It Isn’t Hypocrisy–It’s Worse. Much Worse.

In a comment a few days ago, Gerald posted a link to Raw Story, headlined “Why Evangelicals Won’t Care about Jerry Falwell Jr.’s apparent sex scandal.”

Presumably, they also won’t care about the self-dealing, corruption and similar behaviors that were the focus of a preceding expose in Politico. 

What I found fascinating about the Raw Story version wasn’t the detailed enumeration of Falwell’s multiple unChristian behaviors. His full-throated support for Trump had already provided ample evidence that the publicly-espoused values of his brand of Christianity were bogus. What I found interesting–and hopeful–was the publication’s willingness to identify the actual values of that brand.

The article began with evidence of Falwell’s sexual kinkiness and financial improprieties–and a prediction that none of it would matter to his followers.

The pretense that the religious right was motivated by faith and morality was dropped — or should have been — when white evangelicals flocked to vote for Trump in greater numbers than they did for George W. Bush, who if he was convincing about little else, was convincingly a man of faith.

Here’s the thing: The real purpose of the Christian conservative movement is to uphold white supremacy and patriarchy, full stop. As long as Falwell Jr. keeps that up — as his father did before him — his flock will stick with him just as they’ve stuck with Trump, a thrice-married chronic adulterer who has bragged about sexual assault on tape.

The article went on to debunk the evident belief of the whistleblowers who shared the information with Politico that Falwell Senior had been a better, more authentic Christian.

The elder Jerry Falwell was a bigot through and through, and his version of Christianity was primarily, if not solely, about rationalizing a white supremacist, misogynistic and homophobic worldview.

Falwell first rose to fame as a Baptist minister due to his stalwart opposition to civil rights, which he called“a terrible violation of human and private property rights.” He declared that the 1964 Civil Rights Act “should be considered civil wrongs rather than civil rights.” He also once declared, in response to the historic Brown v. Board of Education case, that if the Supreme Court “had known God’s word and had desired to do the Lord’s will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision would never have been made.”

Falwell Senior made little effort to hide his racism. He criticized Martin Luther King, Jr. for political activism, despite his own equally political activities. The article also reports what scholars have recognized for some time: the attacks on LGBTQ citizens and women’s reproductive rights were intended to divert attention from the racism that was less politically palatable.

Falwell became even more politically involved  when the federal government under Jimmy Carter stripped tax-exempt status from all-white private schools, which Liberty University was at the time. To punish Carter, Falwell helped form the Moral Majority in 1980 to support Republicans and defeat Democrats. He and other organizers shrewdly pivoted away from open support for segregation and opposition to civil rights toward the more politically palatable politics (at the time) of opposition to feminism and LGBT rights. Falwell would try to distance himself from his past by claiming later to oppose segregation, but he kept finding himself on the wrong side of history, such as when he supported South Africa’s apartheid government.

So Jerry Falwell Jr. isn’t straying from his father’s legacy, but expanding it. From the beginning, it’s always been about white supremacy and patriarchal control. The sanctimony was just plastered over these ugly intentions to give all that hate a holy makeover.

So why isn’t this behavior properly called hypocrisy?

Despite the repeated, strenuous efforts of liberals to point out the hypocrisy, Trump’s support on the Christian right never seems to weaken. That’s because it was never, ever — not for one moment, even at the height of the George W. Bush era of big-time Bible-thumping — about sincere religious conviction. It was always about white supremacy and patriarchy. To call this “hypocrisy” misses the point, in a sense, because to be hypocrites Christian conservatives would have had to believe in something larger than their own bigotries to begin with.



  1. I added a Washington Post article published on July 24, 2019, on Facebook; “Inside Liberty University’s Culture Of Fear”, written by Will E. Young, former Editor in chief of The Champion, Liberty University’s student-run weekly news report. “How Jerry Falwell, Jr., silences students and professors who reject his pro-Trump politics”. It reads like the state of Mississippi’s Sovereignty Commission, 1956 – 1977, based in racism and silencing anyone who speaks against their White Supremacy by any means possible.

