Jerusalem. They may or may not realize that doing so sets up Israel for the same type of attacks they’ve faced in the past when Muslim nations had the strategic advantage to do so. In a nation the size of New Jersey, it’s utter insanity to expect them to shrink their barely defensible borders and allow a Palestinian state to be the proxy for their enemies. That’s what this really comes down to when all the rhetoric is put aside.
I’ve often wondered if the world’s hatred for Israel is so strong, they push for a two-state solution and a split Jerusalem because they know it could lead to the destruction of the Jewish state. Today, America and Israel are essentially alone. There are others reportedly starting to embrace sanity, but the majority of the world seems bent on Israel’s eventual downfall.
The Pope holds tremendous influence over much of the world. It’s within his rights to express his views, but it’s also his responsibility to make sure his views are aligned with what’s best for the world. For better or for worse, he can change hearts and minds. If he’s going to use that power to promote solutions to major problems, it’s important that his solution are properly conceived and attainable rather than being “new world order” talk tracks.