Tag Archives: Liberty University

VP ignores hypocrisy in his commencement speech

Vice President Mike Pence told graduating students at Liberty University this weekend that they will be “shunned” and “ridiculed” because of their Christian faith.

He said his wife, Karen, has been subject to such bad behavior because she hooked up with an evangelical-based educational institution.

“Some of the loudest voices for tolerance today have little tolerance for traditional Christian beliefs,” Pence told the Liberty U grads, calling himself “a brother in Christ.” “As you go about your daily life, be ready.”

For those who ridicule others merely because of their faith, yes, that is wrong, hateful, hurtful and not in keeping with any great religious faith of which I am aware.

However, the VP might be missing a critical element in the criticism that comes toward those who proclaim their Christian faith. It is the hypocrisy associated with Christian leaders who talk a good game about faith, but who continue to stand with a president whose own life and his brief career in public service have been testaments to practically everything counter to what Jesus teaches the world.

I would put the vice president in that category.

I don’t doubt Pence’s faith. I have serious doubt about Donald Trump’s proclamations of faith. I cannot wrap my noggin around the idea that just because the president says he’s a believer that he actually is one.

His entire life prior to becoming a politician has been focused exclusively on one element: enriching himself. Yet there is the vice president standing with him as he panders openly to evangelicals who comprise the political base that keeps buttressing his support.

Scripture instructs us to be truthful. Has the president followed the commandment that we “must not testify falsely against your neighbor”?

It’s the hypocrisy, Mr. Vice President, that puts evangelicals too often in a position to be “shunned” and “ridiculed,” even if they aren’t deserving of either.

Extend your term, Mr. President? Are you f***ing nuts?

I don’t know whether to laugh, scream, pull my hair out by the roots or jump onto a fire ant mound.

Donald John “Stable Genius” Trump has just retweeted something that on its face is beyond the unbelievable but is something that one can totally expect from the goofball who happens to be president of the United States of America.

He believes his term as president should be “extended” by two years. Why? Because, in Trump’s own words, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russian attack on our election in 2016 has “stollen” two years of Trump’s presidency.

Can you believe this man would make the moronic suggestion?

Yeah, me too.

The U.S. Constitution — the document with which Trump has no familiarity — limits the president to two elected terms that shall last no longer than eight years.

So this clown wants to extend his term by two years? To a six-year term? Is this guy out of his ever-lovin’ mind? No need to answer that.

The idea comes initially from the “Rev.” Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University and an unabashed admirer of the president. I use the term “Rev.” guardedly because I do not consider Falwell to any more a man of God than his late father.

The very idea that Jerry Jr. would pitch such a ridiculous notion is preposterous on its face. It’s not so weird that Trump would latch onto it, given that I believe he is hurtling out of control.

I think I might start looking at any moment for that fire ant mound.

Falwell Jr. channels his late father

Jerry Falwell Jr. is showing that the proverbial nut doesn’t fall far from the ol’ tree.

The president of Liberty University is sounding a lot like his late father in terms of despicable political rhetoric.

Jerry Falwell Sr., the one-time televangelist, once took part in the production of a film called “The Clinton Chronicles” that alleged that Bill and Hillary Clinton took part in a series of criminal acts, including harassment of women, shady real estate deals, protecting a drug smuggling ring and — get a load of this — murdering drug smuggling witnesses and covering up the cause of death of a close aide and friend of theirs, Vincent Foster. How Christ-like, yes?

Now comes the son to say that evangelical Christians who opposed Donald John Trump “might be immoral.” A Washington Post interviewer questioned Falwell about whether evangelicals should expect a higher standard of personal behavior from the president, given Trump’s admitted philandering and groping of women to whom he wasn’t married.

“It may be immoral for them not to support (Trump) because he’s got African American employment to record highs, Hispanic employment to record highs,” Falwell said.

I suspect that wasn’t the crux of the question, which I gathered sought to focus more on the president’s behavior.

Falwell, therefore, is justifying Trump’s hideous behavior on the basis of matters having nothing whatsoever to do with what the president has admitted to doing.

I don’t get it.

The Post interviewer, reporter Joe Helm, asked Falwell if there is anything Trump could do that would lose his support. His answer: “No.” I know. It’s simply shocking to hear such a thing.

Well, there you go. Imagine for one moment whether Barack Obama had done anything of the nature that Trump has done. What do you suppose would be Jerry Falwell Jr.’s response to that?

I would bet real American money Falwell wouldn’t be so forgiving.

Evangelicals’ support of Trump: as perplexing as ever

An article that was published slightly more than a year ago remains relevant today.

It comes from Esquire magazine. The noted documentary filmmaker Ken Burns asks: What is it about Donald Trump that reminds evangelical voters of Jesus Christ?

Burns was troubled a year ago over why evangelical Christian voters glommed onto Trump’s candidacy. I remain puzzled in the extreme as to why they remain loyal to this guy a year later, and six months into his presidency.

