As Bush implodes from scandal, a German friend asked why poor and middle class Americans voted for him and other Republicans. Two words help explain this discordant phenomenon: Falwell and Robertson. These two religious swindlers would give him a clue about how the super rich work and the soldiers of God steer the USA — and maybe the world — toward destruction. (I almost said Hell.)
In 1967, Reverend Jerry Falwell began his “Christian” reproductive apparatus by founding the Lynchburg Christian Academy. His “academically excellent” and “Christ-centered” K-12 school teaches Christian — Falwellian — lessons. In 1971, Falwell founded Liberty University, an institution of “higher learning” that has 22,000 students from 50 states and 80 nations.
Falwell’s minions condition children from age 3 on. His “Christian” faculty indoctrinates the innocents through their doctorates. They have all committed themselves to Jesus Christ — as Falwell sees and hears Him.
Falwell also publishes the monthly National Liberty Journal, with a circulation of 200,000 and Confidential, a weekly e-mail missile that reaches half a million zealous Christians.
In June 1979, Falwell launched the Moral Majority, an extremist lobbying movement. In two years, the far right Christian movement attracted more than 100,000 clergymen and women plus some seven million more laymen and women. Falwell indoctrinated his flock to oppose abortion, homosexuality and promiscuity. His Bible dictated 100% support for Israel, and ever higher Defense budgets. In 1980, the Moral Majority registered millions of voters for Ronald Reagan’s election.
In 1982, making a film for Dutch television — “Quest for Power: Sketches of the New American Right” — I filmed Reverend Jerry Falwell at the Lynchburg, Virginia, Thomas Road Baptist Church. Hundreds of clean-cut Christians sat in brand new pews. Upstairs a modern TV studio with editing facilities, prepared to televise Reverend Jerry’s sermon.
“Jesus is all the world to me, my life, my joy, my all, he’s my strength from day to day,” sang six young, blond and perfectly coiffed chorus members. “When I am sad,” they crooned in harmony, “he makes me glad. He’s my prayer.” The packaged white bread singers looked as if they had popped serious downers before performing.
Falwell then sermonized to the Old Time Gospel Hour. “God’s plan, God’s ideal, is one man, one woman for a life time,” he smirked. “You can’t improve on that.” (Not like the Jewish fairy tale where a man proposes to a woman, she says “No and he lives happily ever after.)
Falwell’s flock didn’t laugh. They nodded. He talked of “the evil men, those who deny the existence of God, thus have no authority, no code of ethics.” They stared. “One hundred 42 million have died as a result of Marxist Leninism,” he reported, “because men do not know the principles of truth and have been seduced by the “evil man.” He smirked. “I think of Fidel Castro in Cuba. Castro is nothing but the stooge of Brezhnev, exporting revolution through Nicaragua.” Thus, he warned, Satan has “come dangerously close to our borders.”
Outside the church, I asked Falwell how and where he got the 142 million figure.
“That’s the way I calculated it,” he replied. “And they wouldn’t hesitate to double that figure if it suited their purposes. So you know what I think of ’em. Heh Heh” He jumped into his new pick-up truck and drove off.
Falwell never retracted the Castro being Brezhnev’s stooge charge, despite Castro having survived for more than 25 years after Brezhnev croaked and 17 since the Soviets imploded. Falwell also opined: “the Antichrist is probably a Jewish man alive today.” Anti Semitic? No way, says Falwell who backs Israel — especially Israel’s attempts to enlarge its borders.
He shares his pro-Israel and anti-Semitic penchant with fellow televangelist Pat Robertson. International Jewish bankers conspire to overthrow the U.S. government, claimed Robertson in his book, The New World Order. Robertson who founded and hosts the Television Christian Broadcasting Network’s “700 Club” accused Jews and Freemasons of plotting to use occult finance to control Christians. Falwell and Robertson both want what right wing columnist Sam Frances summed up succinctly. “To take power in the United States,” he told me on camera.
