As I said in comments last week, I’m not terribly interested in politics except as it intersects with the purposes of this blog. Since we like to keep our eye on what is happening in the world of U.S. evangelicalism, I think the following stories at Bloomberg and CNN about Trump speaking at Liberty University qualify as something for the iMonk community to discuss.
I’ve excerpted some of the pertinent points. Feel free to follow the links and read the entire articles.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump won glowing praise from a Christian evangelical leader in one of the nation’s biggest battleground states on Monday.
Jerry Falwell Jr., head of the Virginia-based Liberty University, didn’t formally endorse the billionaire, who spoke at the school’s convocation, but his remarks went further than for any other candidate to speak there during this race.
“He cannot be bought. He’s not a puppet on a string like many other candidates,” said Falwell Jr., who said he met with three of Trump’s children this past week. “The American public is finally ready to elect a candidate who is not a career politician.”
Falwell Jr. even likened Trump to his father, the late Reverend Jerry Falwell, which the candidate called “an honor for me.”
…Falwell’s comments could help Trump win over evangelical voters, particularly in southern Virginia, where one in eight of the town’s residents attend services at the family’s church in Lynchburg, according to the organization. They could also help Trump in Iowa, which hosts the first nomination voting of the election on Feb. 1.
…Trump, a Presbyterian, largely shies away from discussing his faith on the campaign trail. But he did inject some religious sentiments in an apparent effort to cater to the audience. He said his best-selling book, The Art of the Deal, was “a deep second” to the Bible.
“The Bible blows it away. There’s nothing like it, the Bible,” he said.
He also vowed to defeat the Islamic State and win “the War on Christmas.” “If I’m president, you’re going to see ‘Merry Christmas’ in department stores, believe me,” he said.
Falwell lauded Trump in a lengthy introduction that he offered to neither Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential contender who recently spoke at the university, nor Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who announced his presidential bid here last spring.
Falwell glowingly compared Trump to his father due to their shared propensity for eschewing political correctness.
“Donald Trump is a breath of fresh air,” Falwell said, before saying he believed “the American public is finally ready to elect a candidate who is not a career politician but rather who has succeeded in real life.”