Liberty University president Jerry Falwell, Jr. has done it. He has finally found a way to anger Evangelical Christians: endorse Donald J. Trump.
Alas, Falwell, the renowned religious and political hero of the conservative, Bible-thumping community, announced last Tuesday that he would be supporting the bombastic businessman for president.
And the Evangelical community went nuts.
While I was amused by the absurdity of the situation—the worst person in the world endorsing the second-worst person in the world for president—many in the religious world were distraught by the fact that Falwell would support Trump for president.
I mean, Trump didn’t even know that the Bible book “2 Corinthians” is properly pronounced as “Second Corinthians!” He is not religious! How dare Falwell endorse a Christian poser? Can you believe that Falwell would sell out on his faith for petty politics?
Actually, I can believe it.
Falwell and his father, the late Jerry Falwell, Sr., have been taking advantage of the Christian community, right under its nose, for years. The Falwells don’t care about God. They care about the exploitation of the naive and deluded religious branch of American conservatism for their own political and monetary gains.
Falwell preaches the importance of the American Dream, the old-school Republican message that anyone can become successful in our country with some faith, some hard work and some capitalism—the “rags to riches” mentality. The irony of course is that both Falwell and Trump achieved their great fortunes from inheritance, so neither man actually became wealthy purely from hard work.
As for Falwell’s father, the founder of Liberty University, how did he strike it rich you might ask?
Unsurprisingly, striking it rich off being a pastor requires more than a little bit of corruption. As a televangelist, the preacher’s sole purpose is to get on television and ask his audience for funds. He convinces the viewer to mail in large sums of money as part of the “prosperity gospel,” with the belief that these donations will improve a person’s standing with God.
For years, Falwell’s father raked in the money from his show, “Old Time Gospel Hour,” taking full advantage of the gullibility of his massive Evangelical following not with faith, but with scam.
In 1971, he opened Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia with his fraudulent televangelism earnings, as an educational institution specializing in institutionalized brainwashing, err, biblical teachings.
Students following the “Liberty Way,” the code of conduct at this school, which is now the largest Christian college in the world, are banned from public demonstrations, watching R-rated films, listening to non-Christian music and personal conduct with another person beyond handholding.
Any student found to possess alcohol, even of-age students, are subject to 30 reprimands, a $500 fine, 30 hours of community service and grounds for withdrawal. Possession of marijuana will get a student expelled, and the school has a Draconian dress code, meaning that, just to be safe ladies, you should probably wear three sweaters and two pairs of slacks at all times to ensure skin won’t be revealed.
The school offers creationism as a biology class, students are required to attend weekly “convocations” from (usually conservative) lecturers and students must attend religious services each Wednesday night.
Seems like a lot of rules for a school named “Liberty,” eh?
Do not fear, however, although your first and fourth amendment rights have been stripped, Falwell will honor your second amendment!
In December 2015, Falwell urged his students to carry guns on campus after the San Bernadino shooting, saying, “I’ve always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in.”
Oh. There’s his similarity with Trump.
The truth is that Falwell and his father have been indoctrinating people for decades and fail to practice real-world Christianity. Instead, he puts his students in a conservative utopian bubble, filling their credulous minds with backwards, closed-minded ideas. The pastor feeds into his students’ own cognitive dissonance, reassuring them of the falsehoods they already believe about the world as he swims in their tuition money.
For the ones still in possession of a shred of sanity, his comments on Trump were enough to convince them Falwell is manipulative, insincere and money-motivated. For the ones already lacking sanity, still standing by Falwell, it is too late.
FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: MICHAEL VADON/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS