Trump and the Vatican


On his first visit overseas, Trump will be visiting several nations including Saudi Arabia, which is very odd given that, according to Wikipedia

Islam is the state religion of Saudi Arabia and its law requires that all citizens should be Muslims. Public worship by adherents of religions other than Islam is forbidden [and the] distribution of non-Muslim religious materials such as Bibles, is illegal.

Of greater concern is a visit to the other religious monarchy, the Vatican, where Trump will be visiting with their “elected” leader, Pope Francis. To put the Vatican on his A-List of places to visit, while at the same time trying to turn the US in a theocracy is more than a little troublesome. The mainstream media, most likely, will fail to the note this serious breech of ethics and instead focus on the more juicy areas of disagreement between the Vatican and the Trump administration.

Since Trump’s inauguration this year, Pope Francis has continued to criticize the president and his agenda, if indirectly. In February, he urged an audience at the Vatican “to not raise walls but bridges, to not respond to evil with evil, to overcome evil with good” and again suggested that Trump’s behavior was not in line with the values of Christianity.

“A Christian can never say: ‘I’ll make you pay for that,’” Francis said, according to the Guardian, in remarks interpreted as a reference to Trump’s claims that Mexico will pay for his proposed border wall. “Never! That is not a Christian gesture. An offense is overcome with forgiveness, by living in peace with everyone.”

Yes, it is nice to hear criticism of Trump, but it does little to address his continued alienation the 25% of Americans who are non-religious, including many who label themselves as explicitly atheist or agnostic.  For example, in a recent speech at Liberty University, he falsely stated that in America “we worship god.” Such a ridiculous statement is not only false, but goes against the long-standing principle of the separation of state and church.  Of course, this simple idea was put forth by one of the greatest thinkers of the 18th Century, Thomas Jefferson, whose thoughtful words never seem to make into a Trump speech or tweet.  It makes you wonder.

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About SamStone

A Steel City Skeptic who thinks science and reason is the light that we should follow to find our way in this world.
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7 Responses to Trump and the Vatican

  1. Afternoon Sam,

    I’m sort of confused as to how you came to some of the conclusions you did in the post above.The trip for me doesn’t appear to hint at any dark theocratic plans for the future. It’s not uncommon for Heads of State to meet with other heads of state. Not only that but the Vatican is almost always a high priority visit in the beginning period of a new presidency. Both Bush Jr. and Obama visited the Vatican in roughly the same time-frame as Trump will be. Saudi Arabia, while not a shining beacon of tolerance, it is a common destination for heads of state; given its geopolitical influence. Obama visited four times in his presidency, making Saudi Arabia one of his most traveled to destinations. This is in no way a negative reflection of Obama or his policies; just pointing out the fact it’s something common to presidents of both sides. I don’t see how this would be a breach of ethics, let alone a “serious” one, all things considered.

    I also don’t quite see any legitimate attempt to transform the US into a Christian theocracy as you do. I’m an agnostic atheist and I don’t feel alienated in the slightest? I mean, not mentioning atheists or agnostics in a speech concerning religion given at an explicitly religious college doesn’t seem all that unreasonable, does it? Especially considering the venue, audience, and the fact we aren’t a religion. lol It seems out of place to mention us there. Maybe it’s just me but something like that seems so trivial I hardly consider it alienation. When he says “In America We Worship God” he’s not exactly wrong. No, we aren’t 100% Christian but given his audience, the fact the vast majority of American’s _do_ worship god, and the historical record being the religious views held by the overwhelming majority of the population since the very founding of the country have been a denomination of Christianity. That’s especially relevant considering the rise of atheism/agnosticism we’re seeing is a very recent phenomenon.

    In regards to Thomas Jefferson, while he identified much more closely with deism the historical record is pretty clear he was heavily influenced by Christian Philosophy and saw it in a favorable light. [He considered the teachings of Jesus as having “the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man,”] – Right from his Wikipedia page.
    Quotes are tricky, especially that one. No, Christianity was not written directly into or directly enforced by the law, as in, we do not live in a direct theocracy. It’s an apt description of the Separation of Church and State in regards to Christianity. However, he makes quite clear morals and/or principals derived from religious teachings, especially Christianity, are absolutely allowed to influence the way you participate in the democratic process. Even if it were true that it played no part in the history of our common law, that doesn’t then mean the vast majority of people throughout our history didn’t worship god or that they don’t now, just that it’s not our established religion.

