Trump promises to protect Christianity despite Bible fumble

By Ann Marie Awad  |  Updated Jan. 19, 2016 at 7:52 AM
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LYNCHBURG, Va., Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Speaking at the Evangelical Liberty University, Donald Trump got a laugh when he tried to quote scripture.

The real estate mogul was introduced by Jerry Falwell Jr., son of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, at an appearance before students Monday afternoon. Trump kicked off his remarks with a passage from Corinthians.

"Two Corinthians, 3:17, that's the whole ballgame," he said, meaning to say "second Corinthians." Laughs rose from the crowd. The passage he ultimately quoted was: "Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

The slip-up was not the only part of Trump's speech that didn't sit well with students. The Republican front-runner used the word "hell" more than once in his speech, which is prohibited by the school's conservative code of conduct, known as "The Liberty Way."

CNN reported students reacted negatively on the anonymous social network Yik Yak.

One such comment: "Mr. Trump, I'm afraid you need to put a quarter in the swear jar."

Trump then went on to praise the university as an example of Christian unity. He vowed to protect Christianity, which he said was "under siege," saying that the Islamic State terror group was beheading Christians in Syria.

Trump was raised Presbyterian and has often fumbled in his attempts to appeal to Christian and Evangelical voters. He declined to discuss his favorite Bible verse in August, after claiming the Bible was his all-time favorite book. He later tried to recite a verse that didn't actually occur in the bible. He has also said he never asks God for forgiveness, and when asked which book of the Bible was his favorite, he said he like the Old and New Testament equally.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, trounces Trump among Evangelicals, and according to RealClear Politics, he is less than 1 percentage point behind Trump in Iowa. He boasts three times the Evangelical support of Trump in Iowa.

Religion News Service reported Cruz was the first politician to announce a run for the White House at Liberty University in March. Monday's appearance makes Trump the fourth presidential candidate to speak at the school during this election cycle. Cruz, as well as Dr. Ben Carson, and Democratic contender Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., have all spoken at Liberty.

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