In light of Pope Francis' attack on Donald Trump's Christianity, one megachurch pastor is coming to the aid of the business mogul and suggested that the pope should beg for Trump's forgiveness for questioning his faith.
Speaking to Sean Hannity on Premier Radio Networks' "The Sean Hannity Show," megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress echoed some of the words Trump said Thursday in rebuttal to the pope's comments about his faith, according to a clip from Media Matters.
"Sean, I think the pope needs to ask Donald Trump's forgiveness for making such an outlandish statement," Jeffress said. "I want to remind our listeners that it was exactly one year ago this week that 21 Coptic Christians had their heads chopped off by ISIS on a Libyan beach and then ISIS said, 'we are coming to Rome next.'"
He continued his defense of Trump, arguing that its not "unbiblical" to want to protect America and at the same time said the pope was "confused" about the role of the Church.
"And the fact that we have a candidate like Donald Trump who wants to protect America, that's not unbiblical," he said. "The pope is confused between the role of the Church, which is to show compassion, and the role of government, which is to uphold order and to protect its citizens. And I want to make a prediction. I think the pope has succeeded in doing what no other man on Earth could do, and that is creating a martyr in Donald Trump."
Jeffress' comments stem from a momentary dispute between Trump and the pope on Thursday. At the time, the pope said on at least two different occasions that the Republican presidential frontrunner isn't Christian when he answered a question about Trump's plan to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, The New York Times reported.
"A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel," Francis said. He declined to say whether followers should vote for Trump, but added, "I would only say that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that."
Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi has since issued a clarification about Pope Francis' statement, saying that the pope had no intention to personally attack Trump and said that his words "depended on the accuracy and truth of what he had been told regarding the Republican candidate's positions, thus also giving him the benefit of the doubt."