The Religious Right was born during the ineptitude of the Jimmy Carter presidency and came to maturity during the Bill Clinton years. It got old and feeble during the G.W. Bush years. And now under the Trump presidency, it is nothing but a rotting corpse. The Religious Right was created to be a cure, but it has become a blight.
I was a young preacher back in the 1970s when the Religious Right (as it was dubbed by the media) was birthed. I had recently graduated from what is now the Willmington School of the Bible (named after my dean, teacher and friend, Dr. Harold Willmington—he was the main reason I transferred to the institute) at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. In fact, I was a member of Liberty's first full graduation class in 1975. I knew the Falwell children, Jerry Jr., Jeannie and Jonathan, when they were kids. The school was small then; and the school president, Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr., and I became quite close.
Jerry spoke at my church in Florida several times, and he invited me to be the featured speaker at Liberty more than once. In 1979, Jerry asked me to be the executive director of the Florida Moral Majority, which I was happy to do. I traveled with Jerry several times on his private jet; he and I shared the platform together in several conferences; I was a featured guest on his nationally syndicated Old Time Gospel Hour television broadcast; and Jerry featured me in his national publication, the National Liberty Journal. I accompanied Jerry overseas twice, and we often spoke by phone.
During those years, I met most of the leaders of the Religious Right. I was there when Jerry led the Religious Right to endorse George H.W. Bush as Ronald Reagan's running mate in 1980 (over the strong objections of a few of us). I was at the White House with Jerry on at least two occasions. I had audiences with President Reagan, Vice President Bush, several cabinet members, many U.S. senators, house members and governors. I was one of the young bucks in the room, but I was there.
On my nationally syndicated radio talk show during the 1990s, I interviewed and/or met most of the power elite in the Republican Party. My radio show helped elect dozens of conservatives to national, State and local offices. For those of you who have never read my full biographical sketch, here it is.
I say all of that only to prove my bona fides with the Religious Right. So, know that I am speaking as an insider, not as a critic from the outside.
The first time I remember hearing the word Zionist in public was in 1980. We were at a press conference in Washington, D.C., and a journalist asked Jerry on live television, "Are you a Zionist?" In my young ignorant mind, I remember saying to myself, "No." The thought was still reverberating around in my head when I heard Jerry emphatically say, "Yes." I was confused about it; but I dismissed it to my youth and lack of knowledge. Come to find out many years later, of course, that my initial instinct was 100% right.
The first tarnish on the armor of my mentors in the Religious Right came in 1996, when they overwhelmingly embraced the candidacy of Bob Dole over Pat Buchanan. I was old enough at that point to start standing on my own two feet, and I took that fight to the bitter end. That story, if told in full, is one for the history books—and it forever changed me.
When G.W. Bush came along in 2000, I was skeptical but willing to give him a chance. It didn't take long. After only a few months of Bush's unconstitutional conduct—and especially his pathetic penchant for warmongering—I began taking him to task over my radio talk show and in my syndicated column. My brethren in the Religious Right excoriated me. But by then, I had learned my lesson from '96, and I was man enough to take the heat—which I did for eight long years.
Needless to say, the closeness I had shared with Jerry began to unravel as I refused to complacently go along with my brethren when they compromised principle after principle to stay on Bush's smiley side. But I grew a tough hide and a strong constitution during those years. I now know that those years were only prep school for the Trump years.
Yes, I saw all of this coming for a long time. But I honestly could never have guessed how bad it would get, because no one (at least not me) could foresee the arrival of Donald Trump. I foolishly thought that G.W. Bush was the worst it would be. And by worst, I'm not talking about Bush; I'm talking about the fawning actions and attitudes of the Religious Right toward Bush.
The power elite that control both political parties have completely mastered the Hegelian Dialectic. They have advanced architectural and engineering degrees in the designing and building of the phony left-right paradigm. They are professional propagandists and experts in political manipulation. Tokyo Rose and Joseph Goebbels were rank amateurs compared to these monsters. And Donald Trump is their greatest achievement. He is the Frankenstein who the Religious Right believes is Cinderella.
Many of the original movers and shakers of the Religious Right (RR) are no longer with us, of course. I would like to think that those dear old souls that I remember would be turning over in their graves if they could see what their spiritual posterity has become.
Pastor Robert Jefress is out there telling the nation that if Trump is impeached, it will bring civil war to America (and, of course, our Divider-in-Chief Donald Trump broadcasts Jeffress' idiocy to the world). Jeffress is as irresponsible and foolhardy as they come. (Actually, this impeachment effort by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could wind up being the catalyst to Trump's reelection; and Democrats might rue the day she tried it.)
