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Herschel Walker and the “Born Again” Excuse for Bad Behavior

herschel walker

“Let’s get men out of women’s sports. they’re telling the young kids in school, you can be a boy tomorrow even if you’re a girl … But I want the young kids to know you go to heaven. Jesus may not recognize you. Because he made you a boy. He made you a girl.”

“As a born-again Christian, I believe God actively and directly influences me to action.”

“We have the DNA of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

— Herschel Walker

Herschel Walker, whose claim to fame is that he forty years ago scored fifty-three touchdowns for the University of Georgia football team and played eleven years in the NFL, is running for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Ralphael Warnock. Walker, an Evangelical Christian was endorsed by Republican kingmaker, disgraced ex-president, and consummate liar Donald Trump. Early on, Republican operatives knew Walker had some “problems” in his past. Well, we now know that those problems are lying about his college grades, graduation, and work history; children with multiple women (whom he abandoned); lying about contributions from his charitable foundation; paying for a woman to have an abortion.

Walker is running on a “family values” platform. He is stridently anti-abortion; a forced birther who wants to criminalize ALL abortions, including in the case of rape, incest, and the life of the mother. Walker has children with three different women, yet he largely has played no part in their lives. Family values, my ass. Astoundingly, despite all these allegations, Walker is in a close race with Warnock. What gives?

Walker is an Evangelical Christian. Sometime in his life — allegedly after all of the “sins” mentioned in this post — he became born again. Walker said he had mental health problems before Jesus saved him, but his present behavior suggests that those problems still remain. As I have watched the Walker story unfold in recent days, it is evident that he is a pathological liar, much like his hero Donald Trump. He simply cannot tell the truth.

blood of jesus

Walker believes that because he has been “born again,” all his past, present, and future sins are forgiven. In his mind, the blood of Jesus washes all his sins away, never to be remembered again. And if God has forgiven him, so should everyone else.

Walker’s beliefs are quite common in Evangelical circles. The blood of Jesus and forgiveness are used to cover all sorts of heinous behavior. That’s why we see preachers such as Ted Haggard do things most of us think are immoral, if not criminal, yet after spending six months or a year rehabbing or leaving their church, we find them preaching again. Why? God has forgiven them, and so should everyone else. After all, 1 John 1:9 says: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. No matter what “sin” an Evangelical commits, all he has to do is confess his sin to God and he will instantaneously be forgiven. Awesome, right?

Of course, building one’s moral and ethical foundation on a singular Bible verse is a bad idea. While the Bible does speak a lot about forgiveness — both from God and towards one another — it also says that repentance and restitution are required before forgiveness can be granted. And that’s what’s missing in Walker’s life. I see no signs of repentance and restitution. He wants forgiveness without doing the work. While it is not up to me to forgive Walker for anything, Georgia Republican voters should not “forgive” Walker by giving him a Senate seat until he first repents (publicly confessing and owning his behavior) and makes restitution (paying child support and recanting his lies). And once this genuinely happens, I suspect Walker will understand that he has no business being a U.S. senator; that his time should be spent reconnecting with his children and seeking help from a competent secular counselor.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar

    Franklin Graham is one of those fraud fakes who make my blood curdle. So smug, so holier-than-thou, so vile. Without that surname he would be just another hate monger on late night TV or early Sunday morning programming. Sorry for the rant but I really detest these frauds – Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen, Franklin Graham and Jim Baker. It was these carnival barkers who pushed me out the church door – why was god allowing them to pervert his “perfect” word and enrich themselves? How come god didn’t just smite them for bearing a false testimony?

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    Scott Lohman

    It looks Graham is disavowing the long time Christian concept of “Original Sin” in his note. “Why are we penalizing people for what their ancestors did?” He’s absolutely right.” So Franklin, if we humans are born as just human, then the whole reason you are inflicting your brand of crazy on us is no longer valid. Please 1) Close your organization, 2) Give away your wealth and assets to a reputable charity organization and 3) Get a job flipping burgers. This way we no longer have to listen to your homophobia, misogyny, and fascist politics. We won’t miss you and the world will be a better place.

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    Herschel Walker is a willing and useful pawn for the GOP. There isn’t much that he says that shows he is intelligent or even aware of issues. Senator Warnock, on the other hand, seems like an intelligent and competent person. I cannot imagine casting my vote for Herschel Walker instead of for Senator Warnock. But for Christian Nationalists, it isn’t about competence, is it? No, it’s about controlling people. Power and control.

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      Yulya Sevelova

      I rather suspect that Herschel thought no one would find out about these other women and the kids he had with them. It sounds like the children have little to no contact with him in their lives. How Sade for THEM that they are accidents who aren’t wanted ! And this guy has the gall to present himself as a ” family man” who modeles family values. Didn’t he recently pay for some lover’s abortion ? And that got leaked out also ? He’s jack st not qualified to run for office. His thinking processes are too screwed up, especially when it comes to giving advice to others how to live. What a boob !

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      Yulya Sevelova

      I just read that Walker’s son, Christian, says that not only is his father a rank hypocrite and liar, but this kid, his siblings and mother have to keep moving repeatedly, because Herschel stalks and harasses them- forcing the family to flee to yet another rental. So much for those family values !

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    It’s such a disgusting concept to me that saying, “Jesus paid for my sin!” absolves the person. No restitution, no apologies. It’s the ultimate cop out. As for poor Herschel, he was chosen to run because the republikkans thought he’d be easy to control and would do as he was told. They figured a big football star would just automatically win. I don’t like him, but he’s being exploited. Between the mental illness and the traumatic brain injuries, he’s a scrambled mess. It’s cruel to do what they’ve done to him. I feel sorry for him and really hate him in equal parts.

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    MJ Lisbeth

    It’s ironic that he should believe the “one drop” rule of Jesus’ blood as he’s running for the Senate in one of the last states to get rid of its “one drop” rule in defining who is black–and thus destined to the life of, at best, a second-class citizen.

    The reason Herschel Walker is so loyal to Trump is that he is the reason Walker had a professional football career. After Trump essentially ran the United States Football League (where Walker played for the New Jersey Generals) into the ground, Walker went on to have a good but not exceptional NFL career. If anything, trading him helped the Dallas Cowboys to their 1990s Super Bowl championships. In light of that, sports journalists in Minnesota (home to the Vikings, the team to which Walker was traded) give out “Herschel the Turkey” awards for ineptitude in that state’s sports.

  6. Avatar

    I hadn’t thought of the fact that he needs to make restitution. He’d be too busy to be in D.C. as a Senator, he’d be out playing catch up to be a father to the children he abandoned. One thing I do respect about him is that at least he didn’t disown his gay son.

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