Evangelical Bishop Harry Jackson has stood up in support of US President Donald Trump's controversial plan to build a wall on the border between the US and Mexico, arguing that it's a Christian thing to do in an apparent swipe at Pope Francis' 2016 statements.
The cleric, who is the senior pastor at Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, specifically lashed out at Pope Francis's criticism of the idea. Jackson noted that he sees "an intellectual inconsistency", when the Pope, living behind high walls of the Vatican, criticises the US president's attempts to defend his country.
"If you're living in a protected place, then you're telling the whole sovereign nation […] 'don't protect yourself', it doesn't make common sense", he said.
Jackson further argued that the Bible didn't exclude the creation of borders and immigration regulations and brought up one specific quote to prove his point.
"In the promised land, God assigned people to specific plots of land", he quoted, calling the claim that God didn't create borders "theologically and biblically ignorant".
The bishop also recalled that in the times of ancient Israel, people were allowed to join society if they agreed to adhere to "religious/moral and the practical laws" of the state. Based on this biblical example, the cleric stated that it's ok to ask outsiders to come into the country legally.
Jackson also scolded the efforts of Democratic leaders, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, aimed at tarnishing the project, and called them "hypocrites". The bishop added that it "feels like they're pandering to folks just for a vote" and said that they "should be ashamed of themselves".
The US government is currently living through its longest shut down in history, caused by the disagreements between Democrats and Republicans over the US president's demand to secure $5.7 billion in funding for construction of the wall on the border with Mexico to prevent illegal migrants from entering the country. While the Democrats refuse to give any money for the wall, US President Donald Trump has called it an integral part of the future budget bill.