According to news reports in the Guardian newspaper and other sources, the president of Liberty University urged students, staff and faculty at the Christian school to carry concealed weapons on campus to counter any possible armed attack like the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. That didn’t surprise me. His dad, Jerry Falwell Sr. once told me seriously that if he had a dog that did what “those homosexuals do, I’d shoot it.”
“Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here,” President Jerry Falwell Jr told an estimated 10,000 students at the weekly convocation held on Friday in Lynchburg.
The call-to-arms was met with rousing applause from students. “I’ve always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in,” Falwell said.
In his call to arms, Falwell encouraged students to take a free class offered by campus police to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Falwell’s message is being heeded. He said more than 100 people had asked Liberty police about a free class to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon. More than 14,000 students are enrolled at Liberty. (When I spoke there to the entire student body back in the early 1980s there were only 4000 students.) What a great opportunity to “share Christ” via semiautomatic weapons.
Following the San Bernardino shootings, which left 14 dead, Falwell said he began carrying his .25-caliber handgun in his back pocket. He said he’s had a permit for more than year. During his address Friday, Falwell mentioned the weapon and reached around seemingly to fetch it.
“Is it illegal to pull it out? I don’t know,” he said, laughing, drawing some hoots from the audience.
Maybe Falwell forgot that the last people we want armed in America are young unbalanced white males, the sort of people in fact, who look to fundamentalist Christianity for their “answers.”
Has he forgotten that one of our first white male born again shooters was Mark David Chapman? The young armed “Christian” who killed John Lennon became a born again Presbyterian and distributed Biblical tracts. Chapman joined his girlfriend, Jessica Blankenship, as a student at Covenant College, the evangelical Presbyterian liberal arts college in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. I used to visit that campