Considering Christian Nationalism. How Franklin Graham and Robert Jeffress Are Nothing But Fluffers

On June 1, 2020 a political stunt was staged in Washington, D.C. Protesters in Lafayette Square were attacked, tear gassed and beaten so the President can have a photo op in front of St. John’s Church. While many remained shocked court evangelicals like Robert Jeffress and Franklin Graham responded with awe and approved of the use of violence. Christian nationalism keeps going further and further into the sewer and in trying to analyze the court evangelicals this blog states that Franklin Graham and Robert Jeffress should be thought of as fluffers.

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

Abraham Lincoln 

“You shall have no other gods before[a] me.

Exodus 20:3 ESV

The movie poster for the pornographic film classic Deep Throat in the 1970’s. 

Washington Post video on the Battle of Lafayette Square 

The unrest and protesters that came out of Minneapolis, Minnesota swept the United States. As I write this post I remain stunned by the scope of the protests and have realized that every city that I once called home from California to Montana to Wisconsin to the Washington, D.C. area has had protests. But on June 1, 2020 something happened that was incredibly dark. And the way some evangelicals responded became equally disturbing. On June 1, 2020 protesters were peacefully protesting George Floyd’s death in Lafayette Square. Then Park Police and other law enforcement used tear gas and stun grenades on protesters. Some were beaten by law enforcement. And this was done so that President Trump could have a photo op in front of St. John Church. An Episcopal Priest was overrun and tear gassed in the process. A number of people were arrested, and an Australian press crew was hurt enough that the Australian government raised it diplomatically.  

 

How Robert Jeffress and Franklin Graham Reacted 

However inside evangelicalism those who are involved in Christian nationalism and their culture wars reacted to the violence with joy. The Atlantic interviewed Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas. This is what was said in the magazine. 

A few hours after the dystopian spectacle, I spoke on the phone with Robert Jeffress, a Dallas megachurch pastor and indefatigable Trump ally. He sounded almost gleeful.

“I thought it was completely appropriate for the president to stand in front of that church,” Jeffress told me. “And by holding up the Bible, he was showing us that it teaches that, yes, God hates racism, it’s despicable—but God also hates lawlessness.”

“So,” he added, “I’m happy.”

Other court evangelicals also approved with the use of force. You can read the entire story in, “The Christians Who Loved Trump’s Stunt.” 

On Facebook Franklin Graham also praised the action of how peaceful protesters were tear gassed and beaten. Here is what Franklin Graham said on June 3, 2020.

Our country has erupted in chaos. Everyone agrees that what happened to George Floyd was a terrible tragedy that should not have happened and should never happen again. But what has taken place with these riots is also a heartbreaking disaster for so many and for our nation.
 
I was asked if I was offended by the President walking out of the White House, which is his back yard, and walking over to St. John’s Church. Offended? Not at all. This made an important statement that what took place the night before in the burning, looting, and vandalism of the nation’s capital—including this historic house of worship—mattered, and that the lawlessness had to end.
 
And I’m not offended that he held up the Bible—as a matter of fact, I was encouraged! I appreciate it. I believe that God’s Word is the only hope for each individual and for our nation. The problem we are facing in this country is a spiritual and moral problem. New laws and more government give-away programs are not the answer. It’s a heart problem, and only God can change the human heart.
 
I’m disappointed that some of the President’s harshest critics about going to the church were clergy. They have publicly (to the media) criticized the President for walking to the church and for holding up the Bible. That’s unbelievable. They should be thanking him rather than criticizing him! They are nitpicking his gesture, also saying he should have prayed while he was there. So critical. Well, maybe they should invite him back and pray for him as he leads this country through a very difficult time in our history.
 
I call on all pastors, regardless of denomination, race, or political persuasion, to join hands and join hearts in praying for our nation, that God would give wisdom to our leaders—our mayors, our governors, our President Donald J. Trump, and also our law enforcement. The God of the Bible is our only hope.

