What Jesus never told Caesar
Jerry Falwell Junior, son of the more famous religious fanatic of the same name, tweeted a profound religious thought a couple of days ago.
Jesus said love our neighbors as ourselves but never told Caesar how to run Rome – he never said Roman soldiers should turn the other cheek in battle or that Caesar should allow all the barbarians to be Roman citizens or that Caesar should tax the rich to help poor. That’s our job.
Now if Jerry Junior were a rebel against his father’s religious fanaticism, we might interpret that as an admonition to keep religion out of government, in other words in favor of secularism – give to Caesar what’s Caesar’s and to God what’s God’s, as the motto goes. But is he? Not so you’d notice. He’s the president of Liberty University, which was founded by his father as Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971 (Lynchburg being a town in Virginia).
It was renamed Liberty Baptist College in 1976 and then achieved the dignity of Liberty University in 1984. I don’t suppose Falwell Senior intended the Orwellian joke of calling a fundamentalist bible college “Liberty University” in 1984, but who knows, maybe he did.
So Jerry Junior is the president of this bible college turned university set up by his daddy, so he probably didn’t mean anything very secular by his tweet. What then? What did he probably mean? I think he meant, roughly, “stop pointing out that fundamentalist types are making a mockery of their own professed ‘morality’ by defending Donald Trump no matter what he does, including bragging of grabbing women by the pussy and frolicking with a porn star weeks after his wife gave birth to their son.”
I think he was saying “Ignore our blatant hypocrisy” because he wants to go right on saying how awesome lying cheating bullying thieving raping Donald Trump is. Behold the top of Falwell’s Twitter page:
So, he wants us to give him a pass on the morality of Donald Trump. In that case let’s point out some other things Jesus never told Caesar.
Jesus never told Caesar to forbid abortion. Jerry Falwell Junior’s “university” however …
While direct access to Liberty University’s student honor code is password-protected on the school’s website, Fusion in September 2015 obtained an updated copy from a source connected to Liberty. Tucked away with rules cautioning students against watching R-rated movies and instructing women to wear dresses “no shorter than two inches above the knee” is a line prohibiting students from receiving abortion care.
Among a list of the breaches of conduct that can earn a student some of the school’s harshest sanctions is a prohibition on “procuring/financing/facilitating/obtaining an abortion.” Doing so will earn students “30 Points (+ $500.00 Fine, 30 Hours Disciplinary Community Service, & Possible Administrative Withdrawal).”
Jesus never told Caesar to forbid same-sex marriage. Junior’s bible college however…
Elsewhere in the Liberty handbook is a section seemingly banning “sexual relations outside of a biblically ordained marriage between a natural-born man and a natural-born woman.” The university has hosted an anti-LGBTQ conference aimed at “addressing homosexuality and its consequences.”
Jesus never told Caesar to encourage everyone to carry a gun. Jerry Falwell Junior however…
Speaking at the school’s convocation ceremony last December, Falwell called on students to obtain concealed carry permits in response to the mass shooting in San Bernardino, despite the fact that there is no evidence these kinds of shootings could be stopped by a heavily armed public.
“I’ve always thought that if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them,” he said.
“I just wanted to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to get your permit. We offer a free course,” Falwell told the students. “Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here.”
It’s almost as if Jerry Falwell Junior doesn’t actually give a flying fuck about what Jesus said or didn’t say, but simply attaches his name to whatever likes and dislikes he, Jerry Junior, picked up from his fanatical daddy and from the reactionary milieu around him.
The reality is that Jesus (or “Jesus”, or Jesus plus whatever group of followers collected his sayings and added some of their own, or any other variation on the theme) never said most of the things that loom so large in the denunciations of Christian theocrats. Jesus wasn’t a founding member of Focus on the Family and he wasn’t obsessed with the consensual sexual activities of people in Oklahoma. But that obvious omission doesn’t give Jerry Fallwell Junior pause until people start wondering why ostentatious Christians are so thrilled with that limb of Satan, Donald Trump.
Another such showy Christian is Tony Perkins, President of the reactionary Family Research Council, as Politico reports:
Perkins knows about Stormy Daniels, the porn actress who claimed, in a 2011 interview, that in 2006 she had sex with Trump four months after his wife, Melania, gave birth to their son, Barron. He knows of the reports that Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford) was paid off to keep the affair quiet in the waning weeks of the 2016 election. He knows about the cursing, the lewdness and the litany of questionable behavior over the past year of Trump’s life or the 70 that came before it.
“Questionable” behavior like pretending to think Obama was born in Kenya, like calling people vicious names on Twitter, like refusing to pay workers and contractors, like praising white supremacists, like firing federal officials who refuse to help him get away with corrupt activities.
“We kind of gave him—‘All right, you get a mulligan. You get a do-over here,’” Perkins told me in an interview for the latest episode of POLITICO’s Off Message podcast …
Evangelical Christians, says Perkins, “were tired of being kicked around by Barack Obama and his leftists. And I think they are finally glad that there’s somebody on the playground that is willing to punch the bully.”
Turn the other cheek? Pah! That’s for weaklings and “leftists”; your true evangelist embraces the meanest bruiser ever to soil the presidency, and let the devil take the hindmost.