Lou Holtz, a former college football coach, caused controversy during the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night when he declared that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is a “Catholic in name only.”

Biden has been vocal about his faith, which he says has helped him through difficult times in his life, like when his son, Beau Biden, died of brain cancer in 2015. Holtz made his judgment while delivering a speech praising President Trump, saying he is a man who “genuinely cares about people” and is someone Americans can “trust.” Not long after Holtz was finished, liberals and conservatives alike jumped to Biden’s defense on Twitter.

Did Lou Holtz just call Democrats “Catholic in Name Only?”

Biden goes to Mass weekly. He’s a devout Catholic and a man of actual faith who doesn’t pretend to be one like Trump.

These people are so dishonest.

— Tara Setmayer (@TaraSetmayer) August 27, 2020

Disgusting lie by Lou Holtz that Biden is a ‘Catholic in name only.’

WaPo: “Biden almost always has rosary beads in his pocket … He has written and spoken at length of how faith helped him grieve the loss of his first wife and daughter many years ago, and his son Beau.”

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 27, 2020

Tonight I learned that one’s status within the Catholic Church can apparently be determined by *checks notes* a Division I college football coach. https://t.co/kT6eFQSjuk

— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) August 27, 2020

During the Republican Convention, Lou Holtz just said that Joe Biden is not a real Catholic.

Who is he to judge another man’s faith?

— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) August 27, 2020

On MSNBC, Jesuit priest James Martin said he doesn’t believe this is something “you should say about anybody.” Holtz, he continued, “cannot look into the soul of Joe Biden … I think it’s a really terrible thing to say about someone. He has no clue what’s going on inside of Joe Biden’s heart.”

Story continues

“He cannot look into the soul of Joe Biden,” Rev. James Martin says in response to Lou Holtz’s #RNC2020 statement suggesting Joe Biden and other politicians are “Catholics in name only.”

“He has no clue of what is going on inside of Joe Biden’s heart,” he adds. pic.twitter.com/g8Olfxj65b

— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 27, 2020

Holtz has been involved in Republican politics for decades. In 1983, he resigned as the University of Arkansas’ football coach after being criticized for appearing in commercials endorsing the re-election of Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.). At the time Helms, who once said the 1964 Civil Rights Act was “the single most dangerous piece of legislation ever introduced in the Congress,” was leading the effort to keep Martin Luther King Jr. Day from becoming a national holiday.

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