Indeed, Falwell’s and Robertson’s Moral Majority shock troops helped elect Presidents and other ultra rightwing Members of the House and Senate since 1980. These religious people saw no sin in making TV ads, sending direct mail and operating phone banks that relayed false messages, like those implying that South Dakota Senator George McGovern was a coward and a homosexual. McGovern flew 35 bomber missions in World War II. He had five children.
Robertson claimed God had ordered him to wage such campaigns to prepare future “Christian” generations to grab religious-based power. On September 13, 2001, two days after fiends hit New York and Washington, Robertson and Falwell talked on Pat’s “700 Club” show. Falwell blamed 9/11 on “pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians.” Robertson tossed in the A.C.L.U. and People for the American Way.
Falwell also claimed God “directed him to initiate an institution of higher learning where academic excellence, athletic competition at the highest level and Judeo-Christian values could co-exist.” In Liberty U’s first 35 years, “we have produced more than 122,000 alumni who are today impacting their communities worldwide. In fact, I continue to be in awe that God chose me to manage such a high calling.” (Falwell speech, Liberty U news release August 18, 2006)
Pat Robertson founded Regent University. Robertson bragged that his school has placed 150 graduates inside the Bush administration. Monica Goodling, newly discovered in the Attorneygate scandal, got her degree from Robertson’s low ranked law school. Without knowledge of law, she found herself as top aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. As such, she played a role in firing eight U.S. attorneys.
As emails revealed her role in ousting U.S. Attorneys, she invoked her Fifth Amendment rights and refused to testify to Congress. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft holds the Distinguished Professor of Law and Government chair at Robertson’s Law School.
Bush’s political managers found in Regent and Liberty a collection of disciplined soldiers, waiting to launch war against liberals. Karl Rove found Kay Coles James, a former Regent Dean, a perfect Director of the Office of Personnel Management. James used her office to attack unions and any other institution that had the Democratic Party stamp.
James left government in 2005 to work for Mitchell Wade, who admitted bribing Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham. (Max Blumenthal, HuffingtonPost.com. April 13, 2007) James’ work for a briber doesn’t stop her from appearing regularly on Dr. James Dobson’s “Focus on the Family” show. Dobson, like Falwell and Robertson, dismisses evolution, and fixates on gay marriage, which he compares to Pearl Harbor in gravity. His fight against such sin is “America’s new D-Day.” (Michael Crowley, Slate, November 12, 2004)
Dobson, Falwell and Robertson, we now know, supplied Bush with personnel for sensitive government posts. In 2005, Robertson “a man of God” called for assassinating Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Did Bush agree?
After all, the theological progeny of Falwell and Robertson decided recent elections. Logically their elite members populate the Bush government; political payback and ideological obeisance. For the more desperate of these zealous Christians, Bush has less than two years to deliver Armageddon and of course The Rapture. Falwell and Robertson turned out their massive and programmed flock to canvas. They turned out millions of voters to vote the way Jesus would have voted.
Jesus did convert people like Paul, a murderer, but what could he have done about someone with the warped upbringing and disingenuous character of George W. Bush? After drinking and drug taking, failures and humiliations, W sobered up and joined the gun-loving Jesus cult of Falwell and Robertson.
“I guess I just don’t understand America,” my German friend replied. I sent him what Ray Stevens wrote after watching TV.
This man was preachin’ at me, yeah, layin’ on the charm
askin’ me for twenty, with ten-thousand on his arm.
He wore designer clothes, and a big smile on his face
tellin’ me salvation while they sang Amazin’ Grace.
Askin’ me for money, when he had all the signs of wealth.
I almost wrote a check out, yeah, then I asked myself
Would Jesus be political if He came back to earth?
Have His second home in Palm Springs, yeah, and try to hide His worth?
Take money, from those poor folks, when He comes back again,
and admit He’s talked to all them preachers who say they been a talkin’ to Him?
Would He wear a pinky ring, would He drive a brand new car?
Would His wife wear furs and diamonds, would His dressin’ room have a star?
If He came back tomorrow, well there’s somethin’ I’d like to know
Would Jesus wear a Rolex on His television show?
Landau will screen his film and talk about his new book in Portland, Oregon on Saturday May 12th and in Olympia, Washington on May 14. See the CounterPunch Events page for details.