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Poolboys, Ménages à Trois Involving White Evangelical Leaders, Alleged Supreme Court Corruption, White Christian Nationalism: In the News

Posted on the 20 November 2022 by William Lindsey @wdlindsy

The second installment of Jemar Tisby's video series on the topic "White Nation Under God," about which I've posted previously, is now online. In this episode, entitled "How White Christian Nationalism Threatens Democracy," sociologists Philip Gorski and Samuel Perry, authors of The Flag and the Cross, explain how white Christian nationalism threatens democracy by its willingness to "diminish democracy in favor of political rule by a small group of people who use authoritarianism instead of 'the will of the people' to govern."

A related story: see Vladimir Hedrih, "Study links identity threat among white evangelicals to the belief Trump’s election was part of God’s plan," reporting on a study published this past summer by Jack Thompson of the University of Exeter which correlates the belief of white evangelicals that they are an embattled minority in the U.S. with belief that Donald Trump is a divinely sent savior figure: the higher the sense of being an embattled minority, the more fervent the endorsement of Trump as a savior figure sent by God.

And also not unrelated: As Calum Best, "Falwell’s Downfall: The Pool Boy’s Story," reports, Billy Corben’s new documentary, "God Forbid: The Sex Scandal That Brought Down a Dynasty," has now been released, a story of the triangle of money, power, and sex, and of Jerry Falwell Jr., his wife Becki, and poolboy Giancarlo Granda, whom the Falwells lured into a sordid ménage à trois. 

As Calum Best points out and as Corben's documentary, which features Granda telling his side of the story, he was just 20 years old when the Falwells lured him into Becki's bed, and was a poolboy without their money and status, so there was, on Granda's side, a big inequality in terms of power in this three-sided relationship.

The story has political ramifications because photos of Granda and Becki Falwell in flagrante delicto were used to blackmail Falwell Jr. into endorsing Donald Trump in 2016, adding fuel to the fire of all the white evangelicals who love them some Donald and would do anything in the world to promote him — in the name of God.

As Calum Best concludes about the evangelical embrace of the Donald, 

All this coarsening cynicism has had disastrous effects. The principles that once animated and dignified the conservative evangelical movement seem absent now, after Trump, after Falwell, who both helped evangelicals to embrace rank consequentialism in their politics. Few have seen the corrosive effects of this dynamic—this moral tradeoff—as clearly and up close as Liberty’s student body did during the last years of Falwell’s tenure.

He's right about that. White evangelicals — along with scads of other white U.S. Christians, who voted twice, more than half of all U.S. white Christians, for Trump — have royally disgraced themselves in this period of history, and have shown the rest of us just how much their "values" and "Christianity" have ever meant. As some of us had no choice except to see all along….

Finally, don't miss Jodi Kantor and Jo Becker, "Former Anti-Abortion Leader Alleges Another Supreme Court Breach," reporting in detail on the incendiary allegations of Rev. Rob Schenck, formerly leader of an evangelical "pro-life" non-profit engaged in extensive lobbying in D.C., that Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito leaked to friends the forthcoming ruling in the Hobby Lobby case in 2014, that gave virtually unlimited power to corporations to trample on the rights of workers as long as they claim they are doing so in the name of "sincerely held" belief.

Schenck maintains that, through Alito's friends, he himself obtained inside information about the ruling before it came down, and "used that information to prepare a public relations push, records show, and he said that at the last minute he tipped off the president of Hobby Lobby, the craft store chain owned by Christian evangelicals that was the winning party in the case."

Kantor and Becker report,

Mr. Schenck, who used to lead an evangelical nonprofit in Washington, said he learned about the Hobby Lobby opinion because he had worked for years to exploit the court’s permeability. He gained access through faith, through favors traded with gatekeepers and through wealthy donors to his organization, abortion opponents whom he called “stealth missionaries.”

Talk about the very embodiment of judicial corruption, the current Supreme Court under John Roberts' leadership and control of a right-wing Catholic cabal, a number of whose members appear to have very cozy ties to the right-wing Catholic cult Opus Dei, which has well-documented theocratic aspirations….

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