Liberty and Politics By: Sam Robillard

In 1971, Jerry Falwell Sr. established Liberty University with the goal of "Training champions for Christ."

In 2015, the race for the White House began.

On June 16, 2015, Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the Presidency.

Liberty University's President, Jerry Falwell Jr., announced his support for Donald Trump early in the race, calling him "a successful executive and entrepreneur, a wonderful father and a man who I believe can lead our country to greatness again" (Costa 2016).

President Falwell received tremendous pushback from the evangelical community for supporting Donald Trump. At the time, there were other candidates that more closely aligned with a Biblical worldview, such as Ben Carson.

Jerry Falwell's support of Donald Trump casted a shadow of misperception over Liberty University.

While a clear misperception, the general public and the media saw President Falwell's support of Trump as representative of the opinions and beliefs of Liberty University as a whole.

Some of Liberty University's students and faculties felt misrepresented by President Falwell's statements and actions. To some, it seemed like President Falwell forsook the values the university was founded upon when he endorsed Donald Trump.

The student protests and the resignation of longtime faculty member, Mark DeMoss, were clear signs for President Falwell of unrest on the campus. He responded by saying, "any time you support a candidate, and you’re an official at a university, you just to have to accept the fact that a large percentage of the community is not going to agree with you" (Ambrosino 2016).

In regards to whether or not President Falwell should avoid speaking publicly on political issues, one unnamed Liberty professor said, "part of the sacrifice of leadership should involve giving up some of his own freedoms in order to be a better steward of the public image of the university and the thousands of people associated with it" (Costa 2016).

In a world full of confusion and misperception, President Falwell should continue to focus on furthering the cause of Christ, rather than promoting a political candidate.

While Liberty University does invite speakers for convocation of all beliefs and walks of life, such as Ben Carson and Bernie Sanders, there were far more political speakers prejudiced for Trump's Presidency. A greater balance in convocation speakers would provide for more student exposure to different worldviews, causing students to search their own beliefs and strengthen their grip on Biblical values. While some speakers like Hillary Clinton will and did decline, perhaps less high-profile speakers that hold different worldviews than Liberty University would be more inclined to speak.
President Falwell, You are the Chief Standard-Bearer of liberty University. AS you hold such a position, Please consider how your words and actions, particularly in the political realm, affect the University your father founded. By avoiding Politically involving the University through your words and endorsements you can better serve those whose education and growth you have been entrusted with. Instead of promoting political candidates, may we continue to promote our lord and Savior Jesus CHrist to a lost and dying World.
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Samuel Robillard
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