If angels weep, they are weeping today over the earth-shaking events taking place at Liberty University, followed by reverberating aftershocks worldwide. That’s only slight hyperbole, especially in the religious world.
Jerry Falwell, Jr. was Liberty University president and did a very commendable job as an educator even though he was not trained in education. He generated a $1.60 billion endowment fund, erected many impressive buildings to where Liberty has the sixth-best campus in America, hugely increased student enrollment, established a School of Medicine and School of Law, and developed a world-class athletic program. Additionally, Liberty is the number one online college in America.
Evidently, Jerry did some impressive things as president.
Sadly, as the world knows, Jerry admitted his wife Becki had a sexual affair that reportedly lasted over six years. The additional allegation from the male adulterer is that Jerry also watched the affair between him and his wife. Jerry has not confirmed that perversion known as voyeurism.
After much media confusion, Liberty’s Board of Trustees accepted his resignation that included a $10.5 million retirement package. His contract signed in July of 2019, “entitles him to $10.5 million over two years, including $8 million in retirement and $2.5 million for the equivalent of two years’ salary.”
My sources at Liberty and Thomas Road Baptist Church tell me there is “outrage” over the contract. One email revealed, “The [Trustee] Board has taken a beating over the $10 million.” I have some longtime friends on Liberty’s board and a few casual acquaintances, and I don’t mean to embarrass them, but did they confront Jerry about the sordid lifestyle of their president and his wife?
If not, why not?
This is not new. Jerry has been acting like an-out-of-control high school freshman for a long time. Liberty University has been receiving bad press in recent months with outrageous charges against Jerry. If some of the more egregious accusations of the past 18 months are true, then the compromises of the son will tarnish the impressive contributions of his father.
With the news of recent days, we know that the charges of the past are minimized by the factual charges of the present.
Being a longtime friend of Jerry Sr. and Liberty Dean Dr. Harold Wilmington plus knowing many Liberty graduates, I decided to get the facts of Jerry’s past activities from the source, so I emailed Scott Lamb, Liberty’s Senior Vice President of Communications and Public Engagement on October 19 and again on November 12. Scott wrote back on November 12, saying, “we’re just not under a mandate to answer any, and every question posed to us.”
Of course not, however, friends and supporters of Liberty have a right to hear some answers regarding charges as reported in the major media.
I am a longtime friend of Jerry Sr. and Liberty, and I bought a Liberty annuity, so I think I have a right to some answers. I emailed Jerry on November 14 but did not hear from him. But then he probably doesn’t know me. At least, I don’t remember meeting him.
Jerry’s pastor, University Trustees, family, and friends failed him in not confronting him with the many accusations that would get any Liberty student expelled.
Jerry tweeted about a fellow Baptist, “Sorry to be crude, but pastors like @plattdavid need to grow a pair. Just saying,” That is not acceptable speech that honors Christ. Christians are commanded in Col. 3:17 “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus …”
That includes Jerry, Donald Trump, me, and all other professing Christians.
A high-ranking Liberty official said, “At Liberty, Falwell is very, very vocal about his sex life.” A great sex life is commendable, even Christian (!), between a naturally born man and a naturally born woman married to each other. However, it does not follow that one talks about it with anyone except in a counseling setting. Jerry’s sex talk seems to be common knowledge around Liberty Mountain.
If so, Jerry is dumb as a post and needs to repent.
It was charged that there are “racy” or embarrassing photos of Jerry, his wife, or both of them. Jerry said. “There are no compromising or embarrassing photos of me.” Good, but what about photos of Becki in a French maid costume? He said, “I never had any picture of Becki Falwell dressed in a French maid uniform,” but are there any compromising photos of her?
It is common for those who attend a couples’ conference to hear the teacher/preacher/ family counselor suggest a way to spice up a marriage is for the wife to do some strange things such as her greeting hubby in the evening wrapped in Saran wrap, or dressed as a French maid! While that may be quirky, such photos should never be taken or shown to friends. The Liberty Trustees should have asked if he (or anyone) took questionable pictures and permitted them to be seen accidentally or purposefully.
