Pastors seek apology from Jerry Falwell for racially insensitive Tweet

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Alumni are speaking up about a recent Tweet shared by Liberty University president Jerry Falwell, Jr. In the photo, Falwell shows a picture of a custom printed medical face mask which features the controversial photo of current Virginia governor Ralph Northam who appeared in a racially insensitive photo in his medical school yearbook which featured two men; one in blackface and one dressed as a klansman.

In another Tweet defending himself, Falwell said he had done this in response to cutbacks in higher education from governor Northam.

Alumni have called for Falwell’s resignation. I think Liberty is a fine school. I respect the university. It’s one of the best known Christian institutions in America, but these antics are unacceptable. Seriously. What is that? He’s the president of the university! And given the conservative Christian values of the school, such a display should absolutely be beneath Falwell. Where’s the grace? Where’s the virtue? If you want to criticize Northam for reducing higher education funding, go right ahead, but that was the most untactful way in which Falwell could have possibly made his point.

Falwell’s relationship with President Trump has bee talked about at length. But one of the ways where a Christian should not be imitating the president is in terms of verbiage and social media escapades.

A letter from a group of 35 Liberty alumni who are all African American pastors and ministry leaders was sent to Falwell. It’s very thoughtful and brings up legitimate grievances with the school’s president. A petition has over 30,000 signatures asking Falwell to apologize.

The letter states:

   For several years, you have said and defended inappropriate statements that represent Liberty and our faith very poorly. You have belittled staff, students and parents, you have defended inappropriate behaviors of politicians, encouraged violence, and disrespected people of other faiths. We were all taught at Liberty about the sanctity of life (Jeremiah 1:5) and the dignity of every human – made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and yet, you have repeatedly violated and misrepresented core Christian principles (Romans 12:9-21) through brash tweets and statements that harm our Christian witness. 

One of the striking indictments in the letter was:

A review of your social media and statements during your presidency would lead many to believe that you care much more about politics than Jesus Christ, Evangelism, and the discipleship of students.

I’ve had the exact same thought before. The Northam Tweet is bad enough, but it’s also part of a pattern of inappropriate behavior. Falwell should apologize and repent.

Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear what you think!