 

How Robert Jeffress and Franklin Graham are Fluffers

When this situation with Christian nationalism is all over I plan to sit down and compose a missive of what I have learned about evangelicalism. But I remain stunned about how they have embraced violence even to the point of undermining the teaching and beliefs of God. What I am about to say next I predict will be one of my most controversial statements here at The Wondering Eagle. But the fact of the matter is that Christian nationalism has no bottom. Just when you think it can’t get any lower it does. And in trying to analyze and describe it a thought popped in my head as I was reading that Atlantic magazine article. Its also a term that is used in the urban dictionary. So with that said let me proceed. 

Who here knows what a fluffer is? A fluffer is someone who worked in the pornographic industry. During the Golden Age of Porn from 1969 to 1984 the fluffer worked at helping keep the male porn actor sexually aroused and erect. The fluffer was essential at one point in the porn business.In time Viagra would render that person obsolete.  As sets and filming would stop and cameras re-arranged the fluffer worked at keeping the porn actor sexually erect and ready for the next scene. A news magazine in Australia explains more about it. So what does fluffer mean in the context of Christian nationalists? Well Christian nationalists pursue power at any and all costs. They don’t care about anything than being close to power and being about to flatter the President. In the case of the court evangelicals who fully embrace Christian nationalism I think people like Robert Jeffress and Franklin Graham should be thought of as fluffers. Just as on a porn set a fluffer would play to and keep the male actor sexually excited. In the world of Christian nationalism with the President at the center I think Robert Jeffress and Franklin Graham  are fluffers. They are helping to keep the president stimulated and boost his ego and they do it for power. The one difference I would propose is that the porn actor in this example has more character and morals that Robert Jeffress or Franklin Graham. Is it any wonder why Jesus had so much contempt for the religious and not the broken and downtrodden. In this case Jesus would probably hang out with the fluffer and the porn crew, more so then the religious crowd. 

 

If a Tiananmen Square Protest was Put Down in Washington, D.C. Robert Jeffress and Franklin Graham Would Most Likely Still Approve  

As being fluffers to what length would they go? How far will they go? Its this blog’s belief in their drunken pursuit of power they will defend the president for anything and everything. Just as a meth addict gets his high, people like Franklin Graham and Robert Jeffress will get their high from being close to political power. To make my point let me ask a question. Who here remembers the June 4, 1989 Tiananman Square protests that were brutally put down by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. In their pursuit of power if such an act of violence happened in the United States, I would predict that Franklin Graham and Robert Jeffress would be excited and they would defend the president – even if there was a large loss of life in the thousands. If such an event happened Robert Jeffress and Franklin Graham would be fluffers continuing to arouse the president. 

 

Let’s be Honest Robert Jeffress and Franklin Graham are Lost and How Ordinary Evangelicals are Implicated 

I have pushed back from evangelicalism but I am wondering when will many evangelicals consider Franklin Graham and Robert Jeffress to be spiritually lost? Why do people consider them to be Christians is something that honestly astounds me. In this case how and why do some people even respect them? Is it cognitive dissonance inside evangelicalism? Now here is where normal every day evangelicals are indicted in the view of this blog. How many know what Operation Christmas Child is? How many know what Samaritans Purse is? How many churches do Operation Christmas Child? Almost everyone that I once called home support and use those programs. The support regular evangelicals are providing Franklin Graham’s ministries is helping to keep him afloat. This needs to be talked about as well as a part of evangelical culture.  I would never call regular evangelicals fluffers. That would be inappropriate and warped. That is a special term that this blog will use for court evangelicals Robert Jeffress and Franklin Graham and others like them. But by continuing to support such ministries evangelicals become part of the problem. 

 

18 thoughts on “Considering Christian Nationalism. How Franklin Graham and Robert Jeffress Are Nothing But Fluffers

  1. I, for one, have no problem with your using the term ‘fluffer’. I am no expert in Hebrew, but every commentary I have read says that the language Ezekiel used in his book to describe Israel’s infidelity to God is blatantly sexual to the point of being pornographic. So, if God’s prophet was justified in using that kind of language 2500 years ago, you have nothing to be ashamed of in using it now.

