The influential religious community debates whether to support the former president again, to whom digital networks also complicate a possible public return
The evangelical Christian right is facing an increasingly severe confrontation between the old pro-Donald Trump generations and the new younger reformers. The infighting, which could have profound implications for the nation’s religious right, is torn between securing its role within the Republican Party or shifting away from politics and concentrating on its religious mission.
The issue has undoubted repercussions on the former president and his desire to return to public life this summer, since this sector is a basic pillar among his support, at a time in addition to adversity in social networks. Blocked on Instagram, Facebook has also suspended his account until January 2023 for his possible responsibility in the instigation of the assault on the Capitol last January, to which the Republican leader responded yesterday with a message addressed to his CEO, Mark Zuckerberg: « The next time I am in the White House, I will not have the dinners he and his wife used to ask me for. “
The Evangelical University of Liberty, bastion par excellence of the Christian right, is going through a schism that faces, on the one hand, the generation of the late patriarch Jerry Falwell, founder of the academic institution and creator of the megachurch of tele-evangelization that generates enormous economic benefits. On the other hand, the new generations are demanding drastic reforms from the trustees that lead to a change in culture. The board of directors, packed with famous pastors, is devoted to Trump.
In the background lies the rehabilitation of moral credibility among evangelicals and the questioning of their support for the Trump presidency plagued by numerous aspects of immorality and dehumanization. The university center, which after the death of Jerry Falwell in 2007 appointed his son Jerry Falwell Jr. as president, was forced to remove him last year amid a scandal of inappropriate photos, in a bathing suit on a yacht, which it uncovered a broader web of sex, corruption and politics.
His brother Jonathan lives focused on his pastoral work, but Liberty University is considering appointing him rector, a highly symbolic position that would maintain the connection with the Falwell family, although free of his political baggage. It is the favorite of the new generations.
Business and sex parties
At the center of the debate looms the figure of the former president, whose fervent support from Jerry Falwell Jr. early in his presidential campaign surprised many traditional evangelical Republicans with Trump’s lack of religious credentials and the questionable morality of his style of advocacy. lifetime. During his presidency, Falwell Jr. devoted a considerable expenditure of university funds to advertising and advocacy programs. Jonathan, for his part, has been much colder with the Republican.
Falwell Jr.’s downfall uncovered a history of financial and institutional corruption involving him and his wife Becki Falwell with a series of questionable real estate deals, manipulation of online surveys, nightclub escapes and alleged exotic sex parties in Miami As icing on the cake, an alleged relationship of his wife Becki with a younger man, Giancarlo Granda, linked in a strange triangle.
The situation dates back to 2015 when Michael Cohen, Trump’s “fixes” attorney, tried to help the Falwells with an issue involving compromising photos of Becki. As a result, her husband would have given the support of the evangelical community to the Trump campaign, an important block of votes that would have helped Trump achieve the presidency in 2016. However, the relationship returned to a standstill after the impeachment of Falwell Jr. last year after discovering his affair with the pool keeper’s wife, who was also blackmailing him.
Liberty has always had great importance in the Repulican world. With more than 100,000 students, it is known for a strict moral code of conduct for them, prohibiting them even from attending dances. In April, his leadership replaced Allen McFarland, the first black person to serve as chairman of the board, more tolerant and plural, by the bellicose pro-Trump pastor, Tim Lee, a 70-year-old Vietnam veteran, who has a double amputation and has been a preacher for more than 40 years.
Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg, Miami, United States, 2020 US Elections