February 22nd, 2016

Pope v. Trump: When religion and politics collide — Class Activity


Pope Francis became the latest public figure to find himself in Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s crosshairs this week while on a trip to Mexico.

While talking to reporters, the pope commented on Trump’s repeated claim that, if elected president, he will build a wall along the Mexican border to prevent undocumented immigrants from entering the United States.

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian,” he said. He also said he is not recommending how anyone votes in the 2016 election.

Last week, Trump said the pope’s visit to Mexico to advocate for migrants was politically-motivated. The New York businessman wasted no time responding to Pope Francis’ comments while campaigning in South Carolina, where he is favored to win Saturday’s republican primary.

“No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith,” Trump said at a rally in South Carolina Thursday. He went on to say that terrorist groups like the Islamic State would love to attack religious centers like the Vatican in Italy, where the Pope’s Roman Catholic Church is based, and that walls like his will help keep the U.S. and others safer.

Watch the video above and then discuss the following questions as a class.


What did Pope Francis mean when he said building walls instead of bridges does not fit with Christian values?

Is it appropriate for religious leaders to comment on political matters?

What do you think about Trump’s response to Pope Francis? How might politics and timing be motivating him?

Will the pope’s comments influence some voters? Why or why not?


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