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“Unwrapping Falwell’s Trump Endorsement”: Trump “Reminds Me So Much Of My Father”

On the surface, the political dynamic is baffling. Jerry Falwell Jr., the son of a legendary right-wing TV preacher and the head of one of the nation’s largest evangelical universities, threw his official political support behind Donald Trump – a secular, thrice-married casino owner who’s never really demonstrated any interest in, or knowledge of, matters of faith.

And yet, here we are. Falwell has not only offered a spirited (no pun intended) endorsement to the Republican frontrunner, he’s even gone so far as to say Trump “reminds me so much of my father.”

There’s a fair amount to a story like this one, but let’s start with a blast from the recent past.

In November 2007, another thrice-married New York Republican was running for president, who also had a secular track record of supporting abortion rights and gay rights. And yet, a high-profile televangelist – Christian Coalition president and Christian Broadcasting Network founder Pat Robertson – nevertheless threw his support to that GOP candidate, Rudy Giuliani.

Social conservative activists and leading religious right groups howled, for reasons that are probably obvious. Giuliani was the antithesis of everything evangelicals were looking for in a Republican presidential candidate, and yet, Robertson ignored his allies and threw in his lot with the secular, Catholic adulterer.

Why? Because Robertson’s priorities weren’t (and aren’t) at all similar to those of many other evangelical leaders: the “700 Club” host saw a Republican leading in the polls; he wanted a seat at the table with a man he perceived as a future president; and so Robertson followed the prevailing political winds.

With the benefit of hindsight, we know this was a poor bet – Giuliani failed spectacularly as a candidate, earning exactly zero delegates – but it was a reminder that Robertson is a partisan first and a culture-war ideologue second, while other prominent social conservatives reverse the two.

And Robertson isn’t the only social conservative who thinks this way.

In the current GOP race, prominent political evangelical leaders effectively limited their top choices to five Republican presidential hopefuls: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Ben Carson. Trump was an afterthought.

Cruz emerged as the religious right movement’s standard bearer, but like Robertson eight years ago, that didn’t stop Jerry Falwell Jr. from going his own way.

Of course, there’s also the larger question of why Falwell’s fellow evangelicals would even consider Trump in the first place. We can’t say with certainty whether the Liberty University president has partisan or electoral motivations, but that’s a separate question from what other social conservatives are thinking as they, too, rally behind Trump.

The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent published a good piece on this last week.

Instead, Trump’s success among evangelical voters may be rooted in the fact that, more than any other GOP candidate, Trump is able to speak to their sense of being under siege. Trump somehow conveys that he understands on a gut level that both Christianity and the country at large are under siege, and what’s more, he is not constrained by politically correct niceties from saying so and proposing drastic measures to reverse this slide into chaos and godlessness.

I recently talked to Robert Jones, the CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, who has been studying evangelical opinion for many years. His research has led him to believe that Trump is very good at speaking to evangelicals’ sense of a lost, mythical golden age in America that predates the political and cultural turmoil of the 1960s.

In other words, we’re talking about a group of voters – largely white, older, social conservatives – who hear Trump vowing to “make America great again,” and believe him, without much regard for his ignorance about religion, his messy personal life, or his previous policy positions.

If a secular, thrice-married casino owner who uses phrases like “Two Corinthians” is eager to champion a vision of a bygone era, these evangelicals appear to care more about the message than the messenger.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, January 26, 2016

January 27, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Evangelicals, Jerry Falwell Jr | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pat Robertson’s Alzheimer’s Divorce Comments Demean Marriage

Pat Robertson has made some pretty crazy remarks. Remember  the “hit” he wanted us to take out on Hugo Chavez?!  Yes, the self-proclaimed leader of the moral  majority, former presidential candidate, and television talk host on the 700 Club. But Robertson is also a  pastor, a man who claims to believe that the Bible is the word of God. So imagine my and so many others’ surprise  when he spoke of divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer’s because they’re pretty much  dead anyway?! (Remember “’til death do us  part?” It certainly gives a new slant to that notion.)

Now of course I’m paraphrasing. And you might find this odd coming  from me, a  liberal, progressive, Democrat; but I’m as angry at the  message as I am the  messenger.

Robertson is a leader in the conservative Christian circles.  These  are the same people that fight for the definition of marriage to only be   between a man and a woman; certainly not a man and a man or a woman  and a  woman. Why? Because marriage is holy, ordained by God. It’s one of  the first things God does in book of Genesis.

I am angry at this remark Mr. Robertson made, although not  surprised,  because it shows the true hypocrisy of not only these leaders, but  of  so many Christians who use the Bible only when it suits them. Remember  what Gandhi  said about not being able to find Christ among them?

I have been married for 15 years. Happily? Yes, for the most part. I did take  the vows when I married to love  and honor in sickness and in health,  for better or worse, ’til death do us  part. And I meant it when I took  those  vows.

If we simply divorce, or do away with a “problem,” as a  person with  Alzheimer’s may often be perceived, then what’s next? Divorce when  someone is burned in a fire?  Partially dismembered in an auto  accident?  Loses a breast (or two) to breast cancer? When a man can no  longer maintain an  erection? How about when one’s beauty  fades? Oh  right, they already do that. (At least in Los Angeles where I live.)

The point is, Alzheimer’s is an illness; it’s one of those   “sicknesses” the Bible and those vows refer to.  And, it is certainly  one of the worst times for a spouse, for a family.

Marriage is not a walk in the park. But if you’re going to  fight to  defend it, define it, and protect it based on the Bible, at least read the Bible Mr. Robertson and see what God says about the very institution He  designed.

Maybe if more of us took those vows more seriously, we  wouldn’t have a  divorce rate that hovers above 50 percent in America today.

Shame on Mr. Robertson for twisting the “word of God” as he  calls the  Bible, when he chooses. I  believe it’s men like Robertson who keep  many of us more than an arm’s length  from our creator.

 

By: Leslie Marshall, U. S. News and World Report, September 21, 2011

September 21, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, GOP, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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