Burns said, for example: “The Republican Party has been extraordinarily successful at getting many groups of people to vote against their self-interest. Evangelicals are voting for Donald Trump. What part of Donald Trump reminds you of Jesus Christ? Trump lusts after his own daughter on national radio, talks about women’s bodies and breasts in such a disparaging way, and mocks them. How is this in any way Christian? When you make the ‘other’ the enemy, how is that Christian?”

Check out the Esquire link.

Burns noted a year ago that Trump once lusted after his own daughter, Ivanka. He carried on highly publicized extramarital affairs on his first two wives. Of course, we have that infamous “Access Hollywood” video in which Trump is overheard boasting about how he grabbed women by their genitals.

He routinely denigrates women and there is zero evidence anywhere in his professional or personal history of any commitment to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

But he remains on evangelicals’ A-list. He’s their guy. Their “dream come true,” in the words of Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr.

Someone has to explain it to me. I’m all eyes and ears.

Trump and evangelicals: strangest union of all

Donald J. Trump has just selected Jerry Falwell Jr. to lead a task force aimed at overhauling public education policy.

The president of the United States has linked arms with the head of a leading faith-based university; Falwell also is the son of the late televangelist who used his pulpit to attack President and Mrs. Bill Clinton throughout the president’s two terms in office.

This appointment brings to mind a curiosity I’ve harbored ever since Trump entered political life, which is when he announced his candidacy for president in June 2015.

Falwell joins Trump team

My question of the moment is this: How does this man, Trump, continue to win the support of many within the Christian evangelical movement?

Falwell Jr. has called Trump a “dream come true” for evangelicals. He just cannot say enough gushy things about the president, who delivered his first commencement speech at Liberty University, the school that Falwell’s father founded.

If you think about it, though, the relationship strains credulity to the max.

Trump has not been known as a major contributor to religious causes; he hasn’t been associated with faith-based charities; his whole life has been filled with glitz and glamor, chiefly through his association with and ownership of beauty pageants; he is married to his third wife and has boasted publicly about his infidelity involving his first two marriages; Trump also has boasted about how he can grab women by the p**** because his celebrity status allows him to do it.

But he’s tough on Muslims, vows to destroy the Islamic State, wants to impose a travel ban on refugees coming here from Muslim-majority nations. Maybe that’s why Falwell and many within the evangelical community are smitten by the president.

I concede that political alliances can take form among groups or individuals one might not imagine banding together. This one, though, baffles me greatly.

The president’s history is full of episodes that would seem to send devoutly religious voters scurrying for someone more, um, to their liking.

Go figure. I cannot fathom it.

Trump speech venue laced with irony

One word came to mind when I heard over the weekend that Donald J. Trump would deliver a commencement speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.: ironic.

There was so much to confound us about the 2016 presidential election that I am hesitant to rank the most puzzling element that arose from it.

I’ll place one development near the top: the support Trump earned from the evangelical community. The president’s Liberty University speech is a continuation of that relationship.

One line has gotten the most attention. It’s when the president said Americans “don’t worship government, they worship God.” Gee, do you think?

Why the ironic view of this venue?

Liberty U. was founded by the late Jerry Falwell, a highly political preacher. Falwell was a sworn enemy of former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary. He once produced a hideous video that purported that the Clintons were complicit in the death of their dear friend Vincent Foster, who committed suicide not long after Bill Clinton became president. That’s not a Godly thing to do, you know?

Liberty is a religious-based university of some renown. Its curriculum espouses conservative values. Biblical studies are required for graduation. All of that is common at faith-based institutions.

Why, though, the embrace of Donald Trump? I’ve never perceived Trump’s life to be necessarily informed by a devotion to the holy word, to the Gospels, to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Quite the contrary, my perception of Trump — and I believe the perception of millions of other Americans — is that he has placed great value on material wealth, on personal enrichment, on self-aggrandizement; he’s also boasted publicly about his boorish behavior and he has routinely denigrated women.

Does Scripture lift all of that up, to be something to which we should aspire? It’s not in the Bible I have read for my entire life.

So there he was, telling the students at Liberty U. about the virtues of swimming against the tide, telling them to be unafraid of criticism. They cheered, clapped and hollered.

Great!

Liberty U. is now run by Falwell’s son, Jerry Jr., who recently referred to Trump as evangelicals’ “dream president.” The younger Falwell must have turned his TV off during the campaign when word leaked out about Trump’s admitting that he has grabbed women by their genital area, that he has forced himself on them because he’s a “celebrity” and a “star.”

Jerry Jr. also must have turned away at the news of Trump’s two divorces and his acknowledged marital infidelity as it regarded his first two wives.

This clown is a dream come true?

Go figure, folks.

‘2 Corinthians’ gaffe lingers

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The gaffe that Donald J. Trump committed at Lynchburg University just won’t go away.

Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump’s chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination, took a poke at Trump over the verbal blunder.

