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Why Is Jerry Falwell's Evangelical University Getting Filthy Rich off Your Tax Money?

How taxpayers are funding the world's biggest Christian evangelical university.

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The tax-exempt university has a 5000-acre campus, complete with more than 120 buildings, and 60 accredited undergraduate majors, and schools of aeronautics, arts and sciences, business, communications, education, government, religion, and law.

Liberty goes Hollywood

Liberty's Commencement 2011 featured speaker was film director and screenwriter Randall Wallace. According to the Randall Wallace Films website, Wallace is "the Oscar®-nominated creative force behind the epic storytelling of such critical and box-office hits as Braveheart , We Were Soldiers and Pearl Harbor ... [and] last Fall ['s] Secretariat, the impossible true story of the racehorse who won the Triple Crown in 1973."

In introducing Wallace, Falwell told the crowd of nearly 30,000 at Williams Stadium that the director/screenwriter who also teaches film classes at Pepperdine University, was an "especially fitting" guest speaker because the university would be opening "its own Center for the Cinematic Arts next year with a mission to impact the entertainment world with Christian values just as Wallace has."

Wallace told the graduate that they "may be feeling weak and lost and confused, but I tell you I believe with all of my heart, that feeling that way you are a more fitting tool for God than the man that believes that his money, that his fame, that the honors of other men have made him wise. Jesus gave us one clear order -- to love one another. And if you look at your parents today and you see tears in their eyes, I promise they're not tears of sorrow or fear, these are tears of love. God loves you and if you love back in every way you can, then ... you will look back on this day as the day of your greatest strength, as a day of victory."

With the Religious Right so adamantly against government programs, American United's Rob Boston pointed out that "The more interesting question appears to be a non-legal one," since "it has become an article of faith among the Religious Right that government programs are always bad and that reliance on public forms of assistance breeds dependency. In light of this, it seems just a bit hypocritical for so many Liberty University students to be bellying up to the federal trough and for the school to behave as a ward of the state."

 

Bill Berkowitz is a freelance writer covering right-wing groups and movements.

 
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