I do not run in those circles. I had no idea there was a Falwell Jr. But I remember his father from the 80s.
And I do know about Liberty University. It was written up as the place to go for conservatives.
I naively assumed that its leadership, however much I disagree with their theology, was more careful with their words.
Maybe I am wrong.
I am not critiquing Falwell Jr. for endorsing Trump (although there are more conservative men to vote for). I am not critiquing those inclined to vote for Trump (I greatly appreciate their frustrations).
I am critiquing Falwell’s poor choice of words:
“In my opinion, Donald Trump lives a life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught in the great commandment.”
Trump lives a life of love? Helping others? Just as Jesus taught?
Did I miss something these last seven months?
Maybe Falwell misspoke? Maybe he was thinking of a Trump doppelganger? Someone who fooled Falwell. Someone no one else recognizes.
Think of a person in your life who you would describe as helpful and loving. Is your first thought of a braggart? Someone with enough hot air to fill the Hindenburg?
Perhaps you think of a person to whom mudslinging is second nature? Calling his chief Republican rival a liar and nasty is a funny way to show love.
Perhaps Falwell was commenting on Trump’s giving to charities. That is hardly common knowledge. And he certainly could not have been referring to Trump’s track record with eminent domain.
The character of a man is usually the first thing that comes to one’s mind. So, is Trump known for his charities or for his mouth?
I have not even brought up his other past problems. After all, out of charity, I believe that, maybe, he has changed. But there is so little history to back it up, it makes no sense for Falwell to makes such unqualified claims.
His endorsement sounds too much like the bravado of Trump: over-the-top rhetoric that has little substance.
It harkens too much of American commercialism: every claim must be fantastic to garner anyone’s attention.
And this is a poor way to communicate, especially for leaders of the Christian church. It is less than faithful to the Ninth Commandment. Christian leaders should not be in the habit of hyperbole when a simple endorsement would do.
Especially when the hyperbole is based upon a highly doubtful premise.
Or perhaps it represents Falwell’s lack of research. Maybe it is not an exaggerated claim but rather an uninformed claim.
That is still a problem. Church leadership should know what they are talking about before speaking out publicly.
On both counts, Falwell erred.
But these errs are common. From endorsing homeschooling as the be-all to promoting the latest Evangelical book as “revolutionary,” the church has too often put up with fast and loose talk.
Is Trump the new standard for what constitutes love in Christian circles? If so, then Falwell should be voting for Cruz, because compared to the new standard, he’s a saint.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.