Michael Farris is the currently the chancellor of Patrick Henry College, but he once worked hand-in-hand with Jerry Falwell Sr. to establish the most influential evangelical political movement of the last 50 years.
Farris was shocked and saddened when he recently learned that Falwell’s son (and the current Chancellor of Liberty University), Jerry Falwell, Jr. had praised GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump in a speech at Liberty University. In fact, he was so upset by Falwell Jr.’s effusive praise of Trump that he delivered a scathing condemnation of him on Facebook.
Falwell Junior & Donald Trump
I cannot tell you how sad I am about the actions of Jerry Falwell, Jr. in his introduction of Donald Trump at Liberty University on Monday morning. It was Trump’s second appearance at Liberty. He was given an honorary doctorate in the first appearance in which Falwell, Jr. heaped lavish praise on Trump for being like his father and following the principles of the Founding Fathers.
Today’s speech by Falwell, Jr. was even worse. Not only did he compare Trump to his own father, he had the audacity to compare Trump to Jesus. After all, Jesus was villified for his unpopular opinions and that makes Trump a man a lot like Jesus–according to Falwell, Jr.
When I ran for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 1993, I took a lot of heat for being a friend of Jerry Falwell.
I do not claim that I know Jerry Senior better than his own son. But, I do claim to know and speak for the movement that he inspired.
Trump made history by opening the first strip club in a casino in New Jersey. Jerry Sr made history by inspiring millions of Christians to engage in civic life–including battling porn not putting on pornographic stage shows.
Trump has big visions. Falwell, Sr. had big vision. But Jerry’s vision was built by inspiring people to believe that Liberty would be faithful to the vision of Christ. Giving Trump an honorary doctorate in the past was unwise, but comparing him to Jesus was as close to heresy as I ever wish to witness.
Jerry Falwell, Senior taught and we believed that character matters and candidates should share our worldview–not our vision of financial success.
The movement would have been still-born had Jerry Senior ever stood on a stage and endorsed a man who is not prolife, who mocks God by saying he has nothing to be forgiven for, and who has had the audacity to say on stage that he has given to candidates of all parties because it is necessary for business.
That is not a man of principle. That is a man who games the system for profit.
I cannot say what Jerry, Senior would say today. But I can speak for the crowd at that first meeting in 1980.
Shame on you, Jerry Falwell, Junior for elevating success in business over the principles of right and wrong that flow from giving priority to the Word of God over the priority of a balance sheet. I am deeply saddened.
Farris crafted this response days before Jerry Falwell, Jr. went even further and endorsed Trump for President. I can only imagine how much more upset he must be now!
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