Liberty University, a private evangelical Christian school in Virginia started in the 1970s by Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell, has launched a new think tank described in an introductory video as a “support network for the revival of Christian American culture across the nation.”
Announced Nov. 30, the Falkirk Center for Faith and Liberty will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty University under its 501(c)(3) charter. The name is a wordplay combining the names of co-founders Jerry Falwell Jr., Liberty’s current president, and Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, a conservative grassroots activist network that operates on more than 1,500 high school and college campuses across the country.
In a co-written article published by the Daily Caller, Falwell and Kirk said the name also alludes to the Battle of Falkirk, a major battle in 1298 in a war for Scottish independence from England popularized in the 1996 epic film Braveheart produced, directed by and starring actor Mel Gibson.
“For the past few decades, conservatives have felt like we’ve been losing the battle,” they said. “From Hollywood to academia, from corporations to government, from special interest groups to the mainstream media, a growing and strident anti-Christian, anti-American sentiment has long dominated the most powerful institutions in America.”
“It’s sort of sad we have to do something like this,” Falwell said in a Dec. 4 interview on Fox News. “It’s a free service to the public to provide basic education on American history, because so many universities have become liberal indoctrination camps, the public schools have not taught U.S. history in so long, and young people don’t understand the whole idea of the American experiment was based on the Judeo-Christian ethic, was based on the idea of free enterprise, limited government, and the idea that all of our rights come from our creator, not from government, not from a church.”
Kirk founded Turning Point USA in 2012, when he was 18 years old. The group operates a website called Professor Watchlist, documenting and exposing what Kirk has called “college professors who discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values, and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”
“It’s time we went on offense to stand up for the Church in America and to actively promote American freedoms based on the values enshrined in the U.S. Constitution,” said Kirk, chairman of Students for Trump awarded an honorary doctorate from Liberty University in May.
According to the press release, the think tank will recruit advocates to promote “core beliefs of America’s Founders in limited government, free enterprise, individual rights and liberties endowed by our Creator, and their deliberate and intentional creation of a republic and not a theocracy.”
“We’re advocating the idea that America is not a theocracy, unlike what Nancy Pelosi and others say – Pete Buttigieg says – when they say Jesus was charitable therefore we should be socialists,” Falwell elaborated in his interview with Fox News. “That’s not what Jesus taught.”
Falwell described the center’s message as “just basic History 101 that has not been taught in recent decades.”
“In public schools the teacher unions force American history to be taught as some sort of sinister, bourgeois, white man taking advantage of everybody else,” Falwell said in an interview aired by the One America News Network. “It’s just totally opposite of what happened.”
The Falkirk Center for Faith and Liberty also named five Falkirk Fellows, who along with Kirk will act as the institution’s “front-facing spokespeople.”
- Jaco Boovens, president and CEO of the film company After Eden Pictures and founder of SHAREtogether, a non-profit organization fighting against global sex trafficking.
- Antonia Okafor Cover, founder and president of EMPOWERED, a nonprofit group designed to educate, train and equip young women in the use of firearms for protection on college campuses and recently named outreach director for Gun Owners of America.
- Erika Lane Frantzve, Miss Arizona USA in 2012 who in the past two years has focused on supporting the military.
- David Harris Jr., author of a book titled Why I Couldn’t Stay Silent: One Man’s Battle as a Black Conservative.
- Josh Allan Murray, an actor who was the winner of the 10th season of the ABC reality show The Bachelorette in 2014 and returned for the 2016 spinoff Bachelor in Paradise.