Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. is praising “rank-and-file” evangelicals for being “ahead of all the leadership” in supporting GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and is questioning if leading Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore, who has been outspoken in his opposition to Trump, is really a conservative.
Falwell, the son of late evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Sr., has been one of the first prominent evangelical leaders to endorse the billionaire real estate mogul for president. He was interviewed Thursday by NPR’s Steve Inskeep this week and asked about the negative reaction he got from many evangelical leaders for supporting Trump “so strong and so early” in the election cycle.
As a LifeWay survey of over 1,000 American Protestant pastors in January found that only 4 percent of pastors favored Trump, Falwell applauded the rank-and-file evangelicals for their early support of the 2016 Republican nominee.
“You know, it was funny that rank-and-file evangelicals were ahead of all the leadership,” Falwell said. “They saw for decades conservative Republicans [make] promises to them on issues that were important to Christians and conservatives when they were running for office. But when they won, they didn’t keep those promises. I think they just decided ‘No more!.'”
Falwell added that the rank-and-file evangelicals weren’t looking for a candidate who is perfect.
“We want somebody who makes mistakes and maybe sort of talks off the cuff and may not get it right all the time, but at least he is not bamboozling us,” Falwell said.
Considering that many evangelical leaders like Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and a popular evangelical commenter, have been in staunch opposition to Trump, Inskeep questioned Falwell on Moore’s view that Trump has been “a little soft on White Supremacists” and is a “lost person.”
Last September, Moore wrote an op-ed that argued Trump’s “most illogical support” comes from evangelicals and additionally contended that in order to support Trump evangelicals and conservatives “must repudiate everything they believe.”
“I don’t know what Russell Moore’s politics really are. I don’t know if he is a closet liberal or if he is a conservative,” Falwell responded. “I don’t think it really matters what I say. I don’t think it really matters what evangelical leaders on the Left say. Evangelicals and conservatives are voting as Americans and are voting to save our nation to control immigration, to stop terrorism, to bring jobs back to the country.”
Although social issues like abortion and marriage have in the past been big motivators for the evangelical voting bloc, Falwell believes that evangelicals today are much less concerned about social issues.
SOURCE: The Christian Post – Samuel Smith