Time To Backtrack: “God’s Bullies” at 40

Perry Deane Young (March 27, 1941 – January 1, 2019) was an author and a playwright.  He wrote several books of note such as Two Of The Missing (1975), about two journalists lost during the Vietnam occupation; The David Kopay Story (1977); and God’s Bullies: Power, Politics and Religious Tyranny (1982), an expose on the rise and entwining of fundamentalist christianity and republican politics.  Young was openly gay in the 1970s also wrote Lesbians and Gays and Sports (1994) along with the Kopay book.  Too bad he didn’t (or why didn’t he?) write about Trans people in sports.

God’s Bullies is worth a read (or re-reading for those who already have) and can be found on the Internet Archive’s Open Library.  It’s an expose on the hypocrisy, the creation of “wedge issues”, distractions, the violation of cult and state and cultist interference in politics without any consequences (despite being illegal), the greed, the fanaticism and their goals.  If you compare the subjects of Young’s book then and the far right now, the only difference is TPTB used to be closeted homosexuals, while today they’re pro-rape and pro-child abuse heterosexuals.

This review of Young’s book is irreverant but accurate, taking as much glee in talking about Young’s book as Young did in writing it.  But the REALLY juicy part is that Young was spot on with every accusation, as the links that follow prove:

Perry Deane Young says that the leadership of the Moral Majority and the New Right is made up of liars, bunko artists, closet queens and fanatical Roman Catholics. His proofs are sometimes sketchy and his tactics are often low, so God’s Bullies is a lot of fun to read.

Young is a Washington-based journalist writing for all the majors. He’s also a progressive, a homosexual, and a born southerner who has rejected his bible-thumping heritage. In short, he couldn’t be any more of an embodiment of everything the Moral Majority stands against if he were making pornographic abortion films for the Red Chinese.

It stands to reason that Young takes the Moral Majority personally. God’s Bullies is not so much an expose as a personal crusade. Fighting fire with fire and brimstone with brimstone, Young uses innuendo, libellous slander, unsubstantiated rumour and ad hominem jokes in his attack. Not exactly unbiased journalism, but deliciously smarmy.

While it woud be unsporting to give away all of Young’s secrets here, a few examples are in order. Just to whet your appetite.

For example, Young says NCPAC’s Terry Dolan is a closet queen. He says he knows because they have a mutual friend. He also claims that “at least ten prominent republicans” party all the time with his gay Washington friends, and that the New Right is riddled with financial backers and strategists grouped into clubs like the RPQs (Rich & Powerful Queens) and the TRF (Thirteen Richest Fairies). He also faithfully reproduces the best of the Bob Bauman jokes (born on the Eastern Shore, reared in Washington, head of the Oral Majority). Young doesn’t care that they’re gay, but he hates them for being hypocritical about it.

Jerry Falwell, Young claims, is guilty of tax fraud. He says he knows because he was shown land records in Falwell’s hometown of Lynchburg, Virginia, proving that Falwell is developing millions of dollars of commercial property as tax-exempt church or school property.

While the leadership in the Moral Majority is mostly Southern Baptist, Young says, the real power behind the heavenly throne is all fanatical roman catholics. Their religion has turned them into mindless naysayers who abhor traditional american values of free thought and speech. Phyllis Schlafly and Terry Dolan are just the tip of the papist iceberg.

Much, much more below the fold.

Fanatical catholic Dolan later parted ways with the “moral majority”:

NCPAC’s Dolan Quoted As Endorsing Gay Rights

March 18, 1982

John T. (Terry) Dolan, chairman of the National Conservative Political Action Committee, has split with much of the political and religious right over gay rights in a wide-ranging interview with a gay magazine.

Dolan, one of the New Right’s most vocal spokesmen, is quoted as saying he would support a law prohibiting the federal government from discriminating against homosexuals, that he opposes zoning laws to keep gay bars out of neighborhoods, that he doesn’t think homosexuals should be barred from the military or teaching in public schools, and that “the rhetoric that some of my friends in the right have used on gay activism has been excessive.”