Jeffress said absolutely nothing about Trump's promotion of "red flag" gun confiscation laws that violate the vast majority of our Bill of Rights, not to mention the very core of God's Natural laws of liberty, but wants to take the country into civil war should the constitutional act of impeachment take place. What a crock! If there is anything that would take our country to civil war it would be attempted gun confiscation. Remember Lexington and Concord? That was ALL ABOUT gun confiscation.
I don't remember anyone calling for civil war when the GOP House of Representatives impeached Bill Clinton with only 5—mark it, 5—Democrats voting yes for impeachment. Talk about pure partisanship. But the good Pastor Jeffress ignores the tyrannical and unconstitutional act of gun confiscation without due process (because Trump is for it) and threatens the nation with civil war over a constitutional act of Congress. This is because Jeffress cares NOTHING for the Constitution and God's Natural laws. All he cares about is protecting Donald Trump and the Republican Party. And Jeffress is not alone.
Convicted felon and televangelist Jim Bakker (yes, he still has a large "Christian" following) is out there telling the world that if Trump loses the election next year, Christian leaders are going to be murdered. (You know things are upside down when I have to quote this article.) Talk about fear mongering; this is it. Then again, the entire RR seems to be motivated by fear and NOT faith these days.
Pat Robertson is out there decrying Trump's withdrawal of some 50 American troops from the Turkish/Syrian border. Trump is not evacuating troops from Syria; he only moved a small contingent of troops away from the border (so American troops would not be harmed) in an apparent deal with Turkey's government, which allows it to attack Syria without risking the lives of American troops. For this, Robertson said that Trump is in danger of "losing the mandate of heaven." Really, Pat?
Robertson also (FINALLY) condemned Trump for aiding and abetting Saudi Arabia's brutal murder of American resident, journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Hooray for that point, Pat. It's a little late, don't you think? You and the rest of the RR sat back on your hypocrisy and said absolutely NOTHING about Trump's tacit approval of the House of Saud's murder of Khashoggi (and tens of thousands of innocent Yemeni people, I might add).
But Robertson—along with the rest of the warmongers in the Republican Party—are suddenly righteously indignant about Trump redeploying (to another part of Syria) 50 troops? Like all of a sudden Trump has become a giant peacenik?
Donald Trump has expanded the Warfare State beyond any of his modern predecessors. He has dropped over 100,000 bombs, killing tens of thousands—maybe over 100,000 innocent people—since taking office. If he is given another term in office, Trump is on a pace to drop more bombs on more innocent people than G.W. Bush and Barack Obama put together. Trump joins those two U.S. presidents as international war criminals and mass murderers, and Pat Robertson goes ballistic over Trump moving 50 troops? Are you kidding?
I'll tell you what this is all about. Robertson and the rest of the RR are rabid, fanatical Zionists. (Yes, as you know, I finally awakened to what that is.) Robertson's rebuke is a shot across the bow of Trump's ship of state warning him to not abandon their idol, Israel, fearing the possibility that he might abandon Syria.
There is only ONE thing over which the RR would abandon Trump. He can do nothing to overturn Roe v Wade, and they will support him; he can enact gun control and even gun confiscation laws, and they will support him; he can partner with gangsters and mob figures, and they will support him; he can explode deficit spending and the national debt, and they will support him. But if they perceive that he might be abandoning Israel—which Trump will NEVER do, as he is an Israeli asset—they will shout it from the housetops.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is incoherence in its rawest form.
Faith and Freedom Coalition founder and RR bigwig Ralph Reed is going to publish a book prior to next year's elections promoting Donald Trump. The original title for the book was Render To God And Trump, which is taken from Matthew 22:21, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." Or, in this case, Trump's. But the title was changed, and the book will be published under the rubric For God And Country: The Christian Case For Trump.
In his book, Reed is going to argue that Christians have a "duty" to defend and vote for Trump. It would not surprise me if Reed made voting for Trump requisite for gaining entrance into Heaven. He's also planning to hire a paid staff of 500 people and a volunteer staff of 5,000 people to knock on doors eight hours a day during 2020 for Trump.
To people such as Reed, politics—excuse me, Republican politics—is their religion. Trump is not a president; he is a savior. And the Republican Party is their church. If you think I'm exaggerating, just go to church with them one Sunday and then go to a GOP rally with them later in the week, and you'll instantly see what I mean.
Franklin Graham is such a radical Trump toady that he is using his father's famous evangelistic platform to travel the country, conducting rallies that are nothing more than an overt effort to move Christians to circle the wagons in support of Trump against potential impeachment. And people call me a political preacher!
