Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University, endorsed Donald Trump on January 26, 2016. Since then, Falwell has continued to voice his support of the candidate, even as allegations Trump sexually assaulted multiple women began to emerge.
On Wednesday, Falwell, speaking on CNN, said that he would continue to support Trump for president, even if the allegations against him turned out to be true:
Jerry Falwell Jr. says Trump is a "changed man," adding, "We're not electing a pastor. We're electing a president." https://t.co/ESJfHSajg4— CNN (@CNN) October 13, 2016
This, for some Liberty University students, was the last straw. A coalition of students dubbing themselves "Liberty University Against Trump" released a statement distancing themselves from Falwell's endorsement and from Trump's candidacy.
The statement in full:
In the months since Jerry Falwell Jr. endorsed him, Donald Trump has been inexorably associated with Liberty University. We are Liberty students who are disappointed with President Falwell’s endorsement and are tired of being associated with one of the worst presidential candidates in American history. Donald Trump does not represent our values and we want nothing to do with him.
A majority of Liberty students, faculty, and staff feel as we do. Donald Trump received a pitiful 90 votes from Liberty students in Virginia’s primary election, a colossal rejection of his campaign. Nevertheless, President Falwell eagerly uses his national platform to advocate for Donald Trump. While he occasionally clarifies that supporting Trump is not the official position of Liberty University, he knows it is his title of president of the largest Christian university in the world that gives him political credentials.
Associating any politician with Christianity is damaging to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But Donald Trump is not just any politician. He has made his name by maligning others and bragging about his sins. Not only is Donald Trump a bad candidate for president, he is actively promoting the very things that we as Christians ought to oppose.
A recently uncovered tape revealed his comments bragging about sexually assaulting women. Any faculty or staff member at Liberty would be terminated for such comments, and yet when Donald Trump makes them, President Falwell rushes eagerly to his defense – taking the name “Liberty University” with him. “We’re all sinners,” Falwell told the media, as if sexual assault is a shoulder-shrugging issue rather than an atrocity which plagues college campuses across America, including our own.
It is not enough to criticize these kinds of comments. We must make clear to the world that while everyone is a sinner and everyone can be forgiven, a man who constantly and proudly speaks evil does not deserve our support for the nation’s highest office.
Jesus tells a story in the Bible about a man who tries to remove a speck of dust from his brother’s eye, while he has a log stuck in his own. “You hypocrite,” Jesus says, “first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
We Liberty students are often told to support Donald Trump because the other leading candidate is a bad option. Perhaps this is true. But the only candidate who is directly associated with Liberty University is Donald Trump.
Because our president has led the world to believe that Liberty University supports Donald Trump, we students must take it upon ourselves to make clear that Donald Trump is absolutely opposed to what we believe, and does not have our support.
We are not proclaiming our opposition to Donald Trump out of bitterness, but out of a desire to regain the integrity of our school. While our president Jerry Falwell Jr. tours the country championing the log in his eye, we want the world to know how many students oppose him. We don’t want to champion Donald Trump; we want only to be champions for Christ.