Falwell's Pro-Gun Remarks Praised and Condemned
Jerry Falwell Jr's fervent pro-gun comments to students at Liberty University is getting him loads of both praise and condemnation.
Falwell indicated he was himself carrying a gun at Friday's Liberty convocation as he spoke about the San Bernardino mass shootings by an ISIS-inspired Islamic couple.
"It just blows my mind when I see the president of the United States say that the answer to circumstances like that is more gun control," the Liberty president said. "If some of those people at that community center had had what I've got in my back pocket right now "
Falwell then made a shape of a gun with his right hand as students interrupted him with a wave of applause and cheers. Watch Falwell's address here.
"I've always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them," he continued.
He was again interrupted by claps and cheers.
Finally, he encouraged the students to get their own guns and training in how to use firearms.
"Get your permit. We offer a free course. And let's teach them a lesson if they ever show up here," he said.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton blasted Falwell Sunday on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
"This is the kind of deplorable not only hateful response to a legitimate security issue, but it is giving aid and comfort to ISIS and other radical jihadists," she said.
Anti-gun advocate Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, said Saturday Falwell's remarks "were morally reprehensible."
"While an argument can be made that the Bible and Christian moral tradition allow for use of deadly force under extreme circumstances, killing another human being, under any circumstance, is always regrettable and deeply tragic," Rev. Schenck continued.
"For someone of Dr. Falwell's stature to make light of killing even those intent on doing harm, especially when he is armed himself and ready to kill, violates the biblical mandate for loving our enemies," he said.
"It places Christian workers in Muslim countries at great risk," he added. "Even worse, by irresponsibly conflating terrorists with all Muslims, Dr. Falwell insulted an entire people group that is loved by God and has risked alienating those same people from their Christian neighbors." Read more of Rev. Schenck's remarks here.
Falwell wrote in an email to The Blaze that when he said "end those Muslims" at the convocation, "It was clear I was talking about radical Islamic terrorist Muslims, not all Muslims."
And he told the Washington Post Saturday, "That's the only thing I would clarify. If I had to say what I said again, I'd say exactly the same thing."
In his email to The Blaze he also wrote, "I've never received more support or a more positive response from anything I have ever said in convocation before."
Attendance at the convocation is mandatory for Liberty students and the live feed of the three-times-a-week event has an estimated audience of 95,000 people.
Liberty University is located in Lynchburg, Virginia. Falwell took a hit from Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
McAuliffe said in a statement Saturday that his administration "is committed to making Virginia an open and welcoming commonwealth, while also ensuring the safety of all of our citizens. Mr. Falwell's rash and repugnant comments detract from both of those crucial goals."
"Those of us in leadership positions, whether in government or education, must take care to remember the tremendous harm that can result from reckless words," he said.
Rev. Schenck said Falwell should repent and beg for forgiveness.
"To make the contemptuous remarks he did from his seat as president of the largest Evangelical Christian university in the world, and in front of more than 10,000 of his charges, not to mention on an international video feed, is inexcusable," he said.
But words of support flooded the @JerryJrFalwell Twitter page.
Jordan Stein tweeted, "You're right. Armed citizens save lives. Stay packing."
A user with the Twitter handle @LUStuff added, "We go to the largest Christian university don't y'all think we should be prepared for the worst?!?!"
Cameron Frye wrote, "Forget political correctness! Tell it like it is!"
Cory Collea tweeted, "I appreciate your love for this country and our freedoms. The only colleges more patriotic than ours are military colleges."
Former student Lizzy Higgins weighed in, tweeting, "When the president of your alma mater is trending on Facebook ahead of Kim Kardashian."