Re-blogging Valerie Tarico’s Post on Jerry Falwell’s Endorsement on Donald Trump

A quick post that I am re-running at The Wondering Eagle that was written by Valerie Tarico. This post explores Jerry Falwell Jr’s endorsement of Donald Trump and asks the question…who is being worshiped? Idolatry is a major issue. I want to stay away from politics at this blog but when I read this I knew I had to re-run it as a post.

“The endorsement game had been very good to me.”

Mary Lou Retton

“Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker…”

Psalm 95:6

I’ve always contended at my blog that many Christians should listen, heed and consider what atheists and skeptics are saying. There is much that can be learned, there is much that they state which this Christian agrees.  The evangelical church dismisses a lot of wisdom when they turn away and ignore what atheists say. That is a big mistake that we often make. I read Valerie Tarico when I had my faith crisis and I read her today as a Christian. I enjoy her writing and plan to add her to my listed blog roll up above. Its my goal at this blog not to discuss politics, but I saw this and in light of the Iowa caucuses and reading a number of posts about the election cycle I saw this and felt like re-blogging Valerie’s words. As always I love you guys!


Jerry Falwell’s Endorsement of Trump Reveals Who He Worships—And It Ain’t Jesus

Trump JesusIf believing oneself to be the Only Begotten Son of God makes one a follower of Jesus, then maybe Trump qualifies. Either way, Jerry Falwell has a truth problem.

On Tuesday, January 26, Jerry Falwell Jr., President of Liberty University, endorsed Donald Trump for President, saying that Trump is “a successful executive and entrepreneur, a wonderful father and a man who I believe can lead our country to greatness again.” The endorsement is no surprise: Falwell had previously likened Trump to his own father and even to Jesus himself, saying “In my opinion, Donald Trump lives a life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught in the Great Commandment.”

Is Trump a faithful follower of Jesus?

Set aside for the moment the fact that he’s biblically illiterate. That doesn’t necessarily disqualify him. In fact, research suggests that atheists typically perform better on tests of religious knowledge than Christians do. So, maybe the fact that Trump can’t name a favorite verse, can’t decide whether the Old Testament or New is more important, and doesn’t know how to pronounce 2 Corinthians, is just a way of establishing credibility among the faithful. Same reason he uses a 4th grade vocabulary. Clever guy, that Trump.

But let’s take a look at what Falwell said about the Great Commandment.

What is the Great Commandment?

Falwell’s effusive words reference a story from the book of Matthew. In it, the Pharisees, who are the religious authorities of the time, ask Jesus which is the greatest of all the commandments in the Torah. Levitical law recommends capital punishment for 30 different felonies, so some legitimate moral confusion could arise: Is sassing your parents really as bad sex before marriage, being a witch, or committing murder? And faced with an offense, what’s a decent person to do? In the words of the now-famous “Dr. Laura Letter,”

“I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?”

As I said, the long list of Levitical crimes and punishments can be confusing, but in Matthew’s story, the Pharisees are just trying to trick Jesus into saying one sin is worse than the rest so that they can show he’s a bad Jew. But Jesus slips the noose by answering that the whole of the Torah can be summed up in two principles: 1. Love God with all your heart; 2. Love your neighbor as yourself. The way you know you’re doing well on Commandment 1 is if you’re doing well on Commandment 2.

Love your neighbor as yourself? That’s a high bar for a guy whose narcissistic personality disorder is so florid that experts have broken the normal professional taboo against diagnosing a public figure. Clinical psychologist and professor George Simon told the press,

“He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there’s no better example of his characteristics. Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He’s like a dream come true.”

Epic Fail

Ok, ok, so love your neighbor as yourself is a stratospherically-high bar for a narcissist, rather like a camel passing through the eye of a needle. Some would argue that it’s an impossible (or unhealthy) bar even for those of us without personality disorders. How about some of the other teachings that have made Jesus a figure of inspiration for the last 2000 years?

Jesus says blessed are the meek (Matthew 5:5). Trump boasts that he’s so popular that “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”

Jesus advocates nonviolence (Matthew 5:39). Trump vows to use brute force against America’s enemies, and then take their assets to pay for the war. “To the victor belong the spoils.” He promises to strengthen the military so that it’s “so big and so strong and so great” that “nobody’s going to mess with us.” At Liberty University, he championed gun ownership, telling Christian college students, “We’ve got to have the right to protect ourselves.”

Jesus says not to call other people names (Matthew 5:22). Trump has made headlines with his public insults of (among others)  Fox reporter Megan Kelly, disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski, competing presidential candidates, and the people of Iowa.

Jesus says give all your money to the poor and come follow me (Luke 18:22). Trump’s tax returns show him to be one of America’s least charitable billionaires, “a miser, not an ‘ardent philanthropist’.”

Jesus spends his time among the poor, living as one of them (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). Trump’s opulent Manhattan penthouse and Palm Beach estate rival the quarters of Marie Antoinette.

Jesus heals the sick (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). Trump vows to take away an insurance program that has made healthcare accessible to 10 million Americans.

Jesus welcomes the downtrodden. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).  Trump envisions an “artistically beautiful” wall of steel rebar and hardened concrete along the southern border of the United States. “I will build a great wall—and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me—and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”

Jesus says not to shirk taxes, even if you don’t agree with the government (Mark 12:13-17). While promising to repair America’s crumbling infrastructure, Trump pledges to cut taxes for wealthy individuals and corporations.

