Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. has defended a photo of himself with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that has a Playboy magazine cover in the background.
Falwell shared the photo, which also included his wife Becki, on his Twitter account (@JerryJrFalwell). "Honoured to introduce @realDonaldTrump at religious leader summit in NYC today! He did incredible job! @beckifalwell," he captions it.
But instead of generating positive comments, the photo took in hit after hit because of the Playboy magazine cover, which can be seen beside Becki. "Nice Playboy cover in the shot! Really brings out colours of the hypocrisy on display," Twitter user Jordan Heath-Rawlings wrote.
"Would you post that framed Playboy cover at Liberty?" Kim K. questioned Falwell, while another, Tami J. Strege, was "curious how the Playboy cover squares with your morality."
Many also expressed their "shame" and disappointment in being a Liberty University alum because of Falwell's ties with Trump. "This is shameful, Mr. Falwell. I say this as an evangelical Christian pastor. I'm praying you repent," DJ Jenkins writes.
In response to the criticism, Falwell posted another tweet, saying his visit to Trump was just like Jesus Christ's visits to those who were marginalised by society.
"Honoured for same hypocrites who accused Jesus of being a friend of publicans and sinners to be targeting me over a decades old mag cover! TY," Falwell tweets.
Meanwhile, Falwell's father, the Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr., actually criticised Playboy back in 1981, according to The Christian Post. His criticism came after former president and devout Christian Jimmy Carter agreed to be interviewed by Playboy.
"Giving an interview to Playboy magazine was lending the credence and the dignity of the highest office in the land to a salacious, vulgar magazine that did not even deserve the time of his day," he said at the time.