    “To call this “hypocrisy” misses the point, in a sense, because to be hypocrites Christian conservatives would have had to believe in something larger than their own bigotries to begin with.”

    What is larger than “their own bigotries” is the Biblical promise of their salvation by faith alone; in the current situation that “faith” is placed unquestionably in the shiny object in the mire in the person of Donald Trump who has become their Father, Son and Holy Ghost. They are asked to do nothing other than “believe” and vote for him, he IS larger than their own bigotries; he holds the most powerful position on earth at this time. Jerry Falwell, Jim Baker and Rush Limbaugh follow in his footsteps, it says so on Fox News; what further proof do they need to place all faith in his every word? They are morally bankrupt and too lazy to think beyond his racist sermons.

  2. It seems to me that these white evangelical Christians do believe in something larger than themselves: The Almighty Dollar!

  3. The axiom “People believe what they want to believe” certainly applies to this topic. Maintaining that belief in the face of truth is a never ending fight against reality by one’s ego.
    A year ago I asked Catholic friend of mine what she thought of the priest/pedophile scandal. Her reply was classic. “It was only a handful of priest. Our pastor said so.”
    “So”, I said, “you haven’t seen the movie Spotlight?”
    “Heavens no! No one I know has gone to see it. And no one will.”

  4. Willful ignorance is also part of the “Falwell Plan”. In fact, his Liberty University churned out a pile of stealth candidates to populate school boards across the country to influence curriculum in public schools. The creature I’m directly familiar with went to Texas and got herself elected to the Texas state Board of Education. Her name was Cynthia Dunbar, a graduate of Liberty’s Law School.

    She led a cabal of right-wing evangelicals to de-tune the science curriculum at every level. More importantly, her group tried to re-write history by eliminating the impact of Thomas Jefferson on our country’s foundation. Ultimately, she was only partially successful as the sane people in the state outed her and her colleagues’ efforts to alter the facts and keep the children in the dark.

    You’re right. It’s much worse than we know on a day-to-day basis. These pathetic wretches are truly seditious.

  5. Theresa; thank you for reminding us of the Boston Globe “Spotlight” report which brought out the Catholic church’s years of covered up child sexual abuses by priests…which became national and then international findings which continues today but has faded into old news. Cardinal Bernard Law was allowed to resign from his post in the Boston Archdiocese after admitting to moving at least two priests from parish to parish without notifying congregants of their history of molestation. Law submitted his resignation to the Vatican to Pope John Paul II who accepted it; within a short period of time Pope John Paul II appointed Law to the position of Archbishop of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore where he “served” till his resignation at age 80 in 2011. And the beat goes on in the name of Christianity! Can that situation within the Catholic church, only one denomination of the Christian religion, be regarded “Hypocrisy” when criminal activities of leaders in churches are rewarded with higher level appointments as punishment for supporting child molest?

    The situation with Falwell Senior and Junior and problems within Liberty University pale in comparison. Trump’s evangelical supporters, all professed Christians, have turned their backs on those they deem “different” and on humanitarian help to those most in need nationally and internationally. A return to actual Hyprocrisy would be an improvement at this point.

  6. Sticking one’s head in the sand is a classic human flight reaction. If one doesn’t see “it”, then one can truthfully say “it” doesn’t exist. An iron-tight rationale that is stronger than Truth; or rather, a version of the truth that fits the faith. And if everyone one know believes a certain truth, then they must also, to survive. Losing one’s inclusion in community is another overwhelming human fear that is used to keep one’s flock together—a time-honored tradition in the annals of organized religion.

  7. We are very slow to accept the wisdom of Lord Acton’s observation that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Virtually all religions give people for typically an adult lifetime, mostly men, a great deal of power over others. After all, these religous leaders know the Supreme Being intimately. How could anyone risk eternal damnation by defying them? That’s real power.