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    • I understand in the original language, Ezekiel has the dirtiest mouth of any of the Prophets. And that this got seriously lost in translation. (If not bowdlerized so as not to offend professional Christians.)

      Remember Ezekiel 23:20? “Cocks like donkeys and Cum like horses?”
      And more commentaries on its “symbolic meaning” than Song of Solomon?
      (I would really like to see “Ezekiel 23:20” on a sign held up on-camera like the “John 3:16 guy”…)

      My writing partner (the burned-out country preacher) thinks that Ezekiel may have been schizophrenic; some of the stuff he’s recorded as doing doesn’t sound like a guy who’s head is wrapped all that tight. Maybe God chose a crazy man to (in the words of a local band) “Speak to the Wise with the voice of Insanity”?

      Liked by 1 person

    • My source for this one is questionable (one of the cable documentary channels before they went full tabloid), but you remember Balaam and his talking donkey?

      According to that source, when the donkey talks back, the expression in the original Hebrew has sexual overtones. Like whoever’s telling the story is saying “You want to know the type of man Balaam ben Beor is? He’d screw his own donkey if you waved enough money in his face!”

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  2. Can you show that Robert Jeffress or Franklin Graham actually believe that the protesters were peaceful? The statements quoted in this post are about Trump grandstanding in front of a church, not about the clearing of protesters. The US Park Police said that the protesters on Monday were not peaceful, and Attorney General Barr said he was there and personally witnessed the protesters use violence against the police.

    If, as the WAPO timeline linked here claims, the protesters were throwing things at the police, then they were no longer peaceful. If a crowd is a mix of peaceful and non-peaceful protesters, then once the police announce 3 times over loudspeakers that they are clearing the park, anyone who remains is no longer a peaceful protester.

    Trump’s actual speech was excellent:

    “All Americans were rightly sickened and revolted by the brutal death of George Floyd,” Trump said, adding that “For George and his family, justice will be served. He will not have died in vain. But we cannot allow the righteous cries of peaceful protesters to be drowned out by an angry mob.

    “The biggest victims of the rioting are the peace-loving citizens in our poorest communities. And as their president, I will fight to keep them safe.

    “I will fight to protect you. I am your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters,” Trump said.

    It astonishes and appalls me that of all people, Trump is the grownup in this situation.

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    • Peter the protesters in Lafayette Square were largely peaceful. In the way they were attacked and disbursed an Episcopal priest was gassed and an Australian journalist was attacled. The Australian government raised the issue with the United States through diplomatic channels.

      Jeffress and Graham both supported the use of violence. And even when the government misled or tried to downplay the use of tear gas, they supported the action. So Graham and Jeffress are no longer committed to truth either.

      Again they are a fluffer.

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      • Peter the protesters in Lafayette Square were largely peaceful.

        Prior to the violence, I agree. Once some of them start throwing things at police, the rightful duty of the peaceful protesters is to withdraw. Any who remain at that point are no longer peaceful. Some of them may not have intentionally chosen to shelter the violent protesters in their midst — one article I read made it seem like the Episcopal minister was off to the side, and possibly not paying attention — but that doesn’t change the fact. By accident or intent, they were sheltering the violent protesters in their midst, and needed to obey the lawful commands of the police.

        Yes, it isn’t fair that a few bad apples can spoil a protest for the majority. But they can, do, and have been, and in some cases, this is exactly the goal: to make it look like the police are attacking “mostly peaceful” people.

        Jeffress and Graham both supported the use of violence.

        If the protesters were violent as WAPO claims, then it is right to support police use of violence against them. But these quotes don’t have Jeffress and Graham supporting or opposing the violence; they address the photo op, not the violence that preceded it. The Jeffress quote came “a few hours” later; he may not even have known about the clearance controversy by that point (I didn’t learn about it until the next day.) The closest that Graham gets to addressing the clearance is when he says “But what has taken place with these riots is also a heartbreaking disaster for so many and for our nation.” I took that to be addressing the larger situation.

