Faith 2016 News

After lewd tape release, Ralph Reed lays out evangelical case for Trump

Ralph Reed speaks at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., on March 7, 2014. Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr Commons

(RNS) Faith & Freedom Coalition founder and chairman Ralph Reed laid out the evangelical case for Donald Trump on Monday (Oct. 10) at Liberty University’s Convocation, North America’s largest weekly gathering of Christian students.

That came after the weekend release of a 2005 recording of the Republican presidential candidate making lewd remarks about women, as well as a contentious second presidential debate against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

“I think retreating to the stained-glass ghetto from whence we came and refusing to muddy our boots with the mud and mire of politics is simply not an option for a follower of Christ,” Reed said.

RELATED: Will lewd Trump tape about groping be tipping point with conservative Christians?

In a question-and-answer session after Reed’s speech, both he and Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr. condemned Trump’s crude remarks while praising his debate performance, which Reed described as “the biggest night of Donald Trump’s career, political or otherwise.”

“Five years from now when we’re sitting here and we see all the Constitution being ripped apart by justices (appointed by Clinton), nobody is going to remember what horrible things Donald Trump said over a decade ago,” Falwell said.

Reed also had called Trump’s remarks “offensive and inappropriate” in his speech before pivoting to Clinton’s deleted emails and private server, referencing Luke 16:10: “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” If Clinton could not be trusted with little as secretary of state, he reasoned, how could she be trusted with much as president?

He described American Christians as “dual citizens” of both the kingdom of heaven and the United States, “similar in a spiritual sense” to Jews who hold passports for both the countries in which they live and Israel. And he described the responsibilities that come with citizenship in each — including paying taxes, “but only what we owe,” he said, pausing to explain the joke.

In this election, that also includes voting for a candidate with a chance to win the election, Reed said, urging students not to abstain from voting or write in a candidate.

And there are differences between the two major-party candidates on the issues he said “matter most to the Christian community.”

He made clear he believed Christians should side with the Republican Party on those issues. He pointed to abortion as the “defining moral issue of our time,” saying Trump is “running on the most pro-life platform in the history of the Republican Party” while Clinton has called for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment. He also noted Trump’s pledges to appoint conservative Supreme Court judges and revisit the Iran nuclear deal.

“What will happen to America, should it perish, is what happened to Rome, which is a moral and spiritual and a cultural death from within that starts at the heart and soul of a country,” Reed said.

RELATED: 7 conservative Christians who are not supporting Trump

Some following Convocation online, such as popular Christian author Rachel Held Evans, found Reed’s comments on morality “unbelievable,” given Trump’s remarks.

“Once again, fundamentalism asks women to absorb abuse, denigration, & objectification,” Evans tweeted. “This is not of Christ. This is of the devil.”

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.


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  • Shorter version of Reed— Power, money, dominion, it gets my hockey hot.

    And Of course, for that requirement to be involved in politics, we are told by super duper Christians on these very pages that they should be in the world, not of the world. Apparently, reed doesn’t read the same bible they do.

    He reeds it instead.

  • You mean the Ralph Reed who took money under the table to promote Indian gambling casino’s while he spoke about the “evils of gambling” to conservative Christians? That Ralph Reed? (Yes, that Ralph Reed.)

  • Have I missed something? It appears that the Trump bid for the presidency of the United States is unravelling before our eyes.

  • Trump may well lose the election. But at least he didn’t lose it during last night’s debate, THAT’s for sure.

    Trump pointed out all of Hillary Clinton’s hypocrisy and scandals for everybody to see, and he ran her from pillar to post, just like she deserves. All of America saw Trump defeat Hillary.

    Again, it may already be too late. Hillary may win next month and then she’ll stick us all into the NEW DARK AGES, because that’s really all she’s able to offer anyway.

    But at least Trump finally taught Hillary some good manners last night. Most refreshing.

    Vote TRUMP !!