In the interview to be published in the March 26 issue of The Advocate, a California-based magazine, Dolan also criticizes New Right groups that have used the gay-rights issue to raise money and apologizes for NCPAC’s having done it.

Terry Dolan died of AIDS in 1986.  I wonder how he contracted it.

Cofounder of NCPAC John (Terry) Dolan Dies

December 31, 1986

John Terrence (Terry) Dolan, 36, cofounder of the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC), an influential organization that supported conservatives and financed campaigns against liberal candidates for national office, died of congestive heart failure Dec. 28 at his home in Washington. He had acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Mr. Dolan was among the first to recognize the significance of court interpretations of post-Watergate election spending regulations. These placed no limit on the amount of money an independent organization or individual could spend on a political campaign provided it had no direct affiliation with the candidate.

He helped found NCPAC in 1975 “to promote the election of conservative candidates to Congress,” and he was president of the organization until about six months ago. He reached the peak of his influence in the election of 1980, when NCPAC’s efforts helped the Republicans win control of the Senate for the first time in 25 years.

Jerry Falwell may have died without ever being charged or convicting for his actions, but we all know what happened to his son: the sex scandals, the financial misappropriations, etc.  It was delicious to watch his fall from power.

‘Someone’s Gotta Tell the Freakin’ Truth’: Jerry Falwell’s Aides Break Their Silence

At Liberty University, all anyone can talk about is Jerry Falwell Jr. Just not in public.

“When he does stupid stuff, people will mention it to others they consider confidants and not keep it totally secret,” a trusted adviser to Falwell, the school’s president and chancellor, told me. “But they won’t rat him out.”

That’s beginning to change.

Over the past year, Falwell, a prominent evangelical leader and supporter of President Donald Trump, has come under increasing scrutiny. News outlets have reported on business deals by Liberty University benefiting Falwell’s friends. Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen claimed that he had helped Falwell clean up racy “personal” photographs.

Based on scores of new interviews and documents obtained for this article, concerns about Falwell’s behavior go well beyond that—and it’s causing longtime, loyal Liberty University officials to rapidly lose faith in him.

Jerry Falwell Jr.’s father in law was convicted of tax fraud for the things Young mentioned in his book:

Falwell Jr.s’ Father in law convicted of tax fraud

October 6th 2015

Jerry Falwell Jr.’s father-in-law will spend 32 months in prison.

Prosecutors say he spent decades committing tax fraud.

A federal judge sentenced Tom Tilley, who is 80, for his involvement in a scheme to evade paying federal income taxes.

Federal prosecutors released a statement saying the landowner engaged in, “complex schemes” to impede the administration and to “enrich themselves and not pay their fair share.”

The judge in his statement said, “No one is above the law and Mr. Tilley will pay a heavy price for his criminal conduct.”

The judge ordered Tilley to pay more than 7 million dollars back in restitution to the IRS.

According to Liberty University, The Tilleys Tom and his wife Iris, donated $250,000 dollars to help build the Tilley Student Center that opened in 2008 at Campus North.

Court documents show that from 1993 to at least 2010, Tilley sent the IRS fraudulent financial documents in order to discharge his debt and that he failed to file his taxes despite earning substantial income.

Young points out in his book that fundamentalist christians like Falwell weren’t too concerned in the 1960s and 1970s about abortion.  As seen below, many of them were actually in favour of legal abortion.  What they were all adamantly in favour of thouugh, was segregation.  Falwell’s church was “whites only” until legal action in the early 1970s.

Racist segregation of Black people may no longer be possible.  But the far right segregation of Transgender and Non-Binary people of today is predicated on the same false and hateful claims (“THEY are predators and rapists!”, whether Black men or Trans women).

Here are two pieces by Randall Balmer at Politico, the first from May 2014:

The Real Origins of the Religious Right

They’ll tell you it was abortion. Sorry, the historical record’s clear: It was segregation.

May 27, 2014

One of the most durable myths in recent history is that the religious right, the coalition of conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists, emerged as a political movement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion. The tale goes something like this: Evangelicals, who had been politically quiescent for decades, were so morally outraged by Roe that they resolved to organize in order to overturn it.

