Trump took the first swipe Thursday, telling Fox News correspondent-at-large Geraldo Rivera that Biden, a practicing Roman Catholic, and the Democrats are “against the Bible” and claiming the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is “against God.”
The Biden campaign hit Trump in response for his photo in front of St. John’s Church amid police brutality protests and as the Republican president seeks to shore up his evangelical base.
“Joe Biden’s faith is at the core of who he is; he’s lived it with dignity his entire life, and it’s been a source of strength and comfort in times of extreme hardship,” Biden spokesperson Andrew Bates told Fox News.
“Donald Trump is the only president in our history to have tear-gassed peaceful Americans and thrown a priest out of her church just so he could profane it — and a Bible — for his own cynical optics as he sought to tear our nation apart at a moment of crisis and pain. And this comes just one day after Trump’s campaign abused a photo of Joe Biden praying in church to demean him, in one of the starkest expressions of weakness throughout this whole campaign.”
The fight for faith between the two comes as a Catholic group is criticizing Biden for his silence on the “rising climate of anti-Catholicism across the country.”
“Catholic churches across America are literally burning, and Joe Biden has said nothing,” said Brian Burch, the president of CatholicVote, in a statement. “Leading members of the Democratic Party have fueled a climate of hate against Catholics, and these attacks have now led to acts of vandalism and violence.”
Former congressman and CatholicVote Senior Political Advisor Tim Huelskamp added that “Biden’s deafening silence during this hate-filled epidemic speaks loudly of his consent to this shocking assault on our religious freedoms.”
Dolan noted that St. Patrick’s Cathedral–in the heart of Manhattan, which sees millions of visitors every year–was a target of Black Lives Matter graffiti and has been hit hard by the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“There has been a rash of dozens and dozens and dozens of attacks on Catholic churches, evangelical churches, synagogues, mosques, that goes back to … antireligious, antichurch, anti-faith dangerous sentiment. Saint Patrick’s is suffering from this a great deal,” the archbishop noted.
“These are anarchists that want to destroy everything that is sacred in human life and religion is on atop that,” Dolan concluded, referencing Antifa and other violence in cities like New York, Portland, and Seattle over the last few months. “Religion stands for noble, worthwhile in life. They have got to burn that down if they are going to have their anarchy take over. We can’t let that happen.”