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William F. Buckley, Guy Snavely, Bob Jones, Jr., Mark Fakkema

Tier 2: The Wannabes

The Wannabes sit in the passenger seat of the Car waiting for the Patriarch to hand them control.

They spend all their lives envying Tier 1, stuck with the other Wannabes in Tier 2. Look at how Bob Jones, Jr. is listening to William F. Buckley after all. See it?

Maybe we’d call this group, “middle management.” They are never quite sure where they are and, as a result, they act in abusive ways. It might be a pastor telling a woman in his care that her adulterous husband just needs her to “love him more” so he’ll be faithful. It might be a college administrator telling a faculty member “Galatians was written for a particular time and place and doesn’t apply to today.” It might be a pastor telling a Ph.D. to stop doing her research because a Tier 1 man told him to.

They wield weasel words like a Ginsu knife, always in deference to Tier 1.

People in this tier:

  • Stephen Jones
  • Jim Berg
  • Jerry Falwell, Jr.
  • Donald Trump, Jr.
  • Eric Trump

Notice a trend there? That’s when I first noticed this. As I moved through my 40s and saw my male peers (and sons of powerful BJU men) change and wimp-out, I realized they would always be fighting Daddy. I called them the “Deadbeats and Dilettantes.” The Tier 1 Patriarchs were absent, narcissistic, and shrill, and the Tier 2 Wannabes were spoiled, entitled, and unreliable.

These two tiers will always occupy the reigns of power in fundamentalism. Always.

And those abusive words that Tier 2 Wannabes wield? They are always, always, always at people under them in the hierarchy.