Evangelical leader slams Trump's Liberty University appearance

By Ann Marie Awad  |  Jan. 19, 2016 at 4:08 PM
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NASHVILLE, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- An evangelical leader slammed Donald Trump's appearance at Liberty University, accusing evangelicals of "trading in the gospel of Jesus Christ for political power."

Russell Moore, president of the ethics and religious liberty commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, tweeted his displeasure during Trump's speech Monday, calling it "absolutely unbelievable."

"Politics driving the gospel rather than the other way around is the third temptation of Christ," Moore tweeted. "He overcame it. Will we?"

Moore also appeared on CNN later Monday to clarify his remarks, saying he did not blame Liberty for inviting Trump to speak, but instead criticized the university for failing to hold Trump to a higher moral standard.

"This is someone who, as recently as yesterday, said that he has nothing to seek forgiveness for, despite the fact that you have someone who has broken up two households, by his own admission, with scandalous results," Moore said. "Someone who has been involved with the casino gambling industry for all of his life, preying upon poor people and breaking up families with that."

Moore also spoke with Yahoo! Politics Monday.

"Portraying this lost soul as a brother in Christ is not only doing wrong to Trump himself, it preaches an anti-gospel to all who hear," he said. "The gospel is about repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, not about excusing sin and injustice for the sake of political power."

Moore was an early critic of evangelical support for Trump, accusing fellow believers of betraying their faith by supporting the real-estate mogul for the GOP nomination for president.

"We should not demand to see the long-form certificate for Mr. Trump's second birth," Moore wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times in September. "We should, though, ask about his personal character and fitness for office."

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