What is the Falkirk Center? Get up to speed with these posts.
This new center at Liberty University, which is designed to promote a Christian nationalist view of the United States, has now chosen its first group of “Falkirk Fellows.” They are:
Erika Lane Frantzve: She was Miss Arizona USA. I am not sure what qualifies her as a “fellow” at a think tank.
Josh Allen Murray: He apparently was a winner on the ABC reality show “The Bachelorette.”
Antonia Okafor Cover: She runs a non-profit organization that teaches women how to use guns and advocate for their Second Amendment rights.
David Harris Jr.: He is the author of a book titled Why I Couldn’t Stay Silent: One Man’s Battle as a Black Conservative
Jaco Boovens: Runs a film company
I am sure all of these people are good Christians and generally nice people with some degree of influence in their given professions, but if these are the five inaugural “fellows” of the Falkirk Center I would probably stop calling it a think tank.
The bottom line is this: no serious Christian intellectual would sign-up to work in such a think tank because it is built on a faulty view of the American founding and its implications for contemporary American life.
There will also be 60 “ambassadors” who “have joined the project to educate high school and college-age students about the “inseparable intersection of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and American first freedoms and liberties.”
“Inseparable?” I think it’s time for a third edition of Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction.
Learn more at the Lynchburg News & Advance.
ADDENDUM: After I published this post I came across a similar one from Adam Laats. Read it here.
Here is Charlie Kirk and Jerry Falwell Jr. on One News:
So it looks like the Falkirk Center:
- Will attack the work of outstanding public school history teachers, the kinds of teachers I have worked with over the years through my relationship with the Gilder-Lehrman Institute and elsewhere.
- Will attack teachers unions.
- Will oppose an approach to American history as taught, to quote Falwell “as some sinister, you know bourgeois, white man, taking advantage of everybody else.” (Yes, that is an exact quote). Falwell claims that this view of history is “totally opposite of what happened.”
- Will be a center to promote Christian nationalism, the “intersection” of the Gospel with the American founding.
- Is a culture war institution, not an educational institution.
- Will apparently be teaching students that Alexis de Tocqueville visisted America “in the 1700s” (Toqueville visited America in 1831).
See our previous posts on the Falkirk Center here and here.
What is the Falkirk Center? Get up to speed here.
Watch Falwell Jr. and Charlie Kirk talk about their new center on Fox News.
Falwell Jr. says that the center will teach “History 101” because such American history “has not been taught in recent decades.”
Perhaps David Barton, the GOP activist who uses the American past to promote his political agenda, will be the first visiting scholar at the Falkirk Center.
I also wonder what the Liberty University History Department, which recently started an online Ph.D program in history, has to say about this center? Were they consulted? Will they be involved in any way? How does Falwell Jr.’s comments relate to the claim that the Liberty University Ph.D program will teach students how to “apply a Christian worldview to the study of history?” I can’t imagine that Falwell’s blabbering will help Liberty history students–undergraduate and graduate–in their attempts to find jobs in the field.
At the end of the interview, Fox host Ainsley Earhardt says, “The Atlantic says that “Christianity is in crisis” so we need you guys.” I am assuming she is referring to Peter Wehner’s July 2019 Atlantic piece titled “The Deepening Crisis in Evangelical Christianity.” Perhaps Earhardt or her producers should have read the subtitle of this piece: “Support for Trump comes at a high cost for Christian witness.” In other words, the piece she is referencing is an anti-Trump, anti-court evangelical piece. This is just one small example of how Fox News manipulates the facts and reveals its incompetence.
There is not much on it, but you can look at the website here. Here is the mission statement:
The mission of the Falkirk Center at Liberty University is to equip courageous champions to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ to advance his kingdom and American freedom.
Learn more here.
How does the mission of the Falkirk Center differ from the mission of Liberty University?
Falwell Jr. has teamed with conservative pundit Charlie Kirk to form “The Falkirk Center” at Liberty University. (The name comes from a combination of their names).
Here is Liberty’s rationale for the new think tank:
“The need for the Falkirk Center has grown as powerful voices and institutions are increasingly seeking to eliminate Judeo-Christian principles from American culture and society. The news media, elected officials, academic institutions and special interest groups have used their platforms to deny America’s legacy of foundational Judeo-Christian principles and replace them with the creeds of secularism, influencing upcoming generations of Americans at alarming rates.”
It’s official: Christian nationalism now has its own think tank. And I am sure there will be a lot of Liberty University online-education tuition money available to fund it.
Learn more at The Washington Examiner.