Jerry Falwell, Jr., and the Jesus Biz

The political world is still crafting post-convention analyses and taking a deep breath before we plunge into the last two months of the campaigns. This seems like a good time to take a moment to make fun of Jerry Falwell, Jr.

I had forgotten this, but I wrote a post about Jerry Jr. about a year ago. See The Jesus Scam. At the time, among other things, Falwell was being accused of turning Liberty University into a real estate hedge fund, using student tuition money to buy real estate.

In that post I quoted a bit from a TPM article on Junior:

Jerry and his wife Becki seem to have a pattern of striking up intimate relationships with younger, extremely fit men; nude or provocative pics of Becki get into the mix somehow and then suddenly the younger guy is set up with his own business courtesy of a few million from the Falwells or Liberty University. …

…Provocative or nude photos of Becki Falwell also seem to be an open secret among top Liberty executives and even present in many inboxes.

The “pool boy” in the recent news stories is Giancarlo Granda, and I believe that’s Giancarlo in the photo below, which I pulled from Talking Points Memo. Giancarlo has been very upfront about the nature of his relationship with the Fallwells. But there have been other Falwell boy toys, including a personal trainer whom the Falwells set up with his own gym.

The best part is that it appears Falwell’s 2016 endorsement of Donald Trump came after Michael Cohen arranged a “cyber fixer” to make certain photos of Becki Falwell disappear from the Internet. Falwell also used a Liberty University social media account to promote Trump, which was a violation of tax regulations.

I wrote last year,

What is more American than big-name evangelicals getting caught in sex-and-money scandals? Certainly Falwell is part of the rich tradition of Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggart, and Jim Bakker. However, it should be said that Fallwell is not ordained; he’s a lawyer. Jesus is just the family business.

The support for Trump among white evangelicals shouldn’t make sense, except it does. I don’t think there is any one reason why a supposedly devout Christian person would get swept up in the cult of Trump. I believe there are a lot of reasons. But two big ones are money and power.  And also not being all that devout.