With the presidential election in full swing now, contentious debates have been had both within the United States and internationally regarding what worldview Americans should embrace. Without fail, Christians of all stripes have been weighing in, with many supporting candidates they feel best represent their view of their religion. Of course, when both politics and religion collide there are bound to be some clashes, including between the leader of the largest Christian sect and the Republican frontrunner for the presidency. This has led to some unusual accusations against both sides, but none more outlandish than that of New Hampshire state Representative Susan DeLemus, who believes that Pope Francis is the Antichrist.
For the uninitiated, the Antichrist is a character from the Bible who is supposed to represent the opposite of Jesus. Jesus’ teachings were generally those of compassion, charity, accepting others, and loving one’s neighbor. Pope Francis has been touting these tenets of Christianity as being the foundation of what it means to be a good person and a good Christian. GOP candidate Donald Trump has been decrying these beliefs, and teaching the opposite message: One of racism, misogyny, greed, and anger. Don’t see the connection? That’s alright, neither do we.
You see, DeLemus is a Trump supporter. She has bought into his rhetoric fully, as have millions of angry Americans who are fed up with the status quo. Many of these people are self-proclaimed Christians, such as DeLemus, who have apparently never bothered to learn what exactly their religion teaches. Either that, or they simply disregard it when it conflicts with their political beliefs.
To be fair, for many people political beliefs are more important than religious ones. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But when somebody is misrepresenting a religion in order to advance a political agenda, you can be sure they are, at best, uninformed. Trump said following his Nevada victory that he “loves the poorly educated.” While DeLemus is not a Nevada resident, she is quite clearly of the uneducated group of people Trump was referring too.
DeLemus, somewhat ironically, also included a desire for people to do the research when referring to Pope Francis as the Antichrist. By all means, everybody should do their research, especially when accusing the leader of the world’s largest church of being the embodiment of evil in the world. Of course, virtually every pope since the founding of the church has been accused by one faction or another of being the Antichrist, but to have that accusation levied against him for actually setting a good example and teaching charity and kindness is a level of ignorance rarely seen this side of the Medieval Era.
In the United States people are entitled to their own opinions, especially when it comes to politics and religion. But when those views are based on flawed understandings of both, it is important for others to stand up and point that out. Much like the creationists and flat-earthers before her, DeLemus is once again giving Christian mythology a black eye.
But that’s okay, because Trump loves the poorly educated.