Liberty Students Protest Falwell’s Behavior: “This is Not What Christ Would Have.”

By Julie Roys
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About 30 student protesters gathered on the steps of Montview Student Union at Liberty University today to protest the alleged misconduct of Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. Protest organizer, Elizabeth Brooks—a junior, politics and policy major at Liberty—told me she was prompted to action after reading articles in Politico and Reuter’s this week.

Jerry Falwell, Jr.

The Politico article outlined several instances of alleged self-dealing at the nonprofit institution, including Falwell hiring his son, Trey Falwell, to manage a shopping center the school owns. It also accused Falwell of nurturing a “culture of fear” at the school and of speaking of his wife in sexually explicit ways.

But what Brooks said especially bothered her was a Reuter’s article , which included texts by Falwell calling a Liberty student “retarded” and the school’s police chief a “half-wit.”

“This is a habitual pattern that we’ve seen from the president, whether on Twitter calling people ‘idiots,’ or in texts calling them ‘retarded,’” Brooks said. Fueled by disgust over what she had read, Brooks said she texted several friends Wednesday night, saying, “Guys, we can’t stand for this. This is not what Christ would have. This is not what Jerry Falwell, Sr. (the deceased founder of Liberty), would have.”

“Guys, we can’t stand for this. This is not what Christ would have. This is not what Jerry Falwell, Sr., would have.”

Brooks said about two dozen students responded positively to her appeal. But she said the greatest response came from alumni after news of the protest hit social media. “I got a lot of feedback from alumni, saying, ‘Thank you so much. I wish we could be there!'”

Protesters praying

The protest took place at 11:45 a.m. as students and staff were exiting the university’s convocation service. According to Brooks, the group swelled to about 200 as three counter-protesters carrying signs saying, “Keep Jerry as President,” confronted the group.

But Brooks said removing Falwell is not the aim of #StudentsForChange—the name adopted by the protesters. Instead, she said the group wants an investigation into Falwell’s behavior, more transparency within the administration, and more accountability for Falwell himself.

Brooks said that once #StudentsForChange communicated their goals, the counter-protesters became less contrarian, and it sparked open and respectful debate. “It was a really beautiful dialogue,” she said. “There was no down-talking, no disrespect.”

Someone shot video of an interaction between students and posted it on social media:

When I talked to Brooks yesterday evening, she said she was nervous about possible retribution from Liberty’s administration. However, she said no administration or faculty attended the protest.

Scott Lamb, senior vice president of university communications, told me today that Liberty administration had approved the student protest. When I asked him if there would be any retribution for student involvement, he said, “Absolutely not. There’s no retribution for a peaceful protest.”

When asked about the allegations in Politico article, he said, “The board of trustees is aware of both the allegation in those stories and the full truth of the matter, and the truth will come out. However, those news stories are not built on the truth.”

On Tuesday, Falwell told The Associated Press that the leaked emails included in the Politico article belonged to the university and that he was asking the FBI to investigate what he called a “criminal” smear campaign. (The emails in the Reuter’s article reportedly were from Falwell’s personal email account.) Falwell also said he intends to hire the “meanest lawyer in New York” to sue the people who leaked the emails in civil courts.

When asked about pursuing legal recourse, Lamb said that Falwell and the school “are in alignment” and that the leaking of emails is “an institutional concern.” Lamb declined to comment on the actual content of the emails.

“I’m going to be me no matter what. That will never change and I will say whatever I think whenever I want to say it.”

However, yesterday Falwell defended calling his police chief a “half-wit.” “The chief of police spoke out against my idea to allow concealed carry on campus and that was the reason I was saying things that weren’t so nice about him. . . . I’m going to be me no matter what. That will never change and I will say whatever I think whenever I want to say it.”

Elizabeth Brooks says her group intends to keep voicing their opinions, as well. She said she doesn’t know what action will be next, but added, “Students for change isn’t going anywhere.”

Next Saturday on The Roys Report, a former department chair and dean at Liberty will be joining me to discuss these issues. I also extended an invitation through Scott Lamb for Jerry Falwell, Jr., to join us, but have not yet heard back.

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17 thoughts on “Liberty Students Protest Falwell’s Behavior: “This is Not What Christ Would Have.””

  1. This is a sad account of Jerry Falwell Jr.’s behavior and glad to see students protesting against it. It sounds like Mr. Falwell has failed in being a steward. One should always suspect when there is such nepotism where the son takes over for a father like this.

    Interesting to hear about the alumni support for the protestors. This may mean that the alumni may withhold financial support and money not coming in may be the only thing that gets the attention of Liberty University’s administration.