  • You mean good manners like following Clinton around and hulking behind her like a creepy hoodlum as she talked to the audience? Or good manners like endlessly and disgustingly sniffling directly into the (fully functional) mic, not once bothering to put it down and quietly blow his nose in between his turns to talk? Or good manners like raising his voice over the moderators and refusing to let them moderate? Or good manners like “teaching Hillary” how to behave like a singularly bad-mannered, unbelievably contemptuous, spectacularly oafish, inexcusably offensive, incorrigibly self-indulgent, irredeemably deplorable man-child throughout the entire debate? What a “most refreshing” example of good manners he sets! Yes, American voters, this is how you’re supposed to behave, because Trump has the best manners ever, really the best, ever, believe me. No-bod-y has better manners than Trump!

  • Reed is certainly not one whom I would take seriously as an advisor on how to cast my vote. However, as I have previously stated, the American people are going to get the president they deserve…mores the pity. This is a no win presidential contest.

  • Anyone who voted for Romney and cares about Mrs Clinton’s emails is a hypocrite. Romney destroyed every record, electronic and paper, upon leaving office in Massachusetts.

    The entire Bush White House used RNC – non government – email servers and destroyed emails.

    At least one of the R Senators attacking Clinton still uses non govt servers for email.

    Do I wish all elected politicians would get their s**t together on cyber security? Yes. Did Mrs Clinton do something outrageous? No.

    Repugs have spent 8 years throwing muck against the wall to find something that sticks. The fact that this issue stuck does not make it a real concern.

  • BTW can we dispense with the pretense that Liberty University is a real college already? The place is a right wingnut finishing school. Grooming the next generation of democracy hating Dominionists.

  • Obviously Christian whiners care, because they want everyone else to vote for the same people they like. But its good that we can dispense with the notion that Christians give a damn about anyone but themselves.

  • Aren’t these guys cultural warriors who are supposedly trying to rid the nation of secularism and replace it with Godliness, integrity, character in leadership and moral order? Wow.

  • I am just sad our religious community so faithfully supports a man who is so blatantly against the diversity in our country . I am also afraid to see so many racists and white supremacists at Trump rallies I thought our country and faith had moved beyond this. I am shocked to see Pepe the Frog (an avatar used by white supremacists) openly displayed in Trump-related internet posting

  • Shorter version of the “evangelical case for trump”:

    The money changers called, and they want their temple back.

  • I guess if you think you own the legal definition of a word, like “marriage”, there’s nothing stopping you from misappropriating other words, like “Christian”.

  • Ralph Reed tries to justify his continued support for a sexual predator. Is it any wonder that more and more young people are rejecting organized religion

  • It is no surprise that the sleazy Ralph Reed, launched into politics by the equally sleazy Pat Robertson, is backing Trump. After all, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Reed’s backing is just one more reason, if one is needed, for intelligent citizens to vote against the Trump/Pence ticket. — Edd Doerr

  • J Dobson, another Christianist fakir, is still all for the orange one too. Those guys have nothing but Greed going for them. As I’ve said before, shamelessness is not a virtue – unless you’re a Christianist.

  • Michael Gerson said it well regarding Trump Evangelical support: “By accepting, or even excusing, Trump’s talk of sexual predation, they are demonstrating a political polarization that runs so deep that even common decency no longer matters. This is what many Democrats already showed in the 1990s by minimizing or excusing a presidential abuse of power for sexual purposes that seems even more odious at two decades removed. Now some evangelical Christians are making a similar case — playing down the importance of integrity, morality and character in leadership.”

    Reed cited Luke 16:10: “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” This also applies to Trump. How many lies just trip off Trump’s tongue one right after the other. He lies about what he said in the past when he is on tape saying what he insists he never said. And Reed thinks what he says now can be trusted?

    Does common decency matter? Does politically supporting someone who makes a game out of the sexual assault of women fit with Christian values? If it is trade off, evidently Reed is willing to trade off sexual assault of women for something he values more.

