Perry to Trump: Don't claim Christianity if you don't understand it

by Gregory Tomlin |

(REUTERS/Jim Young)Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry

WARNING TO READERS:  A link in the following story takes readers to 25 vulgar statements made by Donald Trump about women on Howard Stern's radio program. It is presented here because of the serious nature of the comments in light of Trump's repeated claims to be a Christian. 

FORT WORTH, Texas (Christian Examiner) – Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who endorsed Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz Feb. 1 in the run up to the Iowa Caucuses, is on the frontlines of the Cruz campaign again – this time calling out Donald Trump for his portrayal of himself as a Christian, as well as the evangelical leaders he believes are blindly following the New York billionaire.

Perry phoned in to Glenn Beck's daily radio program and said Trump clearly doesn't understand the basic tenets of the Christian faith.

"If you are going to profess to be a Christian, which Mr. Trump does, but you do not understand in your mind intellectually or in your heart spiritually what salvation by grace means, I gotta stand up and say, 'Wait a minute. You really don't understand Christianity,'" Perry, himself a two-time contender for the Republican nomination and a Christian, told Beck.

If you are going to profess to be a Christian, which Mr. Trump does, but you do not understand in your mind intellectually or in your heart spiritually what salvation by grace means, I gotta stand up and say, 'Wait a minute. You really don't understand Christianity.'
- Former Gov. Rick Perry

Perry said he did not understand why men like Jerry Falwell Jr. and some other Christian leaders have thrown their support behind Trump.

"I hope the reason they're doing that is so they can say, 'Hey listen, we need to get close to you so we can help save you.' That's really troubling to me and I bet the same thing would be true about your listeners," Perry said.

Perry cited Trump's past claims that he was a good person and the fact that Trump was unfamiliar with how to even talk about the Christian faith in a way that makes it seem authentic.

"Playing loose, standing there holding up a Bible saying, 'I've never asked God for forgiveness.' I don't get that," Perry said.

"A very well known, widely known Christian leader like Jerry Falwell Jr. standing up and endorsing him. What do you tell the parent of a child – a student – at Liberty University? How do you explain that ... send your child here, this is what we are supporting?"

Beck said he had posted to his website the Top 25 ill-mannered comments Donald Trump had made about women while on the Howard Stern show. "They are despicable," Beck said.

"He brags about cheating on his wife ... whose wife he wants to sleep with ... shocking," the host added.

This is not the first time Perry has gone after Trump. While still a candidate for the presidency in August 2015, Perry released a statement saying Trump has proven "once again that he doesn't have the temperament to hold our nation's highest office" after the billionaire candidate trashed FOX News host Megyn Kelly. Perry said then that Trump lacked the "character and basic decency" of a presidential candidate.