    Our liberal democracy gives the power to hire and fire those who we grant governance power over us to based on how well they serve us, not how well we serve them. We also limit the power that they have to what is defined by our Constitution. How is it possible that every US citizen doesn’t know this?

    The answer is same reason that not every US citizen knows that science is based on evidence that’s reliable to a higher standard than even our criminal judgements are.

    They have been told, and they accept, advertising/fake news/propaganda/brainwashing more readily than their own intelligence. Their egos and emotions overrule their rational capacity.

  8. Another corrupt institution, eh?

    What else is new in the grand ole democratic republic called the USA?

    Seeing AOC’s popularity and the surrounding progressive women of color must absolutely strike fear in the hearts of the Falwell’s, et al.

    They can practice denial all they want but things are changing rapidly. If they are concerned with their status today (male white supremacists), it’s only going to get worse for them. It’s a good thing they have guns to embrace to make them feel safe because the brown community is expanding rapidly — especially brown women with power. I feel sorry for the Fascists who hide behind their faith.

  9. Individuals seem to worship power, but how power is attained and distributed and exercised involves democratic processes (hopefully). So what of the Trumps and Falwells and their ilk? A judge is a lawyer who wears a robe; a pope is a priest who wears a white cape; a president sits in an Oval Office and exercises power supposedly constrained by the Constitution, the law and custom, but what of those they rule under the guise of legitimacy given to church and/or state (including policy formation by gut)? Ah, there’s (among others) the rub!

    One of our contributors today wisely pointed out that one must first have a standard from which to deviate in order to make a case of hypocrisy. I think there are some sincere believers within Falwell’s corrupt reach who believe in the religion of Jesus rather than the one medieval monks concocted about him and that they remain in such as Falwell’s grip because they don’t perceive anywhere else to go (though they are legion). Falwell and his fellow bigots have done an excellent job in painting all alternatives to theirs as immoral and practiced only by irreligious libertines, which serves a dual purpose, i.e., it erases such individuals’ choices and obscures his misconduct. This controlled result also gives him something to sell to politicians.

    He, of course, like Trump, is a tin horn phony and should be looking out instead of in while doing time, preferably at a facility run by privately run prison corporations interested in lowering costs and denying paroles.

  10. I know I sound like a broken record but I didn’t want to disappoint anybody here, “Tax The Churches.”

  11. I find it rather odd, that to my knowledge Jesus did not keep a slave, or discriminate against anyone. The Fallwells and his fellow travelers in the mega-churches are more akin to the money changers at the temple than to Jesus.

    The Prime Directive of the Catholic Church and the Evangelicals is Male Authoritarianism.

    In 1986, the House voted 313-83 to override President Ronald Reagan’s veto of the Comprehensive Apartheid Act, which levied economic sanctions against the Republic of South Africa. On Oct. 2, the Senate followed suit, voting 78-21 to override. The Reagan administration had sought to impose a set of economic restrictions under a presidential executive order. But opponents, including 81 House Republicans, insisted that approach failed to go far enough.

    Side Bar: Republicans helped to over ride Reagan’s Veto – The GOP of today is terrified of President Agent Orange.

  12. The 2nd letter to Timothy reads thusly; “but know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderous, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having an appearance of godliness proving false to its power; and from these turn away.”

    Mark Twain once said; “some men worship rank, some worship heroes, some worship power, some worship God, but they all worship money!” So if you worship power, or celebrity, or authority, or riches, these things take the place of the Christian God.

    We have all heard the saying, in Matthew 19:23, and 24, when Jesus was speaking to his disciples and stated; “truly I say to you that it will be a difficult thing for a rich man to get into the kingdom of the heavens. Again I say to you it is easier for a camel to get through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to get into the kingdom of God.”

