Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s Failure of Imagination


Dante's Inferno, 8th Circle, Bolgia 5

Dante’s Inferno, 8th Circle, Bolgia 5

In an interview in the Washington Post recently, Jerry Falwell, Jr., the son and scion of the religious bigot and hypocrite the late Reverend Jerry Falwell, said “I can’t imagine him [Trump] doing anything that’s not good for the country.” Before we examine that epic failure of imagination, let’s examine the man we are talking about from a biblical point of view.

At least when Christians were still trying to brainwash WC in Sunday school, the Ten Commandments were held up at the very foundation of morality, the way to avoid an eternity in the Christianist Hell. Let’s see how Trump is doing there. WC has chosen a few:

Seventh Commandment: Thou shalt not commit adultery.
We know about the hush money paid to a porn star and a Playboy bunny. We know he had affairs with his second ad third wives while he was married to his first and second wives. We know he bragged on tape about how much he enjoys assaulting women. WC thinks we can take this as a fail.

Eighth Commandment: Thou shall not steal.
We don’t have to look at whether his serial bankruptcies are “theft,” although you can make a pretty good case. You don’t have to look further than Trump University, which was fraudulent from the ground up. He has certainly stolen from the American taxpayers by his use of his hotel and resort properties for government purposes. WC thinks the President has trouble with this commandment, too.

Ninth Commandment: Thou shalt not bear false witness.
Our president has been documented to have told a total of 7,645 lies through Dec. 30, the 710th day of his term in office, according to The Fact Checker’s database. No president in the history of our nation has more frequently borne false witness than Donald Trump. WC thinks we can safely say the President has disregarded this Commandment as well.

Second Commandment: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
Trump clearly worships wealth and power. There isn’t the faintest sign that he worships the Christian God. But this man has gold-plated faucets and toilets in his home. He boasts continually of his wealth. WC thinks that Trump’s worship of wealth and power violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the Second Commandment.1

Tenth Commandment: Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s wife.
I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it,” Trump is heard saying. It was unclear when the events he was describing took place. The tape was recorded several months after he married his third wife, Melania.
“Whoa,” another voice said.
“I did try and f— her. She was married,” Trump says.

So we have a President who has violated – often egregiously – fully half of the Ten Commandments. That’s who Jerry Falwell, Jr. is talking about. A thief, adulterer, liar, sexual predator and more.

Let’s assume that the Devil that WC doesn’t believe in were to offer an Unholy Bargain to Junior. Wouldn’t it run something like this: I’ll give you a man who will give you anti-abortion judges and make nice on your other issues, but he’ll be the Antichrist, he’ll embody everything that God hates, he’ll have unapologetically violated half of God’s Commandments. His actions will tear down everything you claim to cherish. All you have to do is tell the world the man is great. Are you in?2

And Falwell said, “Yes, I’m in.”

Falwell took the Antichrist, embraced him, defended him.

And then said, with a straight face, “I can’t imagine him doing anything that’s not good for the country.”

As WC says, an epic failure of Falwell’s imagination. Or, perhaps, simply carrying out his part of the Unholy Bargain he’s made.

But WC is an atheist, of course, so this would all be nonsense. Except that Junior claims to believe the whole kit and kaboodle. It’s real as a heart attack to him.

 

 


  1. This is sometimes the First Commandment. WC supposes it is a troubling sign that the various Christian sects cannot always agree on the Ten Commandments. But the issue is largely irrelevant here. 
  2. If you think WC is inventing this kind of Unholy Bargain, WC invites you to read C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters
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6 thoughts on “Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s Failure of Imagination

  1. WC

    This applies as forcefully to Billy Graham’s son, Franklin Graham, who in a recent interview spoke of his satisfaction with Trump’s governing policies while referring to Trump’s “sordid background.” It was clear to me he recognized the bargain and embraced it knowingly because he was achieving the public policy objectives he had long sought.

    Paul Eaglin

  2. You quite rightly point out the hypocrisy of the evangelical right. Trump’s violation of the five commandments that you’ve pointed out, however, may not go far enough in underlining the corruption of believers, for their support of this amoral man also has its biblical roots. Katherine Stewart, in a compelling New York Times op-ed (“Why Trump Reigns as King Cyrus” (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/31/opinion/trump-evangelicals-cyrus-king.html)), exposes an important root of evangelical support for Trump: Isaiah 45 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+45&version=AKJV).

    Cyrus the Great (aka, Cyrus II) of Persia liberated the Jews from their Babylonian captivity in 538 BCE. He himself was not a Jew. Nevertheless, Isaiah 45 tells us that God had anointed Cyrus to be the liberator of His people. In the same manner many evangelicals believe, Stewart tells us, that God has anointed Trump to liberate Christians from the supposed tyranny of secular liberalism. Thus, they see Trump as God’s vessel of liberation from what they judge to be the iniquitous 21st century America.

    This suggests that evangelicals realize Trump’s moral failings, but, since the 45th president is also the Isaiah 45 president, his amorality is ignored because he’s here to liberate them from their captivity under secular liberalism. It’s difficult to exaggerate how screwed up this line of thinking is, but trying to argue with an evangelical who believes this nonsense is rather like arguing with a wall, a cliched simile, to be sure, but one that has a particular resonance in Trump’s America.

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