Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has renewed his attack on the Roman Catholic Church, of which he is a member, saying church leaders are indulging the ‘scam’ of illegal immigration by backing a permanent no-deportation guarantee for people brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
‘There’s nothing in the Gospel about going against your country, and causing civil unrest and disruption. And that’s what the church is doing by doing this,’ Bannon told DailyMail.com on the margins of an investor forum in Hong Kong where he spoke Tuesday.
‘They’re helping to destroy the education system, they’re helping destroy the healthcare delivery system,’ he said of Rome’s clerics in the U.S.
‘It’s a known fact that the illegal aliens cause businesses –’ Bannon said, before stopping in mid-thought and saying pointedly: ‘It’s a scam, and they’re supporting it.’
Steve Bannon (left) resumde his attacks on Catholic clergy on Tuesday, telling Dailymail.com that Cardinal Timothy Dolan and other Roman prelates are supporting a ‘scam’ by siding with illegal immigrants
When CBS News released the first clips from Sunday night’s ’60 minutes’ interview with Bannon, the bomb-throwing former Trump insider’s broadside against the Catholic clergy mad the cut for his claim that they are acting out of an ‘economic interest.’
Bishops and priests ‘need illegal aliens to fill the churches,’ Bannon claimed then. ‘That’s – it’s obvious on the face of it.’
Church leaders including New York’s Cardinal, Timothy Dolan, fired back with scripture on Thursday.
‘The Bible is so clear, so clear, that we treat to treat the immigrant with dignity and respect,’ Dolan said on SiriusXM’s Catholic Channel.
‘To make sure that society is just in the treatment of the immigrant is Biblical mandate,’ he said. ‘It’s clear from the lips of Jesus when he said, “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers you do to me. When I was a stranger” – meaning an immigrant or refugee – “you welcomed me”.’
A visibly irritated Bannon took on that argument Tuesday in Hong Kong.
‘”Welcome a stranger” is one thing,’ Bannon said, referring to a command from Jesus Christ in the New Testament, ‘but “welcome illegal aliens into your country” is very different. That’s sovereignty of your nation.’
Pope Francis has emerged as a staunch defender of immigrants in general, and has complained about the use of the word ‘illegal’ to describe some of them in North America
‘”Welcome a stranger” is one thing, but “welcome illegal aliens into your country” is very different,’ he said. ‘That’s sovereignty of your nation.’
‘It’s not about “welcome a stranger”,’ Bannon insisted. ‘They all put it in these moral precepts that – you know, these people – it’s about the sovereignty of your country, right?’
Bannon said he had ‘absolutely zero’ regrets about crossing swords with his own Christian denomination.
‘The capitalists that bring them here are for cheap labor,’ he said of illegal immigrants.
‘And then they try to fall back on church doctrine and the Gospels? We have a massive problem with illegal aliens, and we’re not helping them.’
Catholic prelates have come out in favor of the Obama-era ‘Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals’ program.
Bannon describes himself as a ‘street fighter’ and has no qualms about attacking his own church – whose official view on immigration he says is ‘helping to destroy the education system’ and ‘helping destroy the healthcare delivery system’
DACA, which President Trump has placed on a 6-month countdown to termination if Congress doesn’t act to codify it into law, guarantees protection against deportation for nearly 800,000 people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
Dolan called President Trump’s move to conditionally eliminate the program ‘not Christian’ and ‘not American’ last week, saying Catholics provide ‘special solicitude’ for immigrants because ‘they come to us first. The highest percentage of immigrants are, guess what? Catholic.’
He also disagreed that the Holy See considers immigration a pocketbook issue, blasting ‘a preposterous and rather insulting statement, that the only reason we bishops care for immigrants is for the economic – because we want to fill our churches and get more money.’
‘That’s insulting and that’s just so ridiculous that it doesn’t merit a comment,’ Dolan said.