Jesse Jackson: Trump 'Would Not Qualify to Get Into Jesus' Kingdom'

September 1, 2017

President Donald Trump may want to tighten requirements on who can immigrate to the United States, but Rev. Jesse Jackson thinks he should instead worry about his own citizenship in heaven.

"Trump says you must be able to speak the language of English, [be] qualified, and have a job skill," Jackson said Monday. "Jesus would not qualify to come in Trump's country—he would not qualify to get into Jesus' kingdom."

Jackson made the comment Monday at the "Ministers March for Justice," which was spearheaded by Rev. Al Sharpton and featured ministers from various traditions united in opposing the Trump administration. The event took place on the 54th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington, and Jackson did not shy away from using religious language to judge the president.

After judging Trump's ability to enter heaven, he quoted part of a passage from the Gospel of Matthew, in which Jesus says what he will tell his followers at the Final Judgment.

"I was hungry, you fed me; naked, you clothed me; captive, you set me free," Jackson said, quoting Christ.

In the passage, Jesus explains his words mean that his true followers will help those in need and ultimately survive judgment. Jesus' words declare that feeding and clothing "the least of these my brothers" constitutes feeding Christ himself.

Jackson was referring to the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, which uses a points system to decide who may enter the country. English proficiency and work qualifications are some of the criteria on which potential immigrants would be judged.

When Sharpton described the purpose of the march, he put politics into moral terms as well.

"It's immoral to try to take the vote from people that blacks and Jews and other people suffered and died for," Sharpton said. "It's immoral to try and take health care from your mama because you don't like Obama. It's immoral to try and give a tax cut to the rich while we need infrastructure and jobs."

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner also used biblical allusions to criticize Trump. Pesner referred to the Exodus from Egpyt to compare Trump to the pharaoh who kept the Hebrews in bondage.

"And we know today that we do have the power to break the bondage of the modern pharaoh," Pesner said.