Out of all the groups backing Donald Trump, you might think that one of the first to abandon the sinking ship following the release of the Access Hollywood tape would have been conservative “Christians.” But, as prominent Republicans line up to denounce Trump and proclaim that he will not get their votes, evangelical leaders are largely standing firm. And after Sunday night’s debate, one of those leaders violated at least one of the Ten Commandments when he said he knew exactly who to blame for exposure of the eleven-year-old recording featuring Trump talking about sexually assaulting women.
Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University, joined WABC’s Rita Cosby on her podcast, where without proof he blamed the Republican establishment for the leak of Trump’s tape. It’s an interesting theory because it’s no secret that many of the movers and shakers of the GOP simply despise Trump. But CNN has already described how the recording came to light, and Republican officials had nothing to do with it. According to what a source at NBC told CNN, it started with Trump’s remarks about Alicia Machado. While Trump’s degrading comments about the former Miss Universe contestant were making the news, an Access Hollywood producer recalled Trump’s conversation with host Billy Bush and dug up the tape. The rest, as they say, is history.
But Falwell thinks that other forces may have had a hand in the revelation. He tells Cosby,
“I think this whole tape, video tape thing was planned, I think it was timed, I think it might have even been a conspiracy among establishment Republicans who have known about it for weeks and who tried to time it to do the maximum damage to Donald Trump.”
Falwell goes on to comment that the things Trump said in the recording were not defensible. But he completely ignores the fact that this wasn’t an isolated incident that took place many years ago. This is part of Trump’s core persona, as he has proved recently by doubling down on his old attack of Machado, his comments about Megyn Kelly, and other examples. And perhaps most importantly Falwell fails to recognize that Trump has never asked for forgiveness for his misbehavior. Christians believe that sins can be forgiven, but only if the sinner atones for them. Sins are not forgiven because someone else grants forgiveness — the sinner must repent.
There’s a major flaw in Falwell’s theory about Republican officials being behind the leak. If they wanted Trump out of the race, they would have released the tape weeks ago. Now most observers note it is too late to make a change. We are four weeks from the election. Ballots have already been printed, and absentee ballots have been mailed in many locations. But all of those facts didn’t stop the reverend from offering his half-baked conspiracy theories, which, even though he says they are his opinion, come pretty close to bearing false witness.
Here’s what Jerry Falwell, Jr. had to say about the whole Trump tape episode:
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