Last week, after Liberty University president Jerry Falwell, Jr. tweeted a racist picture featuring one man in blackface and another in a KKK costume, all as part of some pathetic attempt at a political joke, one Black professor published his resignation letter.
Now nearly three dozen Black alums from the Christian school are speaking out as well. They published an open letter demanding Falwell’s resignation.
Those alums appear fully aware that Falwell won’t step down, but that doesn’t mean they’re without leverage. The religious leaders and student-athletes who signed the letter say they will no longer urge students to attend Liberty (which would hit Falwell right in the pocketbook), withhold their own donations, and pressure other Christians to avoid speaking at the school.
“You have belittled staff, students and parents, you have defended inappropriate behaviors of politicians, encouraged violence, and disrespected people of other faiths,” they wrote, advising Falwell that “your heart is in politics more than Christian academia or ministry.”
“While your tweet may have been in jest about Virginia’s Governor, it made light of our nation’s painful history of slavery and racism,” the alumni wrote to Falwell. They described the tweet as “a microcosm of the past several years of divisive rhetoric” that falls short of their faith’s ideals.
Falwell’s only response was to say “Jesus got involved in politics.” (Who knew Jesus wore a MAGA hat?)
Give the alumni some credit here. Instead of staying silent, they’re speaking out. Then again, it raises the question of why they waited until now to denounce the actions of a man who’s cruel, childish, and completely self-centered.. Somehow, Falwell’s anti-LGBTQ bigotry, his censorship of the school’s newspaper, and his shameless right-wing pandering never bothered them to the point where they were ashamed? But it’s something.
Maybe this letter will encourage other graduates, who no longer have to fear Falwell’s wrath, to speak out as well.