The Hill reports:

“Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz joked Monday about rival Donald Trump’s flub of a Bible verse.
“While on the campaign trail in Iowa, Cruz began referencing the biblical verse 2 Chronicles 7:14 (‘Second Chronicles’) before he was interrupted by someone in the crowd at the town hall who joked he meant ‘Two Chronicles.’
“Cruz was making light of Trump’s gaffe during a speech at Liberty University last week where he referenced ‘2 Corinthians’ instead of ‘Second Corinthians,’ as it’s commonly known.
“Trump later blamed evangelical activist Tony Perkins for the gaffe, saying ‘he actually wrote out the 2’ for his speech and adding that people in other places of the world ‘say 2.'”
And to think that President Barack Obama’s critics keep criticizing him for his expert use of the TelePrompter.

DeLay’s the latest GOPer to skewer Trump

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I am no fan of former U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom “The Hammer” DeLay . . . but you knew that already.

However, the fiery Texan has written an essay that conservatives such as himself should take to heart.

Take a look.

DeLay questions the Republican presidential campaign frontrunner’s commitment to Christian principles. He said the next president ought to be a conservative who bases his political beliefs on Scripture.

DeLay also takes a shot at what he calls Trump’s “clumsy” pandering to evangelicals at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., when he cited “Two Corinthians,” apparently not knowing that the common reference to that New Testament book is “Second Corinthians.”

He then wonders aloud just how a President Trump — my fingers still tremble when I write those two words — would make sure that retail outlets instruct their staffers to wish customers “Merry Christmas” during the holiday season. How would he do that? DeLay wondered. “By executive order?”

DeLay is just the latest political conservative to reveal what many of us on the other side of the fence have believed for a very long time, which is that Trump is a phony.

In this crazy, goofy and bizarre political environment, though, Trump’s brand of phoniness is more appealing to his true believers than the so-called phony rhetoric coming from “establishment politicians.”

 

 

We’re all sinners . . . and need forgiveness

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Donald Trump’s stumbling over the name of a New Testament book Monday seems to punctuate something many of us believed already.

The candidate’s bald-face pandering to a certain Republican Party voting bloc is unseemly on its face.

Trump stood before a “record crowd” at Liberty University and proclaimed the virtues of “Two Corinthians.”

OK, I am not a biblical scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know the name of the book that contains the Apostle Paul’s “second letter” to the people of Corinth. Moreover, I’ve read “Second Corinthians” many times over the years.

Trump, though, has said something else that reveals the pandering element of his pitch to Christian voters. It is that he’s never sought forgiveness because “I don’t need it.”

Trump  didn’t say it overtly, but statements such as that suggest he believes he is without sin. Now, the Bible I’ve read my entire life tells me that we’re all sinners. Every single human being who’s ever been born needs forgiveness for his or her sins.

I don’t intend to pick apart every single thing Trump said at Liberty University, nor do I intend to question Trump’s personal faith journey. Maybe it’s the real thing. Then again . . . well, I just don’t know.

I do recognize pandering when I see and hear it.

Look, I know that politicians pander. It’s part of their DNA. They have to pander to persuade voters that they — the politician — understands them.

Some politicians do it better than others. Trump has said all along he’s not a “career politician.” His performance at Liberty University certainly proves the point — and not necessarily in a way that should make the candidate proud.

Check this out.

 

More guns to ‘end those Muslims’ … yeah, that’s it

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Jerry Falwell Jr. sounds a good bit like the late Jerry Falwell Sr.

The elder Falwell founded Liberty University, a leading Christian-based institution of higher learning. His son now runs it.

Falwell Sr. once produced a video that alleged Bill and Hillary Clinton were involved in the murder of their close friend Vincent Foster. You remember “The Clinton Chronicles.”

Falwell Jr. now says, and this takes my breath away, that more students on the Liberty U. campus in Lynchburg, Va., should be carrying firearms so they could “end those Muslims before they walked in.”

All … right.

Did he really mean that? Does he really mean that “more good people” should be carrying weapons to kill Muslims?

Jerry Jr. says he didn’t mean that. He says he was referring to radical Islamic terrorists. OK, but he didn’t say that. According to the Washington Post: “I just wanted to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to get your permit. We offer a free course,” he said. “Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here.”

By “they,” does he mean Muslims, or just those who commit acts of terror?

It’s not entirely clear to me.

Falwell’s language defies understanding.

I get that he’s angry and frightened over what has just occurred in San Bernardino. But I have trouble grasping that a leader of a prominent Christian university would actually use such inflammatory language to whip up a crowd in the manner that he reportedly did in his speech at Liberty U.

Virginia’s governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, said this in a statement: “My administration is committed to making Virginia an open and welcoming Commonwealth, while also ensuring the safety of all of our citizens. Mr. Falwell’s rash and repugnant comments detract from both of those crucial goals. Those of us in leadership positions, whether in government or education, must take care to remember the tremendous harm that can result from reckless words.”

Yes, I know that Falwell’s message will resonate with many other Americans.

Such a message, however, simply saddens me at a time when millions of Americans are filled with overwhelming sadness over our nation’s latest mass-shooting tragedy.