A New Hampshire state representative who backs Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump called Roman Catholic Pope Francis the “anti-Christ” in a Facebook post thread last week, according to Politico.
Susan DeLemus posted on Facebook one of her favorite passages in the book of Psalms in the Geneva Bible Thursday, the same day Francis inserted himself into the U.S. presidential campaign by saying Trump’s plan to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico is “not Christian.” Trump immediately shot back, saying that “for a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful.” Later that day, a Facebook user commented on DeLemus’ post, in which he asked for her opinion about the spat between the pontiff and the presidential candidate.
“The Pope is the anti-Christ. Do your research,” DeLemus reportedly replied in the Facebook thread. “I’m not sure who the Pope truly has in his heart.”
However, DeLemus clarified to Politico Monday that she was referring to the papacy as being anti-Christ, citing commentary in the Geneva Bible.
“So that’s all I was referring to, the papacy, not particularly that one particular pope because the papacy is a seat. It’s not just one person,” Politico quoted DeLemus as saying.
DeLemus also told Politico she is not Catholic, so she does not believe Pope Francis is infallible and that she did not think it was “fair for the pope, or anyone else for that matter, to judge whether anyone else is Christian or not.”
While the back-and-forth between Pope Francis and Trump made headlines and stirred debate, many U.S. Catholics were unfazed by it, according to Reuters. A sampling of opinion before and after Sunday Mass indicated many Catholics viewed the pope’s comments as well-intentioned and grounded in his moral worldview, yet most of those interviewed by the news agency in Boston and New York said they would not rule out voting for Trump based on what the pontiff had said.