Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly wants to meet with Pope Francis to explain to him what Jesus would do about illegal immigration.
The host of The O’Reilly Factor used his “Talking Points Memo” as a rhetorical platform to give the Pope the benefit of his theological knowledge as it relates to the situation at the U.S. southern border and its implications for the rest of the country.
Bill O’Reilly was responding to the recent controversy between Pope Francis and Donald Trump that emerged immediately prior to the South Carolina Primary.
Flying home from a visit to Mexico City, the Pope seemed to be leveling criticism at the GOP presidential front-runner when he said, “a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”
Although his views generally don’t necessarily fit neatly into any particular ideological category, Pope Francis enjoys worldwide rock-star popularity since he became the Bishop of Rome in March 2013 for his acts of compassion, open-mindedness, outreach efforts, willingness to challenge conventional wisdom, and for his modest personal lifestyle.
The pontiff does, however, generally seem to be in favor of open borders for undocumented immigrants from Central America as well as Syrian/Middle Eastern migrants, based on many public statements.
Trump famously vows to build a “beautiful” wall at the U.S.-Mexico border that Mexico will pay for.
When appraised of Pope Francis’s comments, Trump fired back immediately during a rally and with a lengthy statement on his website suggesting, among other things, that Mexican authorities only gave Pope Francis one side of the border story, as it were.
Trump later softened his response during one or more TV appearances, and the Vatican itself walked back the Pope’s initial criticism somewhat.
A Vatican spokesman explained that “This wasn’t in any way a personal attack, nor an indication of who to vote for. The Pope has clearly said he didn’t want to get involved in the electoral campaign in the U.S., and also said that he said what he said on the basis of what he was told [about Trump], hence giving him the benefit of the doubt.”
While Donald Trump has a history of making incendiary comments, many media pundits claimed that the mini feud with the Pope would (this time, for sure) doom Trump’s presidential campaign. In a familiar pattern, however, Trump defied journalists and political professionals and went on to win the South Carolina Primary handily, followed by a first-place finish in the Nevada Caucus last night.
The focus of O’Reilly’s TV editorial was the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco.
Since that tragedy, the proprietor of the “no-spin zone” has been trying to convince Congress to pass Kate’s law, which would provide mandatory jail sentences for any illegal alien convicted of a serious crime who reenters the U.S.
Steinle, 32, was gunned down on the San Francisco Pier 14 Embarcadero waterfront, a popular tourist destination, as she was walking with her father on July 1, 2015, in an apparent random attack by a five-time-deported illegal alien felon.
In April, the San Francisco County Sheriff’s Department released the suspect in the Steinle shooting from jail instead of turning him over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for likely deportation number six.
San Francisco is a sanctuary city that is non-compliant with federal immigration law.
In his remarks, Bill O’Reilly claimed that he would like Kate Steinle’s family to accompany him to his sit-down with the Pope.
“I would tell [the Pope] that because the U.S. government will not, will not secure the southern border of the United States, a Mexican career criminal was able to illegally enter America six times after being deported five times. For decades, this man sold narcotics on the streets. And was ultimately protected by the corrupt city and county of San Francisco, which allowed the illegal-alien criminal freedom. The result? He shot and killed Kate. Then after all of that, I would point out to the Pope that the U.S. Congress was incapable of passing Kate’s law, giving authorities more power to control illegal aliens who commit aggravated felonies in this country.”
While the controversy between Trump and the Pope was ongoing, many news outlets pointed out that the Vatican city-state is surrounded and protected by huge walls and that it is almost impossible for an outsider to gain citizenship there.
Bill O’Reilly insisted that securing the border is also the Christian thing to do.
“Finally, I would suggest to Pope Francis, that millions of Americans have been harmed, economically, by our immigration system which desperately needs reform. I think I could persuade the pope that providing protection and enforcing settled law is certainly not un-Christian. What is against the tenets of Jesus is to allow chaos that harms innocent people, like Kate Steinle and her family.
“What I believe might infuriate Jesus is politicians who are sworn to uphold laws, ignoring their oaths in pursuit of power and votes. When human beings are being harmed, Christians have a sacred duty to try to stop that harm. Yes, there must be compassion for the poor and oppressed. And no one is better in promoting that than Pope Francis. But social order and justice must be incorporated into compassionate public policy. If not, harm will follow which, in America, it has.”
Do you think Bill O’Reilly will get the opportunity to discuss illegal immigration with Pope Francis?
[Photo by Richard Drew/AP]