Jerry Falwell was an evangelical preacher and the founder of Liberty University, a college that expects its students to abide by strict Christianity-based rules prohibiting drinking, dancing, homosexuality, and of course anything involving sex among its students. Falwell was the founder of something called the Moral Majority that represented the first major concerted effort to join at the hip evangelical Christianity with right wing politics and make them into a potent political force for reactionary policies, leading one wag to say that “The Moral Majority is neither”.
After Falwell died, his son Jerry Falwell Jr. took over the helm of the university and his father’s political role while his brother took over the ministry of Falwell’s church. Falwell Jr. made an early endorsement of Donald Trump for president and was instrumental in bringing along other evangelicals who had initially been leery of supporting someone who came nowhere close to meeting the moral standards that they professed to uphold and who seemed to be on the verge of supporting Ted Cruz.
But recently there have been some strange stories emerging about the younger Falwell on the dancing floor of nightclubs, his wife, two young, very buff, men (one a guy who cleans pools and the other a fitness trainer either one of whom may or may not be gay), French maid costumes, racy photographs, shady real estate deals, and Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen. A recent in-depth article in Politico looks at many of the stories of how Falwell seems to be running the university for the benefit of his family and friends using the university’s finances to build up a real-estate empire. with the sources being disgruntled people at the university who see Junior as not acting in concert with the mission of the institution.
In response to these reports, Falwell has asked the FBI to investigate a ‘criminal conspiracy’ to discredit him by former board members of the university who are leaking to the media. This may not be a good move on his part since the FBI, if they do decide to investigate, has the resources to find out things about his life that the media would find difficult to unearth and that he may wish to keep private.
Josh Marshall tries to connect the dots as to what is going on. He says that right now we only have tantalizing clues of something bigger and that the full story is bound to emerge soon.
I don’t know just what the Falwells’ relationships with these young men entails apart from being highly lucrative for the young men. This part remains a genuine mystery to me. I’m not being coy. I’m pretty confident that whatever it is is not consistent with sexual propriety as defined by Liberty University. But just what’s going on and who’s doing what isn’t clear. What is pretty much a dead certainty to me is that somehow the endorsement, Michael Cohen and the nude pics and all the lucky young men fit together. Remember, Cohen is a fixer. Quite specifically, one of his main jobs for Trump was cleaning up and covering up sexual assignations. Also, did I mention? How on earth did Jerry Falwell Jr. and Michael Cohen cross paths in the first place?
Something is going on here. All the reporters on the story seem to get the outlines of it at least. Someone at some point will get the whole thing.
So basically, we can expect more shoes to drop at some point.
(Some of you may have recognized that this post title is inspired by that truly weird film The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, & Her Lover, the only film that I have ever walked out of the theater before the end because I had the strong feeling that it was leading up to something even more disgusting and/or horrifyingly violent than what I had already seen near the beginning and I just did not have the stomach for it. I am not implying that the Falwell story might end up that way, though.)
Marcus Ranum says
Love of power is unchristian. No evangelical that attempts to access political or financial power can be trusted because they are going directly against their alleged saviour’s explicit commands.
Just an Organic Regular Expression says
Good grief. I read the wikipedia entry (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cook,_the_Thief,_His_Wife_&_Her_Lover). My opinion of Helen Mirren has plummeted.
Rob Grigjanis says
Peter Greenaway’s films are certainly not for all tastes, but they always look amazing. I’ve liked the ones I’ve seen: The Draughtman’s Contract, Drowning by Numbers and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. ‘Enjoy’ wouldn’t be quite the right word; a bit too dark for that.
Matt G says
Conservative Christian leaders are doing more to discredit Christianity than atheists ever could.