    I want to point out again, I’m an atheist. I’m not saying these things to try and defend anything other than these specific statements. I just feel that me not believing in any literal gods doesn’t change historical facts, even if I don’t agree with them or how they can be used politically in the present. I hope you don’t take these comments as any kind of attack. I can’t help but get the impression you’re interpreting his actions in a way that confirms what you already believe to be true. If someone thought that about me, even if they were wrong, I’d want them to tell me about it.

    As you might have guessed I catch a lot of hell (get it? :)) from other atheists/agnostics when I touch on any of these subjects. Even so, I’d love to discuss in more detail anything mentioned above or any other similar topic for that matter. In person or over IM preferably, comments sections have too much lag for me. lol I’d come out to more local events but I have a feeling my views wouldn’t be welcome. Who knows. Thanks in advance.

    • SamStone says:

      I appreciate you willing to state your views, but the original post comes from a litany (to use an ironic term) of statements that point out Trump’s complete disregard to the wall between church and state. To point to a few obvious examples, I would ask to to read the following press releases from the FFRF:

      https://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/29416-ffrf-urges-end-of-special-relationship-with-the-vatican
      https://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/29453-trump-s-pandering-at-liberty-u-crosses-the-line
      https://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/29336-ffrf-testifies-to-preserve-johnson-amendment

      And, these articles just from the last two weeks!

      As for state visits, there are a good two dozen countries that should come first with regard to trade, defense, industry, education, etc. The Vatican is a symbolic place to visit at best, and bad symbol at that given its record of sexism and oppression.

    • Please explain/elaborate: what is an “agnostic atheist?” I’ve never heard that description.

      • I can safely assume given the blog we’re on, you know their definitions. lol I prefer using both since they cover different domains. Agnostic in the sense I’m can say with a reasonably high degree of certainty that there are no supreme beings of the religious variety, however, I cannot say with complete certainty since I do not, nor can I, possess all possible knowledge. Atheist in the sense that after reviewing all the evidence presented for a literal physical supreme being (in regards to the modern day religious adherents interpretation of god) I am unconvinced; I do not believe the claims.

        Hope that helps. :)

      • The Militant One says:

        BigFrankTheory – I – and virtually every atheist that I’ve ever met or heard of – is technically an agnostic because we cannot state with absolute certainty that there is/are no god(s) – you cannot prove a negative. But the vast preponderance of evidence indicates that such is the case so we live our lives as defacto atheists. I CAN state with absolute certainty that there is no Abrahamic god – even if for no other reason than the holy books give a contradictory description of the sadistic bastard and so makes his existence impossible.

        But back to the original post’s topic – Der Gropenfuhrer owes an enormous debt to Pence and the hypocrites/delusionals for his election and he is working mightily to repay that debt. When you see that his support among them is still well over 80% and has hardly dropped, his moves are paying dividends. Moves from the Gorsuch appointment to the DeVos appointment plus the above items mentioned by Sam Stone and the rest.

      • I’m not sure I’d go as far to say he owes Pence a huge debt. His numbers among religious groups, while higher than last years, were pretty typical of what you’d expect for a Republican candidate. Even if you don’t agree with his politics he does appear to be, for the most part, attempting to do what his electorate wants him to do. At the very least not screwing anything up they feel is important. lol Gorsuch was huge.

  2. Oh yea, an orange haired, red faced dildo accompanied by two post-teen nitwits believes that only he has the unique skills required to make adherents to divergent mental illnesses sing Kumbaya My Lord in perfect harmony.

    We all know that this stunt is nothing more than a multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded photo op. No doubt he’ll replace that giant photo of Hillary that’s hung in the Gallery with a montage of his various pit stops

    There is a silver lining in all of this though: I’m 100% confident that he’ll make even a bigger ass of himself wherever goes and lend further evidence to even the hopelessly stupid that he must be removed from office, taken by force to a mental institution and locked-up like Hannibal Lecter where he can only be a danger to himself.

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