Donald Trump’s recent decision to move the United States’ embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is being nearly universally condemned as an unnecessary provocation within a region that has long struggled to find peace.
Recently adding his voice to the debate was Pope Francis.
“I cannot hide my deep concern for the situation that has been created in the last few days, and at the same time, I offer a heartfelt appeal for the commitment of all to respect the status quo of the city in conformity with the pertinent UN resolutions,” the pope said.
“Jerusalem is a unique city, which is sacred for Jews, Christians and Muslims, who venerate the holy sites of their respective religions, and has a special vocation for peace.”
But of course, Pope Francis’s reasoned comments were seen as criticizing Trump, so Fox News wasted little time on Tuesday crassly denouncing the pope for being insufficiently enamored with America.
“By the way, the pope doesn’t seem to like America very much,” Brian Kilmeade announced. “Certainly doesn’t seem to like President Trump very much.”
Surprising? Not really.
If as a party and a movement you’re going to endorse an alleged child molester for the U.S. Senate in Alabama and cheer as he denounces his accusers as wicked, deceitful liars, you’re not really going to have room inside your political tent for independent-minded spiritual leaders.
Fox News and the supposedly religious conservative movement have a long history of lashing out at the pope when he doesn’t strictly adhere to fringe GOP doctrine.
Kilmeade is correct that the pope pointedly criticized Trump’s proposals in the past, especially for his calls of mass deportation and his promise to build a border wall.
Why? Because those radical notions are completely at odds with Christian values, and specifically with Catholic teachings.
But nuance is not allowed.
So during the 2016 campaign, right-wing media personalities — like those on Fox — tried to smear Pope Francis as a socialist and demanded he “ask [for] Donald Trump’s forgiveness,” Media Matters for America noted.
Sean Hannity even announced that the pope and the Catholic Church are not “in a position to lecture anybody on what it means to be good Christians.”
In terms of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, outside of Israel, Trump has no international allies with regard to the controversial decision.
“Israel regards Jerusalem as its undivided capital and claims sovereignty over the whole city,” the Financial Times explains.
“But the international community views East Jerusalem as occupied land and the Palestinians consider it their future capital. No nation has an embassy in Jerusalem. The international community’s position has long been that Jerusalem’s status should be determined by peace talks”
When it comes to brokering Middle East peace, Fox News prefers if the pope just stays out it.