Okay, class, today we’ll start with a pop quiz: Who said all of the following?

“The idea that religion and politics don’t mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country.”

“I hope I can see the day when, as early in the country, we won’t have any public schools.”

“So-called gays would just as soon kill you as look at you.”

“The true Negro does not want integration.”

“This is probably as bad a day as the court has had on social issues since Roe v Wade.”

Pat yourself on the back if you answered Jerry Falwell, the founder of the Moral Majority and Liberty University. (You get extra credit if you read these quotes without barfing.)

What got me to thinking about Jerry Falwell was the recent article in “Politico” about his son, Jerry Falwell, Jr., the current President of Liberty University. Over a dozen current and former administrators have blown the whistle on Junior. Here are some tidbits from the takedown: “It’s a dictatorship … . Fear is his most powerful weapon … . He has directed university resources into projects and real estate deals in which his friends and his family stand to make personal gain … . We’re not a school, we’re a real estate hedge fund.”

Hmmm….that sounds a lot like a certain other President we’ve come to know: Donald J. Trump. Come to think of it, Trump and Jerry Falwell, Jr are big buddies. Call it a bromance. Here’s what Junior had to say about Trump in the lead-up to the 2016 election. “Evangelicals who don’t support Trump may be immoral…..I just see how Donald Trump treats other people and I am impressed by that … . I see a lot of parallels between my father and Donald Trump.” (TIME OUT: Reread the quotes at the start of this piece.)

Trump, in turn, has spoken several times at Liberty University; in fact, that’s where he made his infamous “Corinthians Two” misstep. He even gave a speech on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day there during which he spent most of his time trashing his political opponents and congratulating himself on the size of the crowd.

So, do you get the picture? One can draw a very straight line between Jerry Falwell, Sr. and his son and the political strategy and administration of Donald Trump. The courting of white Christian evangelical voters began with the election of George W. Bush. Trump, abetted by right-wing, self-dealing “Christian” leaders like Jerry Falwell, Jr., has just taken it up a notch. Incidentally, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, daughter of pro-segregationist George Wallace, also sees parallels between her father’s rallies and Trump’s. “The two greatest motivators at Dad’s rallies were fear and hate. There was no policy solution, just white middle class anger.”

Trump has filled his administration with people like Steven Miller, whose white nationalist philosophy suggests agreement with Jerry Falwell’s quotes at the outset of this piece. Betsy Devos, Secretary of Education, has tried to minimize the influence of public education. The appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court underscores this administration’s anti-abortion stance.

Paula White, Trump’s bankruptcy-hardened “spiritual advisor” and a thrice-divorced proponent of prosperity theology, was recently brought to the White House to head Trump’s “Faith Initiative.” An unabashed self-promoter, White has said, “When I walk on White House grounds, God walks on White House grounds.” Southern Baptist theologian and ethicist Russell D. Moore said, ‘Paula White is a charlatan and recognized as a heretic by every orthodox Christian, of whatever tribe.” She’ll fit right in with this cozy cabal of “Christian” grifters.

Let’s close then, class, with a question for everyone, especially those who reluctantly pushed the lever for Trump in 2016: Do any of these thoughts give you pause about your support of Donald Trump for reelection in 2020? Just wondering.

David Treadwell, a Brunswick writer, welcomes commentary and suggestions for future “Just a Little Old” columns. [email protected]

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