Charlie Kirk Jerry Falwell, Jr.
Charlie Kirk and Jerry Falwell, Jr. (Source: Liberty U)

Charlie Kirk Out at Liberty University’s Falkirk Center; Think Tank Renamed

By Julie Roys

Conservative firebrand, Charlie Kirk, is out as the head of Liberty University’s Falkirk Center—and Liberty is renaming the think tank the Standing for Freedom Center.

Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, started the Falkirk Center three years ago with now-disgraced, former Liberty University President, Jerry Falwell, Jr.

The think tank was a powerhouse for the pro-Trump evangelical movement and drew numerous high-profile conservative leaders to Liberty, including Trump aide Sebastian Gorka, Christian radio host Eric Metaxas, and former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis.

Kirk had the fire; Falwell had the institutional force.

But the center’s reputation cratered with Falwell’s. And after Falwell resigned amid sexual and financial scandal, some critics saw the Falkirk Center as a remnant of Falwell’s highly politicized and worldly leadership.

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Save 71, a group of Liberty alumni advocating for reform, publicly called for the center to close.

Though the decision is only now coming to light, Liberty decided last fall not to renew Kirk’s contract, according Scott Lamb, Liberty’s senior vice president for university communications, who spoke with the New York Times.

Lamb told the Times he personally made the decision concerning Kirk’s contract: “We gave it a lot of thought and we decided to allocate our resources in different ways than that partnership with Charlie.”

The announcement and name change has not appeased Save 71. The group tonight tweeted the news and said “whatever it’s called, it’s an embarrassment to @Liberty students, professors, and alumni.”

The Falkirk Center spearheaded an aggressive, no-holds-bared approach to the culture war.

“Bemoaning the rise of leftism is no longer enough,” its website read. “Although we do, as Jesus taught, turn the other cheek in our personal relationships, we cannot abdicate our responsibilities on the cultural battlefield. There is too much at stake in the clash for the soul of our nation. Bold, unapologetic engagement and initiative is needed on the part of every conservative American.”

Though Liberty called the center a think tank, it hasn’t produced scholarly research. It has, however, produced videos, podcasts, and articles on cultural issues. The Falkirk Center also spent $50,000 on pro-Trump Facebook ads.

Conservative Christian writer Rod Dreher wrote that Kirk practiced “Hooters conservatism.” At a Turning Point USA event, girls in scanty tight-fitting outfits shot cash into the crowd from a cannon.

Some students at Liberty said the center’s aggressive approach conflicted with Christian values.

“Liberty has always engaged in the culture war, but the Falkirk Center was unique in that it openly prioritizes lust for that war over concern for the culture,” Liberty graduate and Liberty reform activist Dustin Wahl told The New York Times.

Over the past few months, the Falkirk Center dismissed multiple former fellows. These include Sebastian Gorka, Jenna Ellis, and commentator David Harris Jr.

Jackson Elliott contributed to this report.

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20 thoughts on “Charlie Kirk Out at Liberty University’s Falkirk Center; Think Tank Renamed”

  1. Good for Liberty. Finally taking one small step back toward being an an actual university for education instead of a political powerhouse!

  2. Susan Vonder Heide

    It sounds like Liberty may be throwing out the baby with the bath water. It would be sad if Liberty became just one more politically correct college in lockstep with the woke culture. A Christian university should never put politics above God but it should have a clue that we are living in a political culture and it should not be afraid to make speakers available to students who can give insights (albeit not infallible) about how to navigate that culture.

    1. Somehow I doubt the so-called Falkirk Center (especially when Falwell, Jr. and Charlie Kirk there) would ever invite conservative David French. This so-called think tank was nothing more than a PR and propaganda outfit for Trump. PERIOD. Principled conservatives and conservative Trump critics (like David French) were not welcome.

      1. Susan Vonder Heide

        When some disagree with speech on campus the solution is more speech not less. There is a big differences between also inviting David French and cancelling Charlie Kirk. Christian universities should be an example of free speech, not a watered down mimic of the cancel culture of woke universities.

        1. Charlie Kirk can be invited as a speaker, but that doesn’t mean he has to be the head of this think tank. Maybe the reason he was let go was because he was NOT going for more speech. IOW, he and Fallwell Jr., were ONLY allowing speakers that they liked and agreed with.

          It is hard to complain about canning someone who himself was doing his own cancel culture. The analogy would be the woke university admins who went after conservative groups to try and cancel them, lose the lawsuit, and end up getting canned or resigning (as has happened a number of times).

          1. Another big hint is this:

            “Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, started the Falkirk Center three years ago with now-disgraced, former Liberty University President, Jerry Falwell, Jr.”

