Politico broke a groundbreaking article about Jerry Falwell Jr and Liberty University. Politico raised the issue of financial misconduct and Liberty’s 501(c)(3) being violated. Jerry Falwell Jr is alleged to have used Liberty for his own personal financial benefit. Falwell also denied going to a Miami nightclub until a photographer released more pictures of Jerry Falwell Jr partying with his son. The leader of Liberty claimed that he was the subject of a coup and that he was bringing in the FBI to investigate. After Reuters published emails of Falwell mocking people Liberty students as led by Elizabeth Brooks organized a protest and are calling for an independent investigation into the schools finances.
“We’re not a school; we’re a real estate hedge fund. We’re not educating; we’re buying real estate every year and taking students’ money to do it.”
Quote from the Politico article
“It’s a dictatorship. Nobody craps at the university without Jerry’s approval.”
Quote from the Politico article
He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? 22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”
24 “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. 25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”
Mark 4:21-25 NIV
Jerry Falwell Jr.
There are some stunning developments going on at Liberty University which need to be covered. This is a fast moving story that is developing and this blog will work to try and stay on top of it. Let’s first look at a Politico article that started the recent storm.
‘Someone’s Gotta Tell the Freakin’ Truth’ Brandon Ambrosino’s Story in Politico
Brandon Ambrosino who once attended Liberty published a disturbing story at Politico on September 9, 2019. The story is called, “‘Someone’s Gotta Tell the Freakin’ Truth’: Jerry Falwell’s Aides Break Their Silence.” Brandon’s story raised a number of concerns about whether or not Liberty is violating its 501(c)(3) status and if the school is a private hedge fund for Jerry Falwell Jr. Other troubling aspects include Falwell going to a nightclub and dancing and partying which all Liberty students would face disciplinary action for if they engaged in such behavior. In the article the following issues are raised or discussed.
- The sidelining of Jonathan Falwell and his marginalization at Liberty University as Jerry grabs more power.
- The power that Becki Falwell has attained and how she abuses it regularly. How Becki worked to marginalize Jonathan Falwell.
- Jerry Falwell Jr personally enriching himself off Liberty University which has made a lot of profit from online enrollment.
- How Jerry Falwell Jr directed business at the university to his son Trey Falwell in violation of non-profit laws.
- How Jerry Falwell Jr is also personally directing business to his friends. An example is Chris Doyle and the LaQuinta Inn and how the university directed employees to stay at LaQuinta this increasing profitability.
- Liberty giving out loans from $250,000 to $750,000 to friends and acquaintances of Jerry Falwell Jr.
- Jerry Falwell Jr and Trey partying at a Miami nightclub and trying to make pictures disappear.
- Further discussion of news broken in the Wall Street Journal of how Michael Cohen, who is currently in prison, used Liberty to rig online polls in favor of Donald Trump prior to the 2016 election. And how John Gauger was paid $12,000 to $13,000.
- How Liberty violated IRS rules when it comes to a non-profit engaging in political practice.
- The abuse of power by Jerry Falwell Jr and the intimidation and bullying by him.
- Jerry Falwell Jr bragging about the size of his penis and how his wife Becki can’t handle it.
- Jerry Falwell Jr taking racy photos of his wife and wanting to share it with Becki’s trainer and engaging in sexting when he accidentally sent it to a group of people.
- The relationship with Ben Crosswhite and steering of university business to him in a process that was closed to outside bids.
- Changing Liberty’s academic calendar so that the university can tip and influence local elections.
- Liberty selling Trump memorabilia in violation of its 501(c)(3) status.
- Jerry Falwell Jr attacking McLean Bible Senior Pastor David Platt telling him to grow a pair of balls. You can read about this in “Donald Trump Visits McLean Bible. How Do You Pray for a President? Contrasting David Platt vs. Franklin Graham” and “Telling David Platt to Grow a Pair, Declining Enrollment and Making Illicit Pictures that The Miami Herald Possess – When Will the Board Fire Jerry Falwell Jr at Liberty?”
When all this came out it created a lot of outrage. Now John Fea who writes about the evangelical culture wars predicted that these issues wouldn’t result in any change against Jerry Falwell Jr in, “Why the Recent *Politico” Piece Will Not Hurt Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Standing Among Many Conservative Evangelicals“
Jerry Falwell Jr in a Miami nightclib
Jerry Falwell Jr Denies Going to a Nightclub and More Pictures Emerge
One of the issues that emerged is the claim that Jerry Falwell Jr partied at a Miami nightclub. This is grave because at Liberty a student would be expelled for drinking alcohol and face serious infraction for dancing. When the story in Politico appeared Jerry Falwell Jr denied going to a nightclub and stated that the picture was photo-shopped. That led a a response by the photography company that took the picture. They responded by releasing a statement that denied it was photo-shopped. This is what they said, “We wholly reject Jerry Falwell Jr.’s baseless allegation in yesterday’s Politico report by Brandon Ambrosino that one of our pictures was “photo-shopped” or manipulated in any fashion.” You can see more pictures or Jerry Falwell Jr partying inside a nightclub here. Jerry Falwell Jr was forced to concede to the truth. You can read more about Jerry Falwell Jr in a nightclub below.
