Fallout in Falwell Family Over Trump Endorsement? Some Liberty U Alums are Livid

When Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University, endorsed Donald Trump for president, Christian leaders and voters outwardly questioned that endorsement. While Falwell said that Trump reminds him a lot of his father, the renowned, late evangelical pastor Jerry Falwell, Sr. who founded Liberty University, and hailed Trump as a great example of Christianity, many questioned his choice and his words.

Remember, it was Donald Trump who said last year in Iowa that he has never asked God for forgiveness. In regards to ‘doing something wrong,’ i.e. sinning, Trump said, “If I do something wrong, I think I just try to make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.”

Does Trump, who claims to be a Christian, believe he can absolve himself of his sins? That is what such a statement insinuates.

That doesn’t sit well with many Christians, who cannot understand how a Christian never asks God for forgiveness. In response to Falwell, Jr.’s endorsement of Trump, prominent Liberty alumni have spoken out. World Magazine spoke with many of them to get their thoughts on the endorsement.

Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, said, “I love and respect Jerry Falwell Jr. and consider Jerry and Becki friends, but I strongly disagree with his endorsement of Donald Trump.”

Dean Inserra, lead pastor at the Southern Baptist City Church in Tallahassee, said, “To try to equate Christian fruit with creating jobs is laughable. It’s insulting to anyone who paid a lot of money to attend that school.”

Janet Kelly, who served as the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2010 to 2014 added, “For a school that focuses on loving God and loving other people, it’s odd to endorse someone who only seems to love himself and other people who love him.”

But, it is what Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s brother, Jonathan, has said that will make one wonder if there will be a family fallout due to the endorsement of the brother considered to be more business-minded who heads the university, and the brother who took over the pastoral duties at their father’s church, Thomas Road Baptist Church.

Without referencing his brother’s endorsement or glowing words for Trump,  Jonathan Falwell tweeted what is believed to be a response to it.

He followed those tweets up with a full statement which he shared on his Facebook page.

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World Magazine reports that Liberty Alumni Network was involved in conversations, most of it negative, about the fact that Jerry Falwell, Jr. endorsed Donald Trump, not just that he made a presidential endorsement. While the university said in a series of tweets that they would not comment on the endorsement, the impact of the president of the university not only making the endorsement but giving interviews about it did not sit well with alumni who see it as a reflection on the university as a whole.

“[Fallwell Jr.] would not have his platform if not for his father’s name and the school,” said Chelsea Patterson, Liberty’s 2013 senior class president, who now works on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. “Even though he did make the endorsement in his personal capacity, he’s not stupid—he has to realize that it reflects on students, on teachers, on staff, on donors, and on the school.”

Patterson and several others said the announcement makes them less likely to give to the school and predicted long-term effects among donors. They said they’re becoming increasingly reluctant to be associated with their university in public.

“When Jerry Falwell Jr. makes a personal endorsement of Donald Trump, there are tens of thousands of us in our workplaces and stations who have to explain the rationale for it,” said former Pennsylvania state Rep. Jeff Coleman, a 2001 liberty graduate. “It’s not just a decision that impacts one person or one family.”

Alumni of Liberty who are critical of Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s endorsement have said that it is an indication that Falwell has lost sight of the university’s mission to “build champions for Christ.”


About the Author

Jennifer Burke
Jennifer Burke
Jennifer is a Co-Founder of PolitiStick and the Editor-in-Chief. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University and a certified teacher with 12 years experience in the classroom. Jennifer attended what is credited for being the first modern-day Tea Party rally in the country in the Seattle area and from there emerged as a powerful speaker and writer within the movement. While still in Washington State, Jennifer was selected to be a member of the second graduating class of the Jennifer Dunn Leadership Institute (JDLI), a program which identified future conservative leaders. Jennifer worked as the National Outreach Director for one of the largest conservative groups in the country and served as Managing Editor and writer for what quickly grew to become one of the top 15 conservative sites in the country. She brings to Politistick a passion for the fight for freedom for current and future generations.

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