  2. I spent two weeks in Lynchburg as an adult (Lutheran) on a business trip. The Liberty students impressed me a lot. They started conversations with me in the parking lots of stores and laundromats and their Bible knowledge was first rate. They were unfailingly polite. I am not at all surprised that the protesters and counter protesters engaged in polite dialogue.

  3. Here is a Non-Profit organization that is self-serving and Nepotism and becomes Real Estate Brokers and who do they truly help but themselves! Faculty and Administration don’t want to lose their Jobs so they can’t participate in the Protest. The separate gym for Faculty vs. Students is form of elite and hitlerism like we’re better than the Students who pay to get educated and pay their salaries. They own a Mall in the guise of Non-Profit and what else? How much money helps the poor, fatherless, widow, orphan, homeless; single parents and their children and all the people that have ever donated to this Institution? Lifestyles of Jr., his siblings and his Children how are living well off Non-Profit Organization and NOT accountable and above the Law after reading his Wikipedia Page pretty disturbing.

    1. “Someone’s Gotta Tell the Freakin’ Truth’: Jerry Falwell’s Aides Break Their Silence”-9/9/2019-Brandon Ambrosino–Politico Magazine.
    2. “Why evangelicals won’t care about Jerry Falwell Jr.’s apparent sex scandal” 9/9/2019-Amanda Marcotte–Salon
    3. “Falwell Jr. Says FBI to Investigate ‘Criminal Conspiracy’ at Liberty University”-9/11/2019-The Hill.
    4. “Jerry Falwell Jr. Shows How the Advance of Christendom Can Harm Christianity”-9/11/2019-David French–National Review (nationalreview.com)
    5. “Exclusive: Falwell blasted Liberty student as ‘retarted,’ police chief as ‘half-wit’ in emails”-9/12/2019 Aram Roston and Joshua Schneyer—Reuters
    6. “Jerry Fallwell Jr. faces backlash over emails in which he allegedly belittled students and staff at Liberty University”-9/13/2019-Daniel Burke-CNN Religion Writer.

    Is Falwell Jr., behaving Christian and Christlike?
    “Exclusive: Trump fixer Cohen says he helped Falwell handle racy photos”-5/7/2019-Aram Roston-Reuters
    Read articles on Falwell Jr., Wikipedia page. Photo’s reveal maybe hatred of women, why would you take Photo’s of your wife and put them out to the public unless you dislike or have a hatred of women because eventually they are going to go public, inevitable. Reading about like Jr., is above the law and above reproach and accountability for all behavior.

  4. She should have talked to Falwell first to get the true account of what was said and why, rather then believing a ‘questionable at best’ media story. Bible scripture says to first address the one who offended you and try to settle it one to one, but she went straight to assuming he is guilty and protest. Guess the college missed that chapter in their lessons?? 15 minutes of fame?

    1. Jesse: Matthew 18:15-17 read Matthew Henry’s Commentary on. Leaders are held to a different standard and just reading his Wikipedia page as just having photo’s of his wife which is Marriage and Intimacy and not for everyone’s fodder or locker-room talk how very sad of just Morals, Integrity and Character and Humility and LIVING IN TRUTH rather than covering up. The Occult lives in darkness, hides truth, sweeps sin under carpet is John 8:44 and John 10:10 so what is this man’s fruit overall? Time will tell. Just because their Leaders doesn’t mean they know everything, healed up themselves and behave Christian and or Christ likeness whatsoever and have even read their Bible because the majority are sure NOT living the Bible. Why we sheeple need to worship a type of King Saul is beyond me, “exploiting the need to belong” by Stephen Parsons. WE NEED TO BE FRUIT INSPECTORS PERIOD IN REGARDS TO OUR LEADERS!
      “As the Church goes, so goes the World”; if the World is CORRUPT it’s because our Leaders are as we are all being entertained like “Frog in boiling water”, celebrating and tithing and attending to liars.

  5. No surprise: Falwell is behaving like the person he admires and supports (Trump). Trump behaves the same way (I.e., defending name-calling, etc) and evangelicals stay supporting him. I expect the same in this case, too.

    I also expect to continue having to defend my faith to non-believers who are watching all of this (Falwell, Trump, and the blind evangelical support of everything they say and do) and question if Christians actually practice what we preach. And I get why they ask.

    Sigh. Jesus is weeping.

