Falwell's Less-Than-Christian Endorsement

Falwell's Less-Than-Christian Endorsement
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Jerry Falwell, Jr. endorsed Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday, sparking outrage among many evangelicals. Falwell responded to those criticisms, but only seems to make excuses for Trump's less-than-Christian policies.

Falwell argues that America is teetering on the edge of economic failure, and Trump is a talented businessman who can save it. He compares the country's current precarious financial situation with that of Liberty University in its infancy, saying, "In short, we need someone to bring this country back from the brink and make America great again in the same way that the right team of professionals helped make Liberty great again between 1987 and today."

But, despite what Joel Osteen might tell you, Jesus's idea of "greatness" has never included wealth or conquest, and America's greatness was never due to its financial or military success. It is certainly a good thing to have a strong economy, but not at the expense of the values that have made America truly great.

It seems Trump's only values are wealth and power.

The Presbyterian church Trump claims to attend says that he is not an active member. Trump publicly treats other human beings with a complete lack of Christian love, constantly calling them "losers," "morons," and other demeaning names simply because they disagree with him, trail in the polls, or have fewer Twitter followers. In a pathetic attempt to pander to Falwell's own Liberty University crowd, Trump's "Two Corinthians" blunder demonstrated his lack of Biblical knowledge. His behavior continually shows that he has no active participation in Christianity, whether through scripture, a church, or his treatment of other people in daily life.

Not even his policies reflect Christian values. His proposal to prevent all Muslims from immigrating to the United States is only a prelude to mass persecution. His repeated characterization of immigrants and the poor as criminals is a heartless rejection of Christ's command to protect the weakest in society. Trump also described himself as "very pro-choice" in 1999 and only recently changed his tune to pander to conservative voters, despite his unwillingness to commit to overturning Roe v. Wade.

But Falwell seems unfazed. "Jesus said 'Judge not, lest ye be judged.' Let's stop trying to choose the political leaders who we believe are the most godly because, in reality, only God knows people's hearts. You and I don't, and we are all sinners."

But isn't a judgment of which candidate is better exactly what an election is about? We cannot toss morality aside to elect a man because we think he will bring America money and power. We should continue to evaluate the morality of our political candidates because so-called "strong leaders" can often lead us astray.

Jesus told his disciples, "What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? ... For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done."

Falwell asks us not to "judge" Trump, but how will the Son of Man judge us if we sacrifice our values on the altar of a better economy?

Steven Magnusen holds a Master of Arts in Historical and Systematic Theology from The Catholic University of America.

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