I was willing to give Jerry Falwell, Jr. the benefit of the doubt when he and his wife had their photo taken with Donald Trump standing in front of a Playboy cover. Everyone makes mistakes, and who would actually take the time to notice one framed magazine cover in Trump’s grotto of narcissism?
All Falwell needed to do was respond “Ha ha, funny,” or “Oops,” or “I had no idea it was behind us” and put the whole thing to bed. That would be the honest and humble answer expected of the president of a Christian university.
But the Trump has definitely rubbed off on Falwell, who instead decided to go all-in for his new master.
So everyone who noticed the Playboy cover is now a hypocrite? Now, for pointing out the irony and disappointment of a man whose father sued Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler, standing in front of a nudie magazine cover bearing Trump’s image, we all deserve to be grouped with Pharisees that Jesus condemned as a pit of vipers?
This brought strong reactions on Twitter from people who realize that Trump delights in his unrepentant heart and his ability to charm religious leaders. To which Falwell resorted to the argument of last resort by those caught in compromise.
To put the scripture Falwell quoted into context, here’s the whole thing from Matthew 7:1-6.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
Jesus didn’t say Christians can’t ever remove the speck from a brother’s eye, just that we shouldn’t do so before examining ourselves, and that the same type and degree of judgment we use on ourselves and our brothers, God will use on us. Amen! Hallelujah! I want God to examine me like Psalm 26:2. Apparently, Falwell does not want this for himself, or for Trump.
And giving Trump his endorsement as the leader of the free world is certainly giving what is holy to the dogs, or casting pearls before swine. The analogy holds, since Trump feels he has no need for repentance. He believes he’s without sin, and the Bible calls him a liar. But Falwell said “judge not.”
Trump calls himself a Christian, but lives like a heathen. The Bible is clear on this in 1 Corinthians 5:9-11. If Trump were an atheist, Falwell would be on better ground.
Falwell also put politics above faith defending his action, somehow forgetting that he endorsed Trump before other Christian candidates (Ted Cruz, for instance) left the race.
Really? We should suspend judgment of a person because they are running for office? I don’t think that’s what Jesus meant. He was speaking on paying taxes to an emperor, not selecting a political leader.
And finally, Trump is not Hillary. As Erick wrote, neither is Hitler. By all the faulty logic and misapplication of scripture of which Falwell is guilty in his Twitter exchanges, he could easily defend any lying despot.
Let’s be truthful here. Jerry Falwell, Jr. is enamored with Donald Trump. He loves the guy and will personally lay down any deeply-held belief, twist any scripture, and in general defend Trump in any way he can. Falwell has drunk the Kool Aid.