In September 2020, I wrote a piece at Religion News Service titled, “Reforming Liberty University in the post-Falwell era should begin with the Falkirk Center.” Earlier today, I pointed out that the Falkirk Center is now leading efforts to change the results of the 2020 presidential election. Most institutions of higher learning would be embarrassed by the fact that they host a center on campus devoted to spreading false claims of voter fraud, but Liberty seems to wear it as a badge of honor. I would love to hear how the administration of the university reconciles its support of Trump conspiracy theories with its commitment to the pursuit of higher learning.
We are starting to learn a lot more about what Liberty University and the Falkirk Center have been doing lately. According to Maggie Stevens at Politico:
- Liberty has “Blurred the line between education and politics.”
- The Falkirk Center claims to be a “think tank” but it has produced no peer-reviewed academic work.
- The Falkirk Center is paying Jenna Ellis and Sebastian Gorka as “fellows.”
- The Falkirk Center bought $50,000 worth of Trump and GOP campaign ads on Facebook.
- Some Liberty University board members want to shut down the Falkirk Center, but they are in the minority.
- Karen Swallow Prior, a former Liberty English professor, believes that “The Falkirk Center…represents everything that was wrong with Liberty when Jerry [Falwell] was there…It is brazenly partisan.”
- Liberty spokesperson Scott Lamb claims that Liberty University and the Falkirk Center have “received hundreds of supportive e-mails.”
- A Liberty University professor, Phillip Kline, appeared on the Falkirk Center podcast and “encouraged state legislatures to ignore the vote and appoint their own electors to the Electoral College, or consider blowing of the mid-December Electoral College meeting for another date.”
- As a nonprofit organization, Liberty University is “pushing the boundaries” of its status under Section 501c(3) of the federal tax code, which forbids spending money on political campaigns.
- In 2018, Liberty gave $2.2. million to court evangelical Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, The Heritage Foundation, and Citizens United. These payments were approved by the seven members of Liberty’s “executive board.” The rest of the board did not know about the payments.
- The Falkirk Center took center stage on the Liberty University at the same time the university started cutting programs in the liberal arts, humanities, and divinity.
Read Stevens’s entire piece here.
Remember, not all Christian colleges are the same.