  • Catholics and Christians listen: The Democratic Party uses only one method in dealing with all aspects of our Country and that is Divide and Conquer. They have already tried in numerous States to remove tax deduction on any money sent to churches. This is the divide. Once they obtain this the church donations will begin to disappear and churches will not be able to care for their parishioners but the GOVERNMENT will then say WE WILL DO IT. This is the conquer. This has another name – MONARCHY. Whether they care for you or do not care for you depends upon your vote which WILL be made public. Stop being so idiotic in dealing with these incredibly stupid politicians because this system ALWAYS runs out of funds. The GOP puts it in YOUR hands.

  • Reed tries to convince Christians flock to vote for the least Christ-like candidate ever to run for president. That would be a tough con even for Elmer Gantry. Reed is to Christianity what ISIS is to Islam.

  • I agree, and I dislike Hillary. She is not much different from a lot other dissembling, disingenuous politicians. He is a truly wicked person.

  • That’s not fair. They also like power, dominion, self righteousness, and being able to ignore a forest of trees in their own eye. It’s a super-power like having x-ray vision, but you don’t get to see naked women.
    which is a sin, of course..

  • “The Democratic Party uses only one method in dealing with all aspects of our Country and that is Divide and Conquer.”
    — Sample lesson from Projection 101. Learn more at Trump U! (Bring $$$$$.)

  • Well, since one or the other of us is a supper duper Christian– I forget which– we should just forgive each other.
    Wow! Now we both get into heaven!

  • “Once again, fundamentalism asks women to absorb abuse, denigration, & objectification,” Evans tweeted. “This is not of Christ. This is of the devil”


  • Simply reading the above article is enough to refute your statement, Edd. You’re not even equipped to go against Reed’s explanation there.

  • Yeah, tell that to the FBI already.

    (And while you’re at it, ALSO tell it to Gennifer, Paula, Juanita, Monica, and Kathleen as well, plus all the women who are still too scared to snitch to the media.)

    Yep, you gotta love that “angel” Hillary! She’s as pure as the yellow white snow!!

  • Don’t like Liberty University? Then don’t enroll there.

    But they ARE a real university, and a popular one too.

    And there ain’t a thing you can do about it. Heh!

  • I agree . . . because, as Ben in Oakland said, “They give Christianity a bad name,” which is a good thing because it helps increase the number of “nones.”

  • Since the release of the WikiLeaks yesterday and the referral to Catholics and Christians have you began to see my comment yesterday on Democratic ‘Divide and Conquer’?

  • Imagine the reaction if a democrat had said or done 1/20th of the things Trump has been given a pass on. Approving of violence by followers, threatening to purge the military, admitting to sexual assaults, hinting that a political opponent should be assassinated, defrauding small businesses, defrauding the poor and elderly, surrounding himself with syncopaths and yes men, praising violent dictators as strong leaders, calling on a foreign power to commit espionage in the US, etc. etc.

    If it weren’t for double standards they’d have no standards at all.

  • Having followed Reed’s career for many years, my assessment is right on target. Where have you been, Floyd?

  • It’s really more of an honest description than insult. She didn’t say Trump Trash. But given your cretinous attitude, it appears fitting. Thanks for that one. 🙂

  • Mr Trump and his Religious Right apologists are redefining evangelicalism.
    The war on Christianity is being led by “Christians.”

  • Yeah more Christians who will defend the candidacy of a sexual predator. Remember, it’s harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.

  • The question in this case is “What would Jesus do ?”

    I dare say he would not sanction or sanctify the life and behavior of Donald Trump as a shining example of Christian values.

    Nor would he suggest that Christians vote for him…

    What would Jesus do? He would say follow me…

  • I think that one of the good things that might come from this election is that these evangelical leaders like Reed, Falwell Jr., Robertson will be exposed as sordid hypocrites. It’s good that the students at Liberty University are doing the right thing, and questioning these evangelical leaders support of Trump.