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  3. I was troubled by pretty much everything with the photo op and all the events that led up to it. I think I was especially troubled by the stern-faced wordless brandishing of the Bible like a weapon. If he really wanted to make a point that the Bible is God’s Word to us, and the message of hope and guidance (which I, and millions of other Christians, faithfully believe it to be), then at least open it and share a verse or two. Give it some context. But the way it was done, the Bible was absolutely used merely as a holier-than-thou prop to get the evangelical base fired up.

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    • I think I was especially troubled by the stern-faced wordless brandishing of the Bible like a weapon. … But the way it was done, the Bible was absolutely used merely as a holier-than-thou prop to get the evangelical base fired up.

      AND IT WORKED.

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    • Was it brandishing the Bible that got them fired up, or was it the fact that he was standing in front of a church that antifa tried to burn down? I think the WW2 memorial, also defaced by rioters, probably would have been as effective a site, at least to me, but maybe I am not the target audience.

      Since politician appeals to religiosity don’t work on me, I probably discount the impact that brandishing a Bible has on others. (I’m just as susceptible to Typical Mind Fallacy — thinking that everyone thinks like me — as anybody else.) Last week we had different politicians from different sides brandishing Bibles, and I just dismiss it as pandering, because that’s what politicians do. I picture an aide saying “be sure to wave the Bible around, the flyover rubes eat that stuff up.”

      OTOH, and I don’t say this because I think it is true, but: what would it look like if Trump actually was starting to move towards God? He doesn’t have the experience of decades of cultural Christianity to teach him, for example, how normal people hold Bibles when they go to church. I wouldn’t expect it to cause him to suddenly change a bunch of his political positions, because he’s got Christians telling him that they agree with those positions. It looks like his “spiritual advisor” is Paula White, which is about what I would expect given his personality, sadly. If Trump was starting to take God seriously, I would expect him to position himself as on the side of Christians, which he seems to be trying to appear to do.

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      • I can’t see into someone’s heart, so all I have to go on is someone’s words and actions. I have a hard time seeing a personal move towards God based on his words and actions. A political calculation, for sure, trading some evangelical wish list items and using their language in exchange for their absolute total electoral and political support. But personal? I have a hard time seeing it from someone who maintains he has no need for repentance, thrives on settling scores and nursing grudges, relentlessly demonizes large swaths of the country he is supposed to be leading, and doesn’t seem to have absorbed any Biblical input beyond his favorite “an eye for an eye.” And while he has evangelical advisors, they seem to be merely advising him on what they want and how he should “play the game” to keep the evangelical political base in line. He does not tolerate anyone in his presence who is not willing to constantly flatter him with praise, and so that is all they do. Can you honestly imagine any of these evangelical advisors suggesting to him that he is off-base on something, much less challenging him on any position or statement? Far from it, they flatter him and tell him he is God’s man for such a moment, and praise him unceasingly. I am often suspicious when politicians use religion, but in his case I dismiss any Christian reference he makes as being anything other than a prop and a political calculation.

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      • I also find it extraordinarily revealing that a SBC pastor like Robert Jeffress would normally have little common ground or anything positive to say about a health/wealth prosperity teacher like Paula White, but mutual political love of Trump apparently erases those theological distinctions and leads to these folks endorsing each other’s books. I find that a revealing indication of the relative positions of politics and theology on their hierarchies of importance…

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      • If Trump were to cure cancer, the haters would still go after him for putting doctors and scientists out of a job. I don’t have a problem with a bible photo OP, because i think the gesture has meaning to put a historical context to it, that the church is known as the president’s church, which goes back in history several years, historically, and that history was set on fire.

        It boggles my mind as to why people are having a difficult time with this photo OP. Including the military generals. Especially the military generals.

        The military that i was in was overwhelmingly Christian. Overwhelmingly Republican. Overwhelmingly conservative. Overwhelmingly brave. What the hell happened to the country i grew up in? It’s gone.

        The 80s called. They want us back. We all got along in those days, and MTV actually played music videos.

        Ed Chapman

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