If so, Jerry is dumber than a post, and the Trustees may be culpable for inaction.
The Trustees should have asked if Jerry supported his son Trey’s purchase of a “gay-friendly” hostel in Miami Beach in 2013. Evidently, he did if he lent him the money or guaranteed the loan. With Jerry’s lack of wisdom and a pathetic sense of right and wrong, how could the Trustees approve such a generous retirement contract without a morality clause? Or was there a clause that does not legally apply to the situation?
Even the Hollywood crowd demands a protective clause in their contracts.
Jerry’s support of a “gay-friendly” business cannot be justified with Scripture since, I Timothy 5:22 commands, “neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.” If he helped purchase the place, then he is a participant in every drunken party, adulterous affair, and homosexual hook-up.
And he needs to repent.
A well-placed Liberty source told me that Jerry Sr. would never have anything to do with homosexuality or abortion. Since I knew Jerry Sr. almost 60 years, I agree. Jerry Sr. would have run from the pro-homosexual hostel deal as if his hair were on fire.
His son did not run away; he financed it.
Jerry is said by Liberty people to boast about the size of his genitals! Is he so insecure that such boasting inflates his ego, providing a false sense of power and influence? There is little doubt that the boasting was coarse, crude, and crass if reports are accurate.
Jerry was quoted in an unrelated article in the Washington Post saying, “I have been accused of having balls the size of cannonballs.” That may be acceptable talk with athletes in a locker room or even the boardroom with a bunch of lawyers, but it is always juvenile, wrong, and never in good taste. He would not have said that in the presence of his mother or father.
Did the Trustees look at this quote and try to help him?
Obviously, Jerry has no convictions about visiting nightclubs since he admitted visiting the Wall nightclub in Miami “to listen to music for about 30 minutes.” A photo was published, but Jerry denied that the photo of him and Trey was genuine. However, there is no question about the picture of Trey and his wife holding drinks at the club.
Did the Trustees confront him about his night at the nightclub?
Brandon Ambrosino accused Jerry of trying to scrub the nightclub pictures from the internet; then Jerry strangely emailed him asking, “Why would I want a picture like that taken down if I had seen it?” That suggests very clearly that being in a nightclub is permissible, and nothing a Christian leader needs to defend. Are Liberty students permitted to frequent such clubs?
The issue is not if Jerry tried to get photos scrubbed, but did they exist?
Politico reported there are “photos from that evening in which Jerry Falwell Jr. and other members of the Falwell family can be seen—including Jerry’s wife, Becki, sons Trey and Wesley, and Trey’s wife, Sarah. In the images, the Falwells can be seen in the middle of the club’s dance floor, while lasers and other light effects reflect around them. In at least two photos, Falwell’s family members can be seen holding alcohol.”
The photos are rather damaging. Does Jerry now or did he in the past drink alcoholic beverages as has been reported?
If so, he needs to repent. If the Trustees refused to deal with that, then they need to repent. Moreover, it is shocking that a golden parachute would be given to him without an escape clause.
It would appear from what we know that Jerry Falwell, Jr. has major problems—lack of wisdom and commitment—and for sure did not get any of his father’s character, convictions, or common sense.
The world now knows about the Falwell failures, but to be honest, fair, and balanced, there were other failures if the Board of Trustees refused to deal with very public and damaging accusations. An explanation is due to the school why a generous retirement contract was signed, with the board members knowing of Jerry’s failures.
It will not surprise me if Donald Trump, in a seizure of compassion and obligation (for Falwell’s past support), puts Jerry in a top spot in his new or even present administration. I hope not.
But even more destructive, why did Jerry’s local church (wherever it is) not put him under church discipline. But few churches do that anymore. You know, “it will hurt the ministry.”
Oh, yes, tell me about it.
It appears that to Jerry, Christianity is a flag to fight under but not a faith to follow.