U.S. Rep. Mark Walker (R-S.C.), who also serves on Liberty University’s Music Faculty Advisory Board, is calling on the university’s president to step down in the wake of an inappropriate and now-deleted social media post.
In a tweet on Thursday, the lawmaker said that Jerry Falwell Jr.’s “ongoing behavior is appalling.” Walker’s statement came on the heels of a post in which Falwell can be seen with his arm around a woman who was not his wife — both of whom had their pants unbuttoned and unzipped.
“Convinced Falwell should step down”
Falwell was also holding a glass containing a dark liquid he described in the caption as “black water” that he was holding as a “prop.”
He has since apologized for the post and removed it, but the fallout continued with statements of condemnation including Walker’s tweet.
“As a Music Faculty Advisory Board Member and former instructor [at Liberty University], I’m convinced Falwell should step down,” he wrote. “None of us are perfect, but students, faculty, alumni and [LU Praise] deserve better.”
While the nature of the image is certainly controversial, Falwell offered an explanation along with his apology. He said the woman is his wife’s pregnant assistant and both of them were having trouble fastening their pants just before the photo was taken.
Although he said the incident was in “good fun” during a recent outing, it is just the latest in a series of questionable acts on his part.
A string of controversy
As the Washington Post explained, he attracted opprobrium for opting against shutting the university down early on in the coronavirus outbreak.
Walker, a former pastor, might be reacting merely to Falwell’s social media gaffe and its reflection on his character as the leader of a Christian university. The push to discredit Liberty University and its president, however, long predates the most recent scandal.
Falwell appears to understand that it appears hypocritical for him to appear in such a compromised position. Earlier accusations that he distributed racy photos around the office and discussed his sex life also stand in stark contrast to the modesty taught at the university he leads.
Walker acknowledged, however, that nobody is perfect. Whether Falwell’s imperfections are significant enough to warrant his resignation remains to be seen.
In any case, the story provides another opportunity for the media to trash this university and, by extension, the Christian values it espouses. Fortunately, most people are smart enough to separate the actions of a man from the tenets of an entire faith.