    Unfortunately, the original translator made a mistake translating. When he translated the original from Greek to Latin, he used the word Ka’melos which means camel, instead of the word Ka’milos which means rope. Through this mistake, the saying of a camel going through the eye of the needle instead of a rope going through the eye of a needle passed on through every translation, as most translations were then translated from Latin.

    The very oldest Greek translations use the footnote explaining this issue between using camel and rope and the mistranslation.

    That being said whether it’s a camel or a rope going to the eye of the needle, the visualization is the same and so is the impossibility.

    Another point that Christ made is this, when he stated in Matthew, “now look! Someone came up to him and said: “teacher, what must I do to gain everlasting life?” He said to him: “why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If, though, you want to enter into life, observe the commandments continually.” He said to him: which ones? Jesus said: “you must not murder, you must not commit adultery, you must not steal, you must not bear false witness, honor your father and your mother, and you must love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him: “I have kept all of these what am I still lacking?” Jesus said to him: “if you want to be perfect, go sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come be my follower.” When the young man heard this he went away grieved for had many possessions. This is where the visualization of the camel or the rope going through the eye of the needle comes in.

    Definitely, these who claim to be disciples of Christ, are not Christ’s disciples. They don’t worship God, they worship their power and authority and their wealth, all the while disobeying the other commandments Christ listed above.

    So, one would be correct in saying that it is worse than hypocrisy, because for them it will cost them and everlasting death with no chance of a reprieve. This proves that as stated in the 1st paragraph, these individuals have a form of godly devotion but proove false to its power. Therefore, their die is cast, their epitaph has been written, and the epitaph of all those who follow these men. They strive with covetous greed to elevate themselves above their fellow man and rule with wealth and power in opposition to Christ. This cabal of wolves in sheep’s clothing existing today, obviously does not believe in what they espouse. So, above everything else they have no faith, yes they have faith in their riches, they hey have faith in their own personal wiles, they have faith in their own ilk, but they have no faith whatsoever in Christ and Christ’s law.

    As Christ mentioned in his sermon on the mount in Matthew, he stated “be on the watch for the false prophets who come to you in sheep’s covering, but inside are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will recognize them. Never do people gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles do they? Likewise, every good tree produces fine fruit, but every rotten tree produces worthless fruit. Every tree not producing fine fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Really then, by their fruits you will recognize those men. Not everyone saying to me, Lord, Lord, will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but only the one doing the will of my father who is in the heavens will. Many will say to me in that day: Lord Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name? And I will declare to them: I never knew you! Get away from me you workers of lawlessness!”

    Falwell and for that matter Graham were caught on many occasions demeaning certain groups of their human brethren and fellow worshipers. So one would have to ask, who is the God they and their ilk follow? Jesus Christ himself described them, and also condemned them.

  13. Cataract: “a medical condition in which the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque, resulting in blurred vision.” That’s what all of this is about. ALL sides of the issue are clouded by the inability to see CLEARLY. What IS clear is that power, corruption, and greed are as abhorrent to God as gross sexual immorality and prejudice. To HIM, there is NO distinction. EVERYTHING we DO is a matter of PERSONAL CHOICE, as is the way we THINK… what WE ‘believe.’ Solomon wrote: “There is NO righteous man on earth who always does good and NEVER sins.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) Likewise, Paul stated: “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and “the wages SIN pays is DEATH.” (Romans 3:23; 6:23a). Instead of worrying about our ‘rights,’ we should give serious thought to our ‘wrongs,’ and adjust our thinking as near to God’s as we are able. “Let the wicked man LEAVE his way And the evil man his THOUGHTS; Let him return to Jehovah, who will have mercy on him, To our God, for he will forgive in a large way.  “For MY thoughts are not YOUR thoughts, And YOUR ways are not MY ways.”  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So my ways are higher than your ways And my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:7-9 “I am the one who searches the INNERMOST THOUGHTS and HEARTS, and I will give to you INDIVIDUALLY according to your deeds.” Revelation 2:23


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