News and Commentary

Evangelical Leader Explains Why Christians Should Vote For Trump

In a recent interview with Liberty University’s newspaper, evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. praised Donald Trump as the kind of “citizen legislator” the Founding Fathers imagined playing a major role in politics and said it was time Christians stopped voting for candidates because they seem to “share their views on social issues.”

Falwell and Trump have had a friendship of sorts for years, and while Falwell’s Liberty University has made clear that it does not formally endorse Trump, the evangelical Christian leader has come out strongly for Trump. In his sit-down with the university’s newspaper, Falwell described Trump as precisely the kind of man “our Founding Fathers envisioned.”

“I think he is what our Founding Fathers envisioned — citizen legislators — not career politicians to run this country,” Falwell told the Liberty Champion. “(They were) people who had their own businesses, their own jobs and who would take a break from that for a while to serve their country and then go back to their profession, not make a career out of being a politician on the tax payer payroll. I think Donald Trump fits that definition better than anybody else because he has been extremely successful in the private sector.”

Falwell suggested that many evangelicals like himself were backing Trump because they’d been duped too many times by politicians telling them on the campaign trail that they share their values, only to betray them when they got in office.

“In the past (evangelicals) would vote for somebody who claimed to share their views on social issues, but promises were almost never kept,” he said. “Evangelicals and conservatives were betrayed repeatedly by politicians who had claimed to be conservative socially and fiscally as candidates but went a different direction once they took office. Now I think conservatives have reached a point where they want somebody who has succeeded in the private sector, not just someone who makes the right promises in speeches. Many of them see Donald Trump as the tough guy who will protect and defend
us in perilous times.”

Citing national security, rampant illegal immigration, and the ballooning national debt, Falwell said, “All the other issues will be moot if we don’t save the country.”

As for Trump’s spiritual and moral credentials, Falwell said we were not electing a “pastor-in-chief.”

“It is sad to see Christians attacking other Christians because they don’t support the same candidate or the candidate who they believe is the most righteous,” he said. “God called King David a man after God’s own heart even though he was an adulterer and a murderer. You have to choose the leader that would make the best king or president and not necessarily someone who would be a good pastor. We’re not voting for pastor-in-chief. It means sometimes we have to choose a person who has the qualities to lead and who can protect our country and bring us back to economic vitality, and it might not be the person we call when we need somebody to give us spiritual counsel.”

The Christian leader said Trump’s victories had shaken the establishment to its core, portraying the outsider’s entrance as a political version of Christ cleansing the Temple. “I really believe that what you are seeing happening this week is the establishment is having a seizure. They’re going ballistic because they are scared to death that they’re going to lose power,” he said, adding, “They’re scared to death of Trump because he’s the kind of guy that will walk into Washington, kick over the tables, kick over the chairs, throw the bums out, start over, and do things that a career politician would never do.”

Falwell predicted that once Trump “saved and restored” the country, his presidency could inspire evangelicals to “start voting in traditional patterns again.”​