Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Trouble at Liberty U.

Trump and Jerry Falwell Jr.
via NBC News
Monday, about three dozen African-American alumni of Liberty University demanded that Jerry Falwell Jr. step down as president of the university. This was in response to Falwell mocking Virginia's mask-wearing requirement by referencing the blackface scandal that engulfed Ralph Northam, the state's governor last year.

CampusPride has placed Liberty University on its Worst list for LGBTQ youth:
Liberty University has qualified for the Worst List because it has a long and well-documented history of anti-LGBTQ discrimination, including placing students in conversion therapy; denying tuition discounts to same-sex and trans spouses of military personnel, despite offering those discounts to heterosexual and cisgender spouses; and a formal affiliation with the dangerously anti-LGBTQ Liberty Counsel.
The AP reports that it received a copy of a letter from the alumni stating:
35 faith leaders and former student-athletes told Falwell that his past comments "have repeatedly violated and misrepresented" Christian principles. They said they would stop urging students to attend Liberty, would no longer donate to the university, and would urge fellow people of faith to avoid speaking at the school unless Falwell changes his behavior or steps aside.
"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."
Falwell Jr. is an avid supporter of Donald Trump. In that orbit there seems to be a consensus that the image of people wearing masks is not in Trump's best political interests. In other words, people should get sick and die to give Trump a better chance of getting reelected.

Indeed, Falwell has claimed that Governor Northam has instituted the mask requirement because the governor feared that the coronavirus situation was improving. Falwell further claimed that the governor “needs fear and crisis to bolster” power and to limit personal freedom.

Aside from Falwell's inability to read minds, the more rational explanation is that Governor Northam is trying to contain the pandemic. It would appear that Falwell is also parroting Trump who refuses to wear a face covering for political purposes.

We created some mess in 2016. Let's hope that we (at least most of us) have learned our lesson.

Meanwhile I have issued a FOIA request to the IRS regarding Liberty University. Somehow, a billion dollar operation is now required to file only a (e-Postcard) 990-N which obliviates transparency. My guess is that Falwell is trying to hide his compensation.

Liberty filed the abbreviated return for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The 990-N has eight simple lines of information and requires no financial data. To qualify, the organization must have revenues below $50,000.

For the year ended June 30, 2017 Falwell received just over $1 million. Furthermore, Liberty University has effective control of a for-profit corporation, Construction Management Associates, which received $65 million from Liberty University in 2017 and was apparently formed with Liberty University capital.

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