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Falwell Decision to Back Trump Angers Evangelical Leaders


Evangelical leader Jerry Falwell, Jr. is officially endorsing Donald Trump for president and other Christian leaders are not happy with his decision.

Falwell says he's picking Trump because of his success as a business leader, calling him "a successful executive and entrepreneur, a wonderful father and a man who I believe can lead our country to greatness again."

Falwell is the president of Liberty University, which calls itself the largest Christian university in the world.

CBN News was there last week when Trump spoke at the school and promised to "protect Christianity."

The Falwell endorsement is important for Trump who's fighting to win key evangelical voters away from Sen. Ted Cruz in the Iowa caucuses next Monday.

But many evangelicals are upset that Falwell chose Trump, and even some leaders with ties to Liberty are opposing the endorsement.

Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America and a Liberty alumnus, signed an open letter with a group of conservative women leaders, urging "Republican caucus-goers and voters to support anyone but Donald Trump."

"America will only be a great nation when we have leaders of strong character who will defend both unborn children and the dignity of women. We cannot trust Donald Trump to do either," the letter states.

Sen. Ted Cruz launched his campaign at Liberty and is banking on support from Christian conservatives to push him toward the nomination. And he still has plenty of evangelical support in Iowa.

Bob Vander Plaats, CEO of the Family Leader, exchanged a series of testy messages with Trump over Twitter on Tuesday.

At a Cruz rally in Ottumwa, Iowa, Vander Plaats bashed Trump for saying in an interview that he had never sought forgiveness from God. Vander Plaats said the Bible calls for selecting leaders "who don't believe they are God, but who actually fear God."

And Cruz backer Rep. Steve King told voters gathered at a historic church in Bloomfield, Iowa, that they don't know what Trump's "core beliefs are" and they "don't know what he'll do tomorrow."

Meanwhile, Jerry Falwell, Jr.'s brother, Rev. Jonathan Falwell, said he does not make endorsements as a pastor. But he is encouraging every follower of Christ to make sure they're registered to vote and to "exercise their citizen right to vote."

"Whether or not we agree on making endorsements or even agree on who would make the best next president, I think we can agree America is in need of divine intervention, spiritual renewal and a return to righteousness if we are to solve the great challenges of our day," Jonathan Falwell said.

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