  6. I left a message that exposed the bad will of those who attack Jerry Falwell Jr., but I see that you are not willing to publish it. The work of Politico and Reuters and alias, is is the same work that introduced feminism in Southern Baptist Seminaries and the result was that a conservative teacher as Page Paterson was ousted by the new hysterical left. July, I admire your work in exposing the corrupt preachers, but I deplore the lack of understanding in the face of the Marxist onslaught that is going on in the areas that would withstand Marxism.

  7. https://crooksandliars.com/cltv/2019/09/frank-schaeffer-joins-am-joy-expound

    https://www.vox.com/identities/2019/9/13/20857490/jerry-falwell-jr-liberty-university-real-estate-self-dealing-polls-trump

    https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/trump-jerry-falwell-jr-miami-beach-pool-boy-evangelical-explained-850380/

    https://www.vox.com/2018/4/18/17252510/online-degree-jerry-falwell-jr-liberty-university-propublica-nytimes

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/07/24/inside-liberty-universitys-culture-fear-how-jerry-falwell-jr-silences-students-professors-who-reject-his-pro-trump-politics/?noredirect=on

    https://washingtonpress.com/2019/06/19/jerry-falwell-jr-s-pool-boy-scandal-just-escalated-with-nude-photo-revelation/ (This article refers to a 2017 Story so two years earlier…)

    Problem is this is a Non-Profit Organization supposedly in the GUISE OF FORE-PROFIT as Falwell’s Jr., behavior and bragging. There are two sides to every story. Best to live in truth and NOT hide anything, the occult lies and hides sin, covers and sweeps sin under carpet. IF, Falwell Jr., is Christ and Christlike he will live in truth or John 8:44; John 10:10. WHAT IS HIS FRUIT, is he living Christlike and taking care of the Poor, Homeless, Orphans, Widow people in general in SERVING AND HELPING AND Building Shelters for the Homeless and those in Need or is another self-serving smarmy B.S. pyramid scheme Business in the guise of 501c3 Non-Profit. I have my issues with Dr. Dobson but I can’t imagine him defiling his wife and exposing pictures because has obviously Falwell Jr. has women hating issues. Time for people to quit supporting Hucksters, Con-Men, Snake Oil Salesmen, Wolves, False Teachers, False Shepherds, Liars off the People’s Time and Money and building their empire’s, dynasty’s and their philanthropic dreams off of Name of God, Jesus, Holy Spirit who don’t get any money at all!

  8. Sad that the people who are supposed to be our examples of Christ fail so miserably. Pray the Lord will help them to seek forgiveness and to become what Christ wants them to be.

  9. 1 Peter 4:17 – For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

    Evangelical’s cult-like support of leaders, teachers, and pastors called into account for wrong behavior is deeply troubling. In the body of Christ we must all hold one another accountable for conducting ourselves in a manner befitting the gift of salvation we have received.

    Sadly, there is an even more disturbing scandal involving Falwell Jr. gaining traction. If it ever does become mainstream it will be another black eye for Evangelicals. Learn from the James MacDonald – Harvest mess. No man or woman is above Jesus and He alone is beyond reproach. Those angrily posting because allegations have arisen and are being discussed should reconsider your responses. The world is watching and judging how Christians deal with scandal in our own midst.

  10. People, why do you believe anything and everything the hysterical left is telling you? They are bend on destroying everybody who opposes their agenda. Jerry Falwell Jr. had no sin before he supported president Trump. Then, hell broke loose. I saw that they planted again and again articles in the news papers attacking him and his integrity, and i knew that this day was coming. They do the same thing with Devin Nunes, a man who exposed their crookedness, They do the same thing with anyone who dares to resist their Marxist worldview and politics. There is a company specialized in destroying the character of anyone targeted by the left. People are paid big salaries just to come up with lies, with half truths, with any kind of dirt in the media to destroy the reputation of persons who are in their cross-hairs. Wake up before it’s too late! Where is the presupposition of innocence until proven guilty?
    Exodus 23:1-2 “Do not spread a false report. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness. Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong… do not pervert justice.”

  11. Do you really think a student is going to get to meet with Jr. one on one? AND he would tell the truth? She has the right to protest regardless. Plus he openly admitted to calling the police chief and a student a name and basically said this is who he is and isn’t going to change. Great Christian leadership.

  12. In this media world, you are a fool if you believe these articles. All hearsay and smear writing. Do some research and read LU’s response. Only concrete thing is a stolen email from LU server where Jerry chose some poor words in a private conversation. That’s it. I’d love to have a copy of everything you’ve texted, said, etc.

  13. Yet, YOU are not inspecting any fruit, you are relying on lies. They lied about Jesus, Paul, etc. You actually know NOTHING about LU, its management, its leaders, etc.

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