Jesus heals a woman who practices a despised minority religion, affirming her faith (Matthew 15:21-28). Trump intends to create a database of Muslims in America and suspend further immigration.

Jesus teaches that sometimes a “Samaritan,” a member of a despised minority, can show us how to live and love better (Luke 10:25-37). Trump proposes halting immigration from war-torn Syria and shipping 11 million Latin Americans back to the countries they came from.

Jesus willingly endures the criticism of his detractors (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Offended at being asked hard, critical questions by conservative Fox journalist Megan Kelly, Trump announced he would refuse to participate in any debate where she was a moderator.

Falwell might have gotten away with likening Trump to Jehovah–the petulant, racist, sexist, war-mongering, temper-tantruming God of the Old Testament who seeks constant adoration. But Jesus is a different character.  If believing oneself the Only Begotten Son of God makes one a follower of Jesus, then maybe Trump qualifies. Otherwise, the two have as little in common as Napoleon and Gandhi.

Either way, Jerry Falwell has a serious truthiness issue—which in biblical terms raises questions about who he really worships. The old trope of selling one’s soul to the “Father of Lies” comes to mind. Perhaps that is why few Christians other than Evangelical Conservatives have been swayed by Falwell’s adoration of a man who so obviously is Not Like Jesus.

If Liberty University students are paying attention, Falwell’s endorsement of Trump may help some of them realize why so many former Bible believers now stand on the outside, refusing to take our guidance from self-proclaimed messengers of God and instead assessing presidential candidates and university presidents alike through the lens of our own reason and conscience.

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings, and the founder of  Her articles about religion, reproductive health, and the role of women in society have been featured at sites including AlterNet, Salon, the Huffington Post, Grist, and Jezebel.  Subscribe at


18 thoughts on “Re-blogging Valerie Tarico’s Post on Jerry Falwell’s Endorsement on Donald Trump

  1. What I keep coming back to is that in the past, GOP Presidential hopefuls made pilgrimage to Bob Jones U to get the Anointing from the ManaGawd himself.

    This time the ManaGawd was the one who made the pilgrimage to the Trump.
    “Who is like unto the Trump? Who can stand against him?”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Trump boasts that he’s so popular that “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”

    “I kill my own mother and still they cheer me!”
    — Lucius Domiitius Ahenobarbus (Caesar Nero) in Paul Maier’s historical novel The Flames of Rome

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m gorging on schadenfreude watching Trump get the majority of the Evangelical vote. It’s nice to have ones suspicions confirmed but my cynicism shouldn’t get rewarded this much, its not even my birthday.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Jesus says give all your money to the poor and come follow me”
    I believe there are some things that don’t fit into government or politics, this is one. I try to keep this question within my personal sphere of when and where to give my money or use it, I will not trust any politician with it. I figure that when a politician comes along wanting more money to give, they will use it to buy influence and power.

    This is a reason I look to see what a candidate does with their own money. Not that I care about legalistic tithing, I figure a politician preaching compassion should start with their own assets before coming after those of someone else. They should lead by example. Similarly if the candidate preaches total self interest they won’t get my vote but at least I won’t have to endure their hypocrisy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “I try to keep this question within my personal sphere of when and where to give my money or use it, I will not trust any politician with it.”

      Me either. I certainly don’t want government dictating that either.

      All candidates go just about where ever they can pick up votes. But we rarely see any media discussing the other side like Al Sharpton and/or Jesse Jackson as ministers in the political process with their candidates.. Somehow those connections are normal?

      That does not mean I like Liberty. I would not send my dog there. I just think focusing only on one side of this issue is a problem. Politics has always made strange bedfellows. On both sides.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Here is one major reason why UI like this article and re-blogged it. Many evangelical Christians say that atheists who fell away form the Christian faith don’t know scripture. That they were never a Christian to begin with. All too often I would suggest that many atheists know scripture better than many evangelical Christians. In this post while you may not agree with what Valerie says you have to concede she does know her Bible. I wanted to use this post to illustrate that point.


    • Knowledge of the bible widely varies whether the people are believers, agnostic or atheist. I agree that some atheists have better knowledge of the Bible than many christians. I also notice that people in all three groups seem to have their own favorite clobber versus.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I get your point, eagle. If I had my way, all this God talk would be left out of the process. It is unnecessary. I don’t see Trump as an atheist and I certainly think his brand of narcissism is on steroids compared to Obama’s “I know best for you and if you don’t agree you are mean”. He talks down to us while Trumps insults us. :o) I can remember Jeremiah Wright’s hating whitey sermons disappearing from the internet during the first campaign I heard a few of them and was aghast at how blatant they were. Obama’s 20 year pastor/mentor was now an embarrassment if you want to win outside Illinois. It does not change the fact that is who he was for 20 years, either.

    I guess I am missing the point. Campaigners go where votes can be mined and exploited. Liberty should have Bernie into speak next or just forgo the whole enterprise. I certainly would not expect Morehouse to have Trump in to speak.

    The evangelicals are not even a party voting block anymore. The whole dynamic has changed drastically in the last 20 years. A big chunk of evangelicals voted for Clinton twice. A lot of people are still operating off terminology from the 80’s. I was stunned to meet a group of log cabin Republicans a while back who have quite a following that surprised me. Then, in my neck of the woods there are many democrats and blacks who are tea party It is such a chaotic mishmash! I think it is interesting.

    Liberty is operating off a very old paradigm or trying to keep their dream alive. Ronald Reagan would not pass their “Christian” litmus test if they are honest.


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