Weekly Weird Religious News – Jerry Falwell Jr


Today I’ll focus down on one specific person – Jerry Falwell Jr. He has managed to go full Trump … literally. Some of what he has been saying and doing in the past week is quite frankly jaw dropping stuff that truly does deserve a bit of spotlighting, and so all three items this week are him. Now that’s a first.

Needless to say, lots of other religious weirdness also happened elsewhere (it always does). For example if I take a quick glance at postings on the Friendly Atheist blog then it soon reveals these gems …

So anyway, this week its a Jerry Falwell Jr special edition.

Item 1 – Evangelical Pastor Banned From Liberty University for Criticizing Trump

Sarabeth Caplin writes about what happened at Mr Falwell’s university …

Campus security at Liberty University escorted Christian author and anti-Trump speaker Jonathan Martin (below) from campus on Monday, warning him never to come back or else he could be arrested.

MartinJonLiberty

Well known for his ultra-conservative politics, Liberty’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr., has called Donald Trump a “dream president” for evangelicals. More than that, Falwell has demonstrated severe intolerance for anyone who disagrees with him, as Martin learned the hard way. Martin had been hoping to meet with students and alumni to organize a prayer meeting as a way to protest the school’s politics and borderline fascist policies that prohibit free speech.

David McAFee has a few further insights …

Martin, who has condemned Falwell’s alignment with “the darkest contours of Trumpism,” Steve Bannon, and “the alt-right he represents,” said he was served with papers by armed police officers and told he’d be arrested if he ever stepped foot on the Liberty campus again.

His criticism seems fairly legitimate from one Christian to another. It shouldn’t be controversial to point out when you feel someone in your own tribe is straying off the path. But the comments were apparently too much for Falwell.

… I don’t see how a prayer meeting could be considered worthy of a lifelong ban, but that’s what the university is saying. It seems more likely, as Martin himself says, that this was “in response” to his “strong criticism” of Falwell’s alignment with Trumpism and the alt-right.

The irony here is that the Right has criticized liberal, secular universities for mishandling speakers who hold different opinions from the majority of the student body. Yet here we see a conservative Christian college doing something much worse: banning someone on their own side because he criticizes their politics, even though he only wanted to attend a prayer meeting.

Bottom line here: A Christian Author has been banned from the campus of a right-wing Christian university because he dared to suggest that openly and very vocally supporting both the far right and also aligning with a pussy-grabbing self-confessed sexual-predator who is also an egotistical, rather corrupt, and grossly dishonest politician, just might not be a very good position for a Christian to take.

… and by “banned”, I mean physically tossed out by armed security guards for the hideous crime of attending a prayer meeting and not praying along the correct political lines.

I guess that is the alt-right Christian way of turning the other cheek.

Item 2 – Jerry Falwell, Jr. Defends Roy Moore in Child Molestation Scandal

weird religious newsDespite multiple individuals confirming what Roy Moore has been accused of, Mr Falwell has leapt into the fray to suggest that we need to ignore all that and simply believe Mr Moore when he protests his innocence.

Religious News Service reports …

Conservative Christian supporters of Roy Moore are defending the U.S. Senate candidate against allegations of molesting a teenager decades ago — and one of them used the biblical story of Mary and Joseph to rationalize an adult being sexually attracted to a minor.

These supporters don’t expect voters will abandon Moore — a former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice and darling of a segment of the American religious right, in the Alabama race for a seat in the U.S. Senate — for the same reason they didn’t turn away from Donald Trump when several women came forward during last year’s presidential campaign with allegations he had sexually assaulted them.

“It comes down to a question who is more credible in the eyes of the voters — the candidate or the accuser,” said Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of evangelical Liberty University who has endorsed Trump and Moore, both Republicans.

“The same thing happened to President Trump a few weeks before his election last year except it was several women making allegations,” Falwell told RNS in an email. “He denied that any of them were true and the American people believed him and elected him the 45th president of the United States.”

Actually yes, the American people did indeed believe Trump. He himself is on tape boasting about pussy-grabbing. What actually happened is that his religious-right supporters did not care and were quite OK with that. (which tells you a great deal about the gross hypocrisy that prevails).

Now we have yet another sexual predator being defended by the religious right-wing.

The details of what Roy Moore has been accused of comes from a Washington Post article. It describes how he allegedly molested a 14-year-old girl when he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney in 1979. The report said he offered to watch her while her mother was in a child custody hearing, then brought the girl to his home on two occasions, kissing, groping and partially undressing her.

He also reportedly pursued relationships with several other teenage girls as a much-older adult.

If you are not sure whom to believe, then read that Washington Post article. The stories that these women tell is consistent across multiple cases and all very believable. Other well-known republicans agree …

Mr Falwell is quite literally defending the indefensible, not specifically because he actually believes Mr Moore, but clearly because Mr Moore will be in a specific position of power to support Mr Falwell’s right-wing agenda. In other words, morals and ethics be dammed if it enables the means to impose a specific belief by force.

Item 3 – Falwell: “after Gillespie loss: ‘DC should annex’ Northern Virginia”

Apparently Mr Falwell thinks that the solution to a loss at the ballot box by his preferred candidate is to simply nullify it and get a neighbouring state to move in and take over. He tweeted out this gem after last Tuesday’s robust swing to the Democrats in Virginia (the state where his right-wing religiously inspired Liberty University is located) …

… apparently in his eyes democracy is only something he supports if people vote for his preferred candidate. He is quite literally pleading for Gerrymandering within that tweet so that things then swing the way he wants.

A Bit Of Further Background information on Liberty University

Liberty University, the institution that Mr Falwell runs, teaches young Earth creationism as fact (the idea that planet Earth and the entire universe is only 6,000 years old). To illustrate that point, let me quote the well-referenced Wikipedia page …

In biology classes students are taught both creationism and evolution and that the former offers the better explanation of biological diversity.[107][108] In October 2006 the university published an advertisement in The Chronicle of Higher Education in an attempt to recruit staff to its biology department. The advertisement stated that the university was “seeking faculty who can demonstrate a personal faith commitment to its evangelical Christian purpose” and specified that “compatibility with a young-earth creationist philosophy [is] required”.[109]

Browsing that Wikipedia page on Liberty University I also note that it is apparently mandatory for students who live on campus to attend convocation three times a week for indoctrination and brain washing live praise and worship.

What can I say expect “Oh joy”. (I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to substitute “oh joy” with the phrase that actually popped into my head).

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