In Donald Trump’s America, administration members can apparently ignore the separation between church and state as long as they are loyal to Donald Trump. Not only is his current choice for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, an obscenely rich, religious nutjob who has donated huge sums to support the tortuous practice of “gay conversion therapy” a complete travesty, his first choice was even crazier.
Jerry Falwell Jr. has said that he was offered the job, yet had to refuse because Trump wanted a 4 to 6-year commitment and he is only able to leave the University for two years. Apparently, it’s hard work teaching college students to ignore the constitution. Said Falwell Jr. once:
“The idea that religion and politics don’t mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country.”
We many not have actually dodged much of a bullet here given the woman he did pick has dedicated her life to privatizing public education through the creation of voucher systems and charter schools. However, she at least hasn’t advocated concealed carry by Christian students to “end Muslims.”:
At Liberty’s convocation service on Friday, the school president, Jerry Falwell Jr., responded to the San Bernardino shooting, saying, “If more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them.” He encouraged students to enroll in the university’s gratis certification course and said he was carrying a weapon “in my back pocket right now.” He concluded by saying, “Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here.”
Falwell Jr. famously revoked the status of a group of young Christian liberals on his campus in a blatant attempt to keep the message of his political ideology’s supremacy at Liberty University. He then offered to re-instate that group, provided they were not aligned with the Democratic Party and were militantly anti-marriage equality and anti-abortion (the campus group had already declared themselves as both).
More recently, the Liberty University president sparked a bit of a student rebellion over his Trump loyalties, which continued even after learning of Trump’s disgusting comments referring to grabbing women’s genitals without permission. He personally also struck an article from the student paper that was critical of Trump’s “locker room talk.” The letter skewered Falwell for his hypocrisy:
A recently uncovered tape revealed his comments bragging about sexually assaulting women. Any faculty or staff member at Liberty would be terminated for such comments, and yet when Donald Trump makes them, President Falwell rushes eagerly to his defense – taking the name “Liberty University” with him. “We’re all sinners,” Falwell told the media, as if sexual assault is a shoulder-shrugging issue rather than an atrocity which plagues college campuses across America, including our own.
Falwell Jr. is an avowed Creationist, and not just an “intelligent design theory” advocate — he’s a “the world is 6 thousand years old and God created everything in 6 days,” type nutjob. He also thinks that his role in a Trump cabinet would be to return education to some form of “sanity.” This apparently means teaching his particular religious theory over scientific fact and his belief that we are living in the “end times.”
This is the man who Trump called to his golden tower to offer control over the education of our children. To repeat, this was his first choice. If nothing else has convinced you that Trump loyalists landing positions of power they are unsuited and unqualified for is dangerous, this should.