This myth of origins is oft repeated by the movement’s leaders. In his 2005 book, Jerry Falwell, the firebrand fundamentalist preacher, recounts his distress upon reading about the ruling in the Jan. 23, 1973, edition of the Lynchburg News: “I sat there staring at the Roe v. Wade story,” Falwell writes, “growing more and more fearful of the consequences of the Supreme Court’s act and wondering why so few voices had been raised against it.” Evangelicals, he decided, needed to organize.

Some of these anti- Roe crusaders even went so far as to call themselves “new abolitionists,” invoking their antebellum predecessors who had fought to eradicate slavery.

But the abortion myth quickly collapses under historical scrutiny. In fact, it wasn’t until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools. So much for the new abolitionism.

And the second from May 2022:

The Religious Right and the Abortion Myth

White evangelicals in the 1970s didn’t initially care about abortion. They organized to defend racial segregation in evangelical institutions — and only seized on banning abortion because it was more palatable than their real goal.


On the face of it, Samuel Alito’s draft decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, published by POLITICO last week, represents a vindication for the Religious Right, the culmination of nearly five decades of working to outlaw abortion. “I don’t know if this report is true,” said evangelist Franklin Graham of the draft opinion overturning abortion rights, “but if it is, it is an answer to many years of prayer.”

The history of that movement, however, is more complicated. White evangelicals in the 1970s did not mobilize against Roe v. Wade, which they considered a Catholic issue. They organized instead to defend racial segregation in evangelical institutions, including Bob Jones University.

To suggest otherwise is to perpetrate what I call the abortion myth, the fiction that the genesis of the Religious Right — the powerful evangelical political movement that has reshaped American politics over the past four decades — lay in opposition to abortion.

The historical record is clear. In 1968, Christianity Today, the flagship magazine of evangelicalism, organized a conference with the Christian Medical Society to discuss the morality of abortion. The gathering attracted 26 heavyweight theologians from throughout the evangelical world, who debated the matter over several days and then issued a statement acknowledging the ambiguities surrounding the issue, which, they said, allowed for many different approaches.

“Whether the performance of an induced abortion is sinful we are not agreed,” the statement read, “but about the necessity of it and permissibility for it under certain circumstances we are in accord.”

Two successive editors of Christianity Today took equivocal stands on abortion. Carl F. H. Henry, the magazine’s founder, affirmed that “a woman’s body is not the domain and property of others,” and his successor, Harold Lindsell, allowed that, “if there are compelling psychiatric reasons from a Christian point of view, mercy and prudence may favor a therapeutic abortion.”

Meeting in St. Louis in 1971, the messengers (delegates) to the Southern Baptist Convention, hardly a redoubt of liberalism, passed a resolution calling for the legalization of abortion, a position they reaffirmed in 1974 — a year after Roe — and again in 1976.

When the Roe decision was handed down, W. A. Criswell, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas and sometime president of the Southern Baptist Convention, issued a statement praising the ruling. “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person,” Criswell declared, “and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.”

If anyone doubts that the rightwingnut war on women’s rights is their only goal, they’re living in a fantasy.


  1. jenorafeuer says

    One of the more commonly-referenced bits on the latter parts of this is from Fred Clark’s ‘Slacktivist’ blog:
    The ‘biblical view’ that’s younger than the Happy Meal

    In 1979, McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal.

    Sometime after that, it was decided that the Bible teaches that human life begins at conception.

    Ask any American evangelical, today, what the Bible says about abortion and they will insist that this is what it says. (Many don’t actually believe this, but they know it is the only answer that won’t get them in trouble.) They’ll be a little fuzzy on where, exactly, the Bible says this, but they’ll insist that it does.

    That’s new. If you had asked American evangelicals that same question the year I was born you would not have gotten the same answer.

    Clark has been around for a while, and has copies of older versions of books that have since been re-edited to support the modern anti-abortion narrative. Often re-edited by the same people in the act of erasing history.

    The original casus belli for the Moral Majority wasn’t Roe v. Wade: it was Bob Jones University v. United States, and through that to Brown v. Board of Education.