The fact is, I am probably the least political preacher you've ever heard. I care nothing about partisan politics. I am consistent in my support of Natural law and constitutionally protected liberties in the face of a Republican challenge as much as I am in the face of a Democrat challenge. This is evidenced by the fact that when a Democrat is in the White House, Democrats hate me; and when a Republican is in the White House, Republicans hate me. Why? Because I tell the truth about both.
Then there is Jerry Falwell Jr. What a disgrace this man is to his father's name! He is photographed carousing in nightclubs (doubtless the oldest man in the joint); he gave his son, Trey (Jerry Falwell III), $4.6 million to buy a gay-friendly/strip club-friendly hostel on Miami Beach; he attacks in vulgar terms evangelical preachers if they don't support Donald Trump strongly enough; and he is embroiled in a mysterious business relationship with a "pool boy" in Miami. And that's just the beginning.
But as one of the most famous and most influential leaders of the RR, Jerry Falwell Jr. is one of Donald Trump's most sycophantic toadies. Why not? They are two peas in a pod.
These men, and hundreds like them, have led America's evangelicals over the cliff of truth and righteousness and into the abyss of putrid political partisanship. Millennial news blogger Jason Charles is right: Evangelicals Have Themselves To Blame For The Political Divide In The U.S.
When Jerry Falwell Sr. and others started the Moral Majority and the Religious Right, I believe their motives were pure. They wanted Christians to stand up for Biblical righteousness, the Natural laws of our Creator codified in the Bill of Rights and the fundamental laws of morality upon which all societies and governments must build in order to survive.
For a while, they were astoundingly successful. But, as so often happens: success ruined them.
After Ronald Reagan's election, the RR married the Republican Party. It quickly stopped being about principles, and it started being about partisan politics. And it didn't take long for the Republican machine to realize that the RR craved attention; it craved popularity; it craved the perks of power. And they swiftly began manipulating the RR into becoming little more than robotic cheerleaders for the GOP.
I well remember another press conference that I attended with the leaders of the RR back in the day. The reporter's question was, "What exactly is it you want?" I thought the question was terrific. It gave us a chance to express some of the basic principles of truth that we believed and what we were all about. What an awesome opportunity. One of the key leaders of the RR back then answered by saying (and this is a quote), "All we want is a seat at the table."
I almost gasped aloud. What? All of this effort, all of this adversity, all of this energy, all of this prayer and fasting was simply to give the leaders of the RR an opportunity to sit at the seat of power? At the time, I thought the answer was one man's opinion. Turns out it wasn't. He was truly speaking for many of them. To be sure, not all of them had this Machiavellian motivation, thank God. But for far, far too many of them, that is exactly what they wanted.
Well, the RR got their seat at the table. And now that Trump is president, it is a front-row seat. And I'm here to tell you, the RR will do almost anything to keep their seat at the table. When they protect Donald Trump, they are protecting themselves.
For almost three years, I have studiously documented the fundamental principles of God's Holy Word, our Creator's Natural Law and the principles of constitutional government that Donald Trump has egregiously and habitually violated. Worse, as far as true born again Christians should be concerned, I have detailed Trump's blatant blasphemies against our wonderful Redeemer and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. I've done so, NOT because I "hate" Donald Trump (no more than I hated Barack Obama or G.W. Bush or Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter when I challenged their unconstitutional conduct) or because I think Hillary Clinton would have made a better president or because I want Donald Trump to lose the 2020 election—or ANYTHING of the sort.
I say these things because almost no one else among the RR (and I was there when it all began) will objectively and honestly say what they all would be shouting from the housetops if Trump were not a Republican. I say it in the hopes that something—SOMETHING—will awaken evangelical preachers to the need of standing on truth and principle regardless of cost, to the need of divorcing themselves from Georg Hegel's evil left/right paradigm charade that is shrouded in the mask of partisan politics and to the need of being the independent truth-seeking, bold and courageous men of God that they are called to be—and to the need of forsaking the lust for self-aggrandizement, for which many are sacrificing the soul of our nation.
I say these things, because I fear that Gary Silverman—a man with whom I would probably disagree with just about everything—was right when he said that the Bible Belt lost God and found Trump.
Trump didn't make America great; neither can he make America great again. God made America great. And only God can save it, much less make it great again. But as long as evangelical Christians (especially pastors) look to politicians—Donald Trump or any other politician (no doubt a Republican)—to make America great, they are unwittingly helping to make America after the similitude of what the Religious Right was originally created to change.
© Chuck Baldwin
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