Republican front runner for presidential nomination Donald Trump considers the Bible as the only book in the history of mankind that is better than the Art of the Deal, a book he authored.
But on Tuesday, his attempt to quote from the Bible to students at the Liberty University in Virginia showed he was not on familiar territory. Mr Trump said “two Corinthians” whereas the book has to be referred to as ‘second Corinthians.’ “Two Corinthians, 3:17, that’s the whole ballgame! Where the spirit of the Lord — right? Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, and here there is Liberty College — er, Liberty University!” Mr Trump said. “Two Corinthians walk into a bar..” a twitter response said.
That, however, did not stop the students from cheering him, as Mr Trump went on to elaborate on his plans to protect Christianity and “make America great again.” “If you look what’s going on throughout the world … Christianity, it’s under siege,” Mr Trump declared. “We’re going to protect Christianity,” he said, adding that he did not care for political correctness and went on with his all too familiar positions on further expansion of gun rights, restricting Muslims entering the U.S etc.
Though he retains overall lead in the race, Mr Trump is trying hard to increase his support among evangelicals who support his closest rival Ted Cruz in large numbers. Mr Trump has in the latest polls overtaken Mr Cruz among evangelicals too, but his appearance at the Liberty University was also an effort to go further.
The university, founded by television evangelist Jerry Falwell in 1971, with the motto “training champions for Christ,” is considered a mandatory stop for conservative candidates, to reinforce their Christian credentials. Now headed by his son Jerry Falwell Jr, the university has 14000 residential students. In a controversial move, Mr Falwell Jr recently exhorted his students to take gun training – offered free by the university – and carry weapons all the time. “If more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them…. Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here,” he said adding that he himself carried a gun all the time.
In an unusual move, Senator Bernie Sanders addressed the students at the university last year, the first Democratic candidate to do so. Though the university’s declared position is that it does not endorse candidates, it was different for Trump. “In my opinion, Donald Trump lives a life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught…” Falwell Jr said.