More Than 2,000 Christian Students At Liberty University Oppose Trump

Trump shakes hands with Jerry Falwell Jr. during a campaign event at the Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City, Iowa. Students at Liberty University have opposed the endorsement.Reuters

More than 2,000 students at the top US evangelical Christian university, Liberty, have come out against Donald Trump despite the Republican nominee having been controversially backed by the university's own president, Jerry Falwell Jr.

The students earlier this month formed a new group, Liberty United Against Trump.

In an open letter, they say they do not wish to champion Trump. They only want to be champions for Jesus Christ.

"Because our president has led the world to believe that Liberty University supports Donald Trump, we students must take it upon ourselves to make clear that Donald Trump is absolutely opposed to what we believe, and does not have our support," they write.

"We are not proclaiming our opposition to Donald Trump out of bitterness, but out of a desire to regain the integrity of our school.

"While our president Jerry Falwell Jr. tours the country championing the log in his eye, we want the world to know how many students oppose him. We don't want to champion Donald Trump; we want only to be champions for Christ."

Three of the students, Dustin Wahl, Paige Cutler and Alexander Forbes have written an article in the Washington Post further outlining their case and announcing that more than 2,000 students have signed the open letter.

"As Liberty students, we watched as the leader of our school loudly and proudly advocated for a man many of us felt compelled to oppose," they wrote.

"Trump's flagrant dishonesty, consistent misogyny and boastful unrepentance made many of us feel the need to publicly express disagreement with President Falwell's endorsement."

The students pointed out that Mark DeMoss, the chair of Liberty's executive committee, told the Washington Post in March: "It's not Christ-like behavior that Liberty has spent 40 years promoting with its students."

DeMoss was asked to resign from the executive committee, and he opted to leave both that post and the school's board of trustees, ending his decades-long career of service to Liberty University.

"In part because our leaders were not allowed to publicly criticise Trump's words and actions, many of us as students felt the need to speak out ourselves," the students wrote in the Post. "We want the world to know that Liberty University is a great place to go to school and that many in the student body find Trump's character and values objectionable.

"We deeply disagree with President Falwell's enthusiastic support for a man such as Trump, but we understand that he is not alone among evangelical Christian leaders."

Len Stevens, director of external comms for Liberty University, told Christian Today last week: "From the University's perspective I can tell you that Liberty University does not support or oppose candidates for public office. Jerry Falwell Jr's endorsement of Donald Trump is a personal endorsement, in his individual capacity as a citizen and not as president of Liberty University. The University is not commenting on this and is referring all comments and inquiries regarding the endorsement to his family, outside the operations of the University."

Liberty University has around 80,000 students.