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Bob Jones, Sr., Congressman Joseph Bryson, Senator Clyde R. Hoey, Bob Jones Jr., January 1952

Tier 1: The Patriarch

The Car as I explained earlier houses the whole Fundamentalist hierarchy. The Car could be a church or a living room or a table at a diner. It doesn’t matter.

Actually only one person in the whole gathering matters: the Patriarch. He and his cohort hold the title to the car, the keys to the ignition, and the cash for gas. He holds it all. No one else.

In Fundamentalism, the Patriarch tier is full of white men who matter. Their opinions, no matter how small, must be accommodated. The Patriarch doesn’t like new hymn tunes? They are banished! The Patriarch doesn’t like jello? BE GONE!

The Patriarch will wield religious rhetoric for any purpose he deems necessary. Religion, then, is not a guiding belief system as much as a tool to protect power. That allows them to turn on a dime. Think about your last home repair project. Did you feel bad when you had to put down the screwdriver to pick up the hammer? Of course not. It’s just a tool. Need to use “authority” scriptures to silence concerns in a global pandemic? Do it. How about when the Patriarch comes down with the sniffles? “Bear ye one another’s burdens” is the guiding practice.

The Patriarchs are nothing if not creative.

Some people in this tier:

  • Bob Jones (whichever oldest is alive)
  • John R. Rice
  • Billy James Hargis
  • Carl McIntire
  • James Dobson
  • Pat Robertson
  • J. Frank Norris
  • Jerry Falwell
  • Donald Trump
  • John MacArthur

You can add to the list. In fact, add some!