I am thoroughly befuddled. After weathering a firestorm of criticism for his blackface face-mask comments (where he unsuccessfully attempted to highlight past racial indiscretions of the current Virginia governor), barely dodging exposure of allegedly racy photographs of he and his wife, and foolishly placing his university and its students in jeopardy by dismissing COVID-19 precautions, one would think Jerry Falwell, Jr., might try to keep a low profile in the media. Obviously, such commonsensicality eludes the fearless leader of America's largest evangelical, Christian university. In a bizarre move, Jerry recently posted on Instagram a sexually suggestive photo of himself and an as-yet unidentified young lady along with a strange video obviously spoofing the Canadian television series Trailer Park Boys. Both the photo and video can be found on many media sites, including the following: https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2020/08/03/jerry-falwell-jr-posted-this-bizarre-picture-on-instagram-then-deleted-it/.
Naturally, soon after the photo and video hit social media, a maelstrom of criticism flooded the internet, which prompted Jerry to quickly delete both. Jerry was dispraised for everything from having his hand around the buxom redhead's waste to presenting himself with his shirt hiked up and his pants unbuttoned to holding a glass of what he called "black water." Of course, few on the internet bought the latter defense. Internet commentator Rob P suggests what many are probably thinking: "Posted then deleted? He probably posted after too much black water."
It is all rather laughable...until one considers Jerry's place in society and within the Christian church. In the first place, he is a university president--a man of supposed learning, professionalism, and discretion. In our Western culture where higher education in held in such esteem, he supposedly represents much of what we value. Is this how one of our social elites is expected to act? Are we to aspire to such shenanigans?
More disconcerting, however, is what his actions do to an already beleaguered church. Many today envisage Christians as a conglomeration of stonewalling, manipulative hypocrites whose day-to-day activities resemble something more like...well...Trailer Park Boys than the self-sacrificial exhortations of the One who said, "Be holy as I am holy." Indeed, many no doubt see this Christian university president as representative of everything that is wrong with the church and, as such, his actions will certainly reverberate with eternal consequences. Whether he likes it or not--whether he wants it or not--he is a voice for the Lord. Does he not see this? Does he even care?
All of this logically leads me to a series of related questions: Where is the Liberty University Board of Trustees in all of the roguery? Are they going to stand by as their president systematically dismantles and destroys his father's--the late Jerry Falwell, Sr.'s--legacy? Will the Board remain complicit in Jr.'s ongoing saga of disgracing the name Christ? Let me put it bluntly: if the Board doesn't do something and do something soon, then Jerry will continue to drive Liberty University into the dark sunset of irrelevance, disgrace, and social and divine judgment. I'm certain that no university Board member, student, professor, parent, or benefactor wants that. So, Mr. and Ms. Board Member, you have a job to do, and it is clear what that job is...at least to the rest of us.