January 2020 Church & State Magazine | People & Events

Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University and a close ally of President Donald Trump, announced in December that he’s creating a think tank to promote Christian nationalist values in American law and culture.

His new organization will be called the Falkirk Center for Faith and Liberty, reported the Lynchburg News & Advance. The newspaper reported that the center was formed by Falwell and Charlie Kirk, executive director of Turning Point USA, a group that works to persuade young people to adopt far-right political ideology.

“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,” Kirk said in a written statement. “It’s an honor to partner with President Jerry Falwell and Liberty University on this purpose-driven mission that will be used to organize an army of believers in faith and liberty, from renowned pastors to young influencers, to renew our sacred freedoms and defend our deeply held convictions.”

The News & Advance reported that the Falkirk Center will be owned by Liberty University and will be based at the school, which is in Lynchburg.

“As attacks on traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs grow in frequency and intensity, the need has never been greater for a national revival of our foundational principles through­out our society and institutions in America,” Falwell said in a statement provided to the media. “We are delighted that Liberty University can play a part in this mission for Christ and American ideals.”

Falwell announced that the center has already named five fellows he said will act as spokespersons for the cause. They are Erika Lane Fran­tzve, a former Miss Arizona USA beauty pageant winner; Josh Allan Murray, a former contestant on “The Bachelorette” television show; Antonia Okafor Cover, a staffer at Gun Owners of America; David J. Harris Jr., a right-wing writer; and Jaco Boo­yens, a conservative filmmaker.

The News & Advance also reported that the center has named more than 60 “ambassadors.” Their job will be to take far-right politics and fundamentalist Christianity to students in high school and college.

The center also plans to have a heavy presence on social media.

Falwell has run Liberty University since the death of his father, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, in 2007. The younger Falwell was among the first Christian nationalist leaders to endorse Trump for president and has since gained a reputation as a leading Trump apologist. (See “The Not-So Magnificent Seven,” June 2019 Church & State)