Liberty University’s Falkirk Center celebrated its one-year anniversary this week. The Center describes its purpose as “educating, inspiring, and mobilizing Christians in the battle to preserve American liberty and rally citizens in an effort to shape government policies, national institutions, and American society through a Biblical worldview.”
Like its bullying co-founders Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Charlie Kirk, the Center takes an aggressive posture in defense of a Christian nationalist vision and in opposition to secularism. “I don’t care what the winds of wokeism tell us,” said Executive Director Ryan Helfenbein in an article on Liberty’s website. “We don’t just want to be an organization that barks; we want to be an organization that bites.”
“The function and the moral mission of the Falkirk Center is to go on the offense in the name of Christian principles and in the name of exceptional, God-given American liberties,” says the Center’s website. “Accomplishing this end requires more than adding noise to the echo chamber. It requires an army of bold ambassadors equipped with Biblical and Constitutional knowledge to speak truth to believers and unbelievers alike in every professional field and public forum.”
The leaders of Falkirk’s “army of bold ambassadors” are its fellows, who include:
- Kirk, head of right-wing youth organizing group Turning Point USA and a vocal ally of Christian nationalist and dominionist religious-right leaders. Kirk recently tweeted, “There is more evidence of systemic voter fraud in America than ‘systemic racism’ yet which one do you think Democrats are more worried about?” He has portrayed public health restrictions on church gatherings as a Democratic plot against Christianity.
- Sebastian Gorka, a Steve Bannon acolyte, pugnacious right-wing pundit, and former Trump White House aide.
- Eric Metaxas, author and pundit and promoter of pro-Trump conspiracy theories who will emcee a right-wing rally on the National Mall Dec. 12.
- Jenna Ellis, an attorney for Trump and the Trump campaign who has been joined at the hip with Rudy Giuliani as they press false and unsubstantiated claims that have been tossed out of one court after another; as special counsel to the religious-right Thomas More Law Center, she has represented churches defying COVID-19-related public health restrictions.
- David Brat, former member of Congress from Virginia.
- Darrell Harrison, a podcaster and dean of social media at Grace to You, a ministry of controversial outspoken evangelist John MacArthur.
- Virgil Walker, a pastor and seminary student who co-hosts Harrison’s “Just Thinking” podcast.
- David Harris, Jr., a right-wing social media figure who is on the board of Black Voices for Trump and Candace Owens’ BLEXIT.
- Erika Frantzve, a model, podcast host, “social entrepreneur,” and Liberty University doctoral student who recently became engaged to Kirk.
Among the first-year accomplishments cited by the Falkirk Center was its day-long “faith summit” called “Get Louder,” which featured Christian Reconstructionist Gary DeMar as a speaker on a panel moderated by Metaxas.
The celebratory post, written by Liberty communications staffer Logan Smith, mentioned that “Falkirk Podcast” guests have included Trump lawyer and national punchline Giuliani and Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, who teaches that genuine Christians must adhere to a belief in a literal six-day Creation and a universe that is thousands of years old.
It also placed the Falkirk Center firmly on the side of right-wing evangelicals who believe that conversations about social justice and racism within the church are dangerous, evil, and enemies of the Gospel. The article quotes a Liberty University parent praising Falkirk for “drawing attention to leftist thinking that is attacking the Church.”
“The Falkirk Center fills a need deeply felt during this time of increasing wokeness and social justice inside the church, calling Christians and pastors to return to the true doctrine of God’s Word,” said Grant May, one of a growing number of Falkirk Center ambassadors from across the country, according to the Liberty blog post. “The center has inspired and encouraged me during the rising fad of cultural Christianity to truly dive into the Word and remember what Christ’s commands for the Church were, not modern-day pastors’ advice on how to be culturally relevant.”
The post also celebrates that the Falkirk Center “has consistently encouraged churches and pastors to defy” pandemic “lockdown orders.”
The anniversary blog post included no mention of the Falkirk Center’s co-founder Jerry Falwell, Jr., the university’s disgraced former president. The Falkirk moniker is a fusion of Falwell’s name and that of cofounder Charlie Kirk, who heads the right-wing youth organizing project Turning Point USA, as well as a reference to the battle of Falkirk, memorialized in the movie Braveheart.