Shane Claiborne challenges Jerry Falwell to debate Trump and Jesus

Radical Christian Shane Claiborne has challenged Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jnr to a public debate following the defeat in the Senate of a bill aimed at repealing Obamacare.

Aides carry a sign near the Senate floor prior to an all night round of health care votes.Reuters

The vote represented a humiliating blow to President Donald Trump, of whom Falwell has been an outspoken supporter.

Referring to the three Republican senators who ensured the 'skinny repeal' bill's defeat as 'RINOs or 'Republicans In Name Only', Falwell tweeted: 'How do Sens Collins, Murkowski, McCain and other RINOs sleep at night running as Repubs only to deceive their conservative constituents?'

Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain all voted against, the latter in a moment of high drama seen by many as payback for Trump after the president insulted him on the campaign trail.

Claiborne criticised Falwell by name last year on the Red Letter Christians blog: saying: 'Many of us grieve that our brothers and sisters once known for their zeal for Jesus have been more passionate about exalting Donald Trump this year than Jesus.'

In response to Falwell's tweet last night he replied: 'Honestly I've wondered how you sleep at night. Would you have a public conversation with me about whether or not Jesus would support Trump?'

Falwell has yet to reply.