Recently, Liberty University launched a thinktank called The Falkirk Center, a partnership between Liberty President Jerry Falwell and Charlie Kirk, the founder of the conservative nonprofit Turning Point USA.
At first announcement a few weeks ago, the details were sparse, but in an interview with Fox News, the duo said the idea is “to provide basic education to the public on American history because so many universities have become liberal indoctrination camps, the public schools have not taught U.S. history in so long.”
Now, on the organization’s official website, they’ve released an extremely concerning mission statement that appears to call some basic Christian principles into question.
Comparing their mission to that of William Wallace, the site says, “Bemoaning the rise of leftism is no longer enough, and turning the other cheek in our personal relationships with our neighbors as Jesus taught while abdicating our responsibilities on the cultural battlefield is no longer sufficient.”
They go on to describe the Falkirk Center as “a think tank dedicated to restoring and defending American ideals and Judeo-Christian values in all aspects of life.
Are they suggesting here that the principle of turning the other cheek only applies to personal relationships and not when it comes to larger conflicts, relationships, persecutions and ideological slights? Are they saying the very principle is “no longer sufficient”? The sentence is too vague to be entirely clear, but there’s no interpretation that isn’t at least a little concerning.
The site later references the mission to expose a generation to “America’s exceptional ideals” linking a decline of “acceptance of traditional values” to “depression and anxiety” reaching record highs.
The Falkirk Center writes that it aims to equip an “army” of people with “Judeo-Christian and Constitutional knowledge,” adding that “we will go on offense in the name of Judeo-Christian principles and in the name of exceptional, God-given American liberties.”
So, there is a lot to unpack in all of this. But openly acknowledging that “turning the other cheek in our personal relationships with our neighbors as Jesus taught while abdicating our responsibilities on the cultural battlefield is no longer sufficient” seems incongruent with Liberty University’s own mission statement, which says, “God, the infinite source of all things, has shown us truth through scripture, nature, history, and above all, in Christ.”
Jesus says this in Matthew 5: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.”
Perhaps notably, President Donald Trump (who enjoys the vocal support of both Falwell and Kirk) once said this when asked about his favorite Bible verse, seemingly getting Jesus’ teaching literally completely backward:
“Well, I think many. I mean, you know, when we get into the Bible, I think many. So many. And some people—look, an eye for an eye, you can almost say that. That’s not a particularly nice thing. But you know, if you look at what’s happening to our country, I mean, when you see what’s going on with our country, how people are taking advantage of us, and how they scoff at us and laugh at us. And they laugh at our face, and they’re taking our jobs, they’re taking our money, they’re taking the health of our country. And we have to be firm and have to be very strong. And we can learn a lot from the Bible, that I can tell you.”