If you’ve been awake anytime in the past 24 hours, you’ve probably heard about the interview Jerry Falwell, Jr. recently gave to The Washington Post about why he thinks supporting Trump is a moral decision. In that interview, Falwell says:
“Why have Americans been able to do more to help people in need around the world than any other country in history? It’s because of free enterprise, freedom, ingenuity, entrepreneurism and wealth. A poor person never gave anyone a job. A poor person never gave anybody charity, not of any real volume. It’s just common sense to me.”
Since then, the Huffington Post, Relevant Magazine, and others have taken Falwell to task about some of his statements. But I find them quite illuminating. See, when Falwell talks about poor people, I think he’s really talking about himself. Case in point:
Jerry Falwell is a poor person because he doesn’t possess the things that truly enrich a Christian’s life: grace, mercy and compassion.
Jerry Falwell is a poor person because he believes great charity can only be achieved by great wealth…when Jesus said it would be easier for a camel to enter a needle’s eye than for a rich person to enter heaven (Matt. 19:24).
Jerry Falwell is a poor person because he thinks “volume” is a more important measure in charity than “quality” or “sincerity.” Jerry Falwell just insulted every person of limited means who has ever supported his ministry. Also, see Luke 21:1-4.
Jerry Falwell is a poor person because he doesn’t understand that the Kingdom of God is both what lives within us and what we’re building here, now, in the name of Jesus. And that means nationalism should probably come in second (or, ideally, not at all).
Jerry Fallwell is a poor person because he conveniently forgets that while Jesus did indeed say to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” it was Caesar’s government who later executed him. (But supposedly, that’s what God wanted to happen, so I guess murdering the sinless Son of God is cool now.)
Jerry Falwell is a poor person because he praises the morality of Trump increasing employment for people of color while sitting as president of a school founded largely to preserve racial segregation for white Christian students. (Did he claim that it was moral to support our nation’s first black president, for example? No. Quite the opposite, in fact.)
Jerry Falwell is a poor person because he believes high minority employment is the real indicator of a person’s racial attitude, not calling Mexicans rapists or historically denying housing to Black people.
Jerry Falwell is a poor person because he doesn’t understand that healthy, ethical policy decisions can only proceed from healthy, ethical people. Or maybe he does and just doesn’t care. That would make him an even poorer person.
Jerry Falwell is a poor person because he claims in one breath that America is not and should not be a theocracy, yet says in the next that people who don’t support the leader HE thinks is best for the country are immoral. (This knife don’t cut both ways, Chief.)
Jerry Falwell is a poor person because he rationalizes that which is convenient over standing by one’s principles.
Jerry Falwell is a poor person because he cannot fathom how a raging narcissist with totalitarian fantasies might ever do anything to offend him or cause him to withdraw his support.
Jerry Falwell is a poor person because he spent all of the 80s and 90s insisting that “character counts” in political leadership, then deeply damaged the faith and trust of countless Christian youth by discarding that message as soon as it became expedient to do so. And he has yet to even acknowledge this, let alone apologize for it.
Jerry Falwell is a poor person because he has sold his Christian birthright for the mess of pottage that is Trumpism. And he doesn’t even see how this is a problem.
Hmm. I seem to remember Jesus teaching his disciples that the lady who gave her two copper coins gave more than all the others that day, because she gave out of what she had to live on. One of the problems with ease and wealth is that the recipient tends to forget that one is blessed, for no particular reason, by grace, and that one is neither “elected” nor “entitled” to this blessing any more than any other of God’s children. Another nice little Christian aphorism that should get more airtime is “the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away”-we arrive on this earth naked and with nothing and we leave in much the same state, accompanied only by the record of our deeds. A worthwhile reflection at the beginning of this New Year!
One of the published responses to the interview referenced Jesus’ teaching on the widow’s mite. I almost mentioned it, but went with the camel instead.
Well, it certainly LOOKS as though the camel teaching applies to Mr Falwell, but I wouldn’t like to judge…😉
Wow. Let’s follow this through. Jesus gave his disciples work to do…. and now Jerry Falwell rewrites the gospels to present Jesus as a secret rich Dude. The rich man with the poor man at the gate turns out to be the one who got to heaven…silly Jesus telling this the wrong way round. The gospel according to Falwell even rewrites the Sermon on the Mount. Thanks Jerry. Now we can all store up riches on earth and know that Saint Jerry will intercede on our behalf.
April, I always appreciate your incisive writing, and I agree with all your points about JF Jr.’s poverty. But I do think it’s important to point out that Jerry Falwell Jr. has never really had a “ministry.” He was a lawyer and then head of Liberty, not an evangelist or TV preacher or morality lobbyist like his father – so I think what you’ve said about the 80’s/90’s, insulting people who supported his ministry, etc. applies more to JF Senior, not Junior.
Hi April. Still love you—for just you. I just wish this current national nightmare had some visible ending.
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