- Miami Herald, “A Miami photographer defended photo of Jerry Falwell Jr. at a club. Then he found more.”
- Politico, “New Photos Emerge of Falwell at Miami Nightclub“
- Huffington Post, “‘Hypocrite’ Jerry Falwell Jr. Slammed As New Miami Party Pics Surface”
- Christian Post, “LU President Jerry Falwell Jr. says he was at Miami nightclub but photos were ‘maybe’ photo-shopped.”
- John Fea, “Yes, Jerry Falwell WAS in That Miami Nightclub. He Lied About It.”
Falwell Jr Claims There is an Attempted Coup and Wants the FBI Involved
Jerry Falwell Jr reacted by attacking Brandon Ambrosino and questioning his masculinity. Jerry Falwell Jr claimed that he was sharing information with the FBI claiming that former Board members are out to get him and do a coup. Jerry Falwell Jr did an interview with The Hill, a publication which covers politics in the Washington, D.C. area. You can read that Hill article in, “Falwell Jr. says FBI to investigate ‘criminal conspiracy’ at Liberty University.”
This is what Falwell Jr said in a telephone interview. “Our attorneys have determined that this small group of former board members and employees, they’re involved in a criminal conspiracy, are working together to steal Liberty property in the form of emails and provided them to reporters,” While the university was dealing with this Reuters then reported a number of emails that showed Jerry Falwell Jr mocking, ridiculing, and belittling Liberty employees and students. In one situation Falwell called one student, “emotionally imbalanced and physically retarded” and called the Liberty police chief a “half-wit and easy to manipulate.” The emails which start in 2008 show a Falwell basically acting like a narcissist and attacking people. You can read more about these emails in, “Exclusive: Falwell blasted Liberty student as ‘retarded,’ police chief as ‘half-wit’ in emails” and “Jerry Falwell Jr says he won’t ‘turn the other cheek’ to leakers; Liberty U students plan protest.”
#StudentsforChange Starts and Liberty University Students Protest and Call for an Independent Financial Investigation
According to the research this blog has done it appears the emails triggered more than Falwell claiming to contact the FBI. They also triggered Liberty students to stand up and say enough to Falwell’s bullying behavior and financial issues. A group of students organized and called for an independent and outside look at Liberty University’s finances. In calling for books to be opened and for these issues to be addressed, Liberty junior Elizabeth Brooks organized the protest. The protest which took place in the rain occurred on Friday September 13, 2019. Originally it was thought that 12 students or show might show up, instead over 200 came to protest. Elizabeth Brooks told the Associated Press the following, “I couldn’t stay silent anymore. I would like to see President Falwell address this himself and for there to be an investigation into the allegations to see whether or not they’re true.” The students at Liberty have their own hashtag on Twitter #StudentsforChange. You can read more about the protest in the following articles.
- Newsweek, “STUDENTS PROTEST ON LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CAMPUS AMID FALWELL SCANDAL”
- Religion News Service, “200 Liberty students attend protest after new Falwell revelations.”
- Time, “Liberty Students Protest After Controversial Reports About School President Jerry Falwell Jr.”
- Julie Roys, “Liberty Students Protest Falwell’s Behavior: “This is Not What Christ Would Have.”
This blog received some pictures of the protest which you can look at in, “Pictures of the Protest at Liberty University on September 13, 2019 as Shared with The Wondering Eagle.”
Analysis and Concluding Thoughts.
This will be interesting to follow. Frequently I write about the issues with the Neo-Calvinists here at this blog. Outside that stream Liberty University has a lot of influence. I have seen that in churches in the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. area. Some are suggesting that Jerry Falwell Jr is acting like Donald Trump. John Fea at Messiah College has said that but so has Andrew Egger at The Bulwark. The Christian faith is supposed to be simple and transparent. Whereas Jerry Falwell Jr bullies and uses lawyers to threaten people and silence them with investigations, Jesus once commanded his followers to let their light shine and for a lamp to be on a stand. Jesus wasn’t known for bullying and while he said to render unto Caesar he also made clear that his kingdom is not of this world. Jerry Falwell Jr seems to have forgotten some of the basics of Christianity. Since this blog has written about a number of churches in the Washington, D.C. area this blog will monitor and write about the issues at Liberty. For many local churches here these issues are too big to ignore. So expect a number of articles in the coming days to look at this situation.