Jerry Falwell Endorses Donald Trump - Atlantic Article (Here)
"Trump is a Presbyterian who mangles attempts at biblical references"
There comes a point when I have to wonder "what in the world is that guy thinking?"
Such is the case with Jerry Falwell,jr's recent foray into politics. When you have to preface your endorsement with the following caveat: "“The talents, abilities, and experience required to lead a nation might not always line up with those needed to run a church or lead a congregation,” then you are already conceding quite a bit.
Yes, on the face of it, leading a church does call for a higher focus than leading a nation. It calls for a sense of personal accountability, not only for the physical welfare, but for the spiritual flourishing of the individuals in the congregation as well as the whole. The writer of Hebrews reminds us that elders will give account to God for the souls that were placed in their care. Running a nation is probably less frightening when you think about it.
But, what Falwell is essentially saying here, is that we cannot hold our Presidential candidate, at least not this one, to the same moral standard that we expect of a church leader. He's not just talking about "making deals" and promoting business... he's saying that we have to cut this man some slack in other areas. We should not require that he exhibit the same kind of sustained track record that a church leader should possess.
Let's review the facts a bit.
Any man who has divorced two wives, had widely publicized affairs during those marriages, and now married to a third, should at least raise doubts about his intention to keep any vows he might take.
He calls himself a protestant Christian, a Presbyterian (of the Norman Vincent Peale) variety. He very graciously, in his mind at least, states that he has had "a very good relationship with the church over the years." He thinks his religion " is a wonderful thing." Now the reason why this comes up is because he is courting the evangelical vote... period. When Paul said that "I become all things to all men so that by any means I may win some" - this is not what he had in mind. If Trump were honest he would simply tell Evangelicals - "Look, I don't take this Bible thing as seriously as you do... but I respect you... and I will reverse the hostility that the current administration has shown to you." If he did that then at least he wouldn't be appearing hypocritical. But as it is, how can the Christian church, and Evangelical leaders, endorse him and thereby encourage those who look to them for guidance to follow their lead?
A few years back Republicans took John Kerry to task for his "flip-flops" on major issues (the war in iraq, tax cuts, medical marrijuana, gay marriage, welfare reform and Nafta). Compared to Donald Trump, Kerry is the rock of Gibraltar. He was a Republican from 1987–99. He then switched to the Reform Party from 1999–2001. From 2001–09 he was a Democrat again, and switched to the Republican Party again from 2009–11. An independent from 2011–12, he returned to the Republican Party where he has remained from 2012–present. (from Wikipedia) This should at least give a person pause. This is a man who follows whatever breeze happens to be blowing at the moment.
All this is to say that I see no grounds here for a major Christian endorsement of this man. If, as private individuals, Christians look at who is out there, the tide of public opinion and the social temper, and decide to vote for him... essentially shaking our heads in disgust as we do so... then, OK. But let's not deceive ourselves. We need to be wise as serpents during this season. We cannot allow ourselves to be anything but cleared eyed about this man even if it comes down to the choice to vote for him rather than either of the two major Democrats that are running.
He is riding a wave of passion and stoking it up for all its worth. Nothing he has said thus far tends to diminish my concern that it will the United States of Trump that he advances during his presidency... and the rest of us, well, perhaps we might get a few crumbs from the table, and that is about it.