            This was in 2018. What do we know now about Jerry Falwell, Jr’s relationship and sudden devotion to Trump (from 2016 onward)?

            Junior’s sudden devotion, support, and doing everything he can to help Trump was due to his fixer Cohen having dirt on Junior and his cuckoldry and his wife’s love of young pool boys. Part of the deal to get those pictures back from Cohen was to support Trump in everything and in all possible ways. This so-called think tank is merely part of that arrangement.
            I am pretty sure Trump and Cohen had dirt on Charlie Kirk too (though he may be a true Trumpista believer as well, so it may not be necessary).

          2. do not forget that Liberty produced the propaganda film “The Trump Prophecy” that same year. i did buy it after the election mostly to show my kids how a lunatic cult took the delusions from a person suffering from severe insomnia as prooftext for their cult. very little religious rhetoric outside of sprinkle in 2 Chronicles 7:14 reference and mentioning prayer and seeing his closed Bible there was nothing Christian about the film. we hear culture warrior Evangelicals quote that particular verse without stressing the fourth condition that the Lord laid out “and turn from their wicked ways” for revival. most Evangelical churches do not have a public confession of sin litany as part of the their worship service. that is one thing is sorely missing in American Evangelical quest for revival.

          3. Charlie Kirk was promoting gay identity and trans speakers with his TPUSA. I was surprised that liberty had any public affiliation with him at all

        2. Oh, for goodness sake, Kirk wasn’t canceled, his contract just wasn’t renewed, which happens all the time, especially when there’s a change in leadership at the top.

          Also, how on earth can you cancel someone who has a nationally syndicated daily radio talk show? You probably don’t have enough free hours in the day to keep up with all the Charlie Kirk content he’s churning out these days, what with websites, radio shows, blogs, YouTube videos, interviews, etc.

          Kirk is undoubtedly in the top 1% in this country when it comes to having a platform from which he can broadcast his opinions. The idea that he or anyone else should be complaining about his being canceled is utterly ludicrous.

          1. Tacitus,

            That was indirectly my point as well. Since Kirk’s position was and at-will employment position (not tenured), the employer (Liberty University) like any employer can end an employment agreement or contract at-will or when the contract expires.

            I find it fascinating that all the Trumpistas are all for the free markets, businesses, and individuals to do as they please UNTIL their sacred cows gets killed or threatened. OK for cake shops to not make cakes for gay couples, but God forbid the owner of the Dr. Seuss IP and copyright (namely his estate) makes a business decision to NOT publish 6 titles. The irony is that the Fundies and the Evangelicals have been exercising their rights as consumer-based cancel culture in the form of boycotts against Disney, 7-11, Rock Music Labels going back to the 1980’s.

            They seem to forget that censorship and the 1A only applies to governments. My 1A rights do not extend to someone’s front lawn nor to Twitter.

        1. Uwe,

          Considering your boy Trump sold out the Uighurs and others back in January of 2020 and sucking up to China and saying what a great job they are doing regarding COVID (when the various US and other countries’ intelligence agencies plus other sources were telling him otherwise) to get his precious Phase 1 Trade Deal, you are the one to talk.

          I will be more than happy to pull up Trump’s tweets and other official statements from that time period to make it painfully obvious to even someone like you.

  3. i have degrees from two prominently recognized Christian colleges. Although conservative in thought and practice, they do not have a political-oriented institution on campus, nor do the they sponsor candidates. They do preach and teach the Word of God well. How about that for a change, Liberty U?

  4. On the Other Hand

    The leadership sees on which side of the bread the gravy train of federal financial aid dollars is buttered.

    I’ll be awaiting a tearful apology for past social sins.

    1. The irony is that they are not obligated to take said federal financial aid dollars. Something in the bible about the relationship between debtors and those who hold that debt comes to mind…

      1. Orange Man Bad, Never Trumper.
        Where’s your criticism of Hunter Biden and his laptop hard drives?
        Underage Chinese prostitutes videos, perhaps?
        A BILLION dollar deal for Beijing Biden’s son Hunter……without any experience in businesses…unless his “resume” includes Ukraine..not a single comment on that one by the Never Trumpers.
        The Communist Chinese, those guys in the other side of the world that jail and prosecute and execute Christians OWN….the Biden’s.
        Trump derangement syndrome.
        Pathetic
        Uwe
        Simul Justus et Peccator
        (Jude 3)

        1. And your boy Trump didn’t do jack about that either in order to get his Phase One Trade Deal. Your Cheeto Jesus Trump is more likely to have engaged with underage girls and prostitutes than Biden has, considering how close of a friend he was with Epstein.

  5. What handshake is that? Do boy scouts get taught to recognise handshakes, like knots? Did LU have frats, “Greek societies” and hazing?

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