A former Liberty University faculty member weighs-in on her former school in the post-Falwell Jr. era

Last week we posted on Bob Moser’s Rolling Stone piece on Liberty University. Read that post here.

Mary Beth Baggett was one of the former Liberty University professors Moser interviewed for the piece. This year she joined the faculty of Houston Baptist University. (Some of you may remember Baggett’s Religion News Service piece on Jerry Falwell Jr.’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak).

Baggett recently wrote a revealing Twitter thread in response to Moser’s article:

As Baggett notes, if Liberty University is serious about reforms the administration will close the Falkirk Center. I made that case here. I doubt that will happen since interim president Jerry Prevo is a Falwell family loyalist.

*Rolling Stone* on Liberty University in the age of Trump

Check out Bob Moser’s comprehensive piece at Rolling Stone on Liberty University and its disgraced president former president Jerry Falwell Jr. Those who have followed this story won’t find much that is new in the piece, but it is the most comprehensive article I have seen on Liberty and Falwell in the age of Trump.

Here is a taste:

Most people I interviewed recalled a particular time when it became totally, irrefutably clear to them that Falwell was morphing into a very different character and that the climate at Liberty was changing along with him. This convo was the one for Sauskojus. “It was the clearest before-and-after moment,” she says. “All of campus was like, ‘Oh, shit!’ And from there on, all through that next election year, it was just one political convo after another. By the time Trump came on MLK Day, a lot of us were like, ‘Oh, OK, some of the things Jerry says aren’t just because he’s bad at public speaking. It’s because he’s espousing what is just an ugly and racist brand of evangelicalism.’ ”

Read the entire piece here.

Springsteen: The “Rolling Stone” Interview

Born to RunThese Springsteen interviews can get repetitive.  This is certainly true about his recent interview with Rolling Stone, but we do get some additional insight into the Boss.

Here is a taste:

There have been other books written about you. What do you think of them?
I haven’t followed them that closely. I mean, I read Dave Marsh’s book [Born to Run] a long time ago, in the Seventies. And Peter Ames Carlin’s book [Bruce] that came out recently. They’re all good, if you’re interested in different sides of me and different parts of my story.

I thought it was sort of hilarious that you name-drop your first manager Mike Appel’s book, Down Thunder Road, which is pretty negative.
I mean, if you’re interested in that, that’s there too. I don’t have a problem with all the different portrayals of me.

I looked at that book again. There’s a caption, “Bruce in 1989. Too old to rock.”
[Laughs] I love that.

You used to say onstage that your mom wanted you to be an author. True?
Yes. She did when I was young.

Your talents weren’t recognized in school, so what did she see in you that suggested that direction?
I did start to write the songs when I was very young. I was 15 and I was already scribbling some things down, and I suppose to her it was a respectable way to be a writer of some sort. I happened to be good at it. While I wasn’t very good at much else in school, in my creative-writing classes or when we had to do some writing in my English classes, I tended to do better at it.

You’ve had what seems like a pretty serious and rigorous self-education. How did that work for you?
It came very naturally. I never set out to hit the books or anything. I was always curious, but I was too young in school to take advantage of it, and things were presented a little dryly. When I met Jon [Landau], he was a conduit into film and books, and I started to read things that touched my soul. A lot of them were by noir writers – James M. Cain, Jim Thompson, Flannery O’Connor. And then I started to read history books. I was curious about the big story. I read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States and one by Henry Steele Commager [A Pocket History of the United States]. One thing led to another, and I became quite a self-educator.

These days, I actually find myself more missing college. I missed the chance to live in the world of ideas when I would’ve been ripe to take advantage of it. A few years ago, my friend Robert Coles had a class at Harvard about Walker Percy, and I sat in. It was fun and I felt very at home. Made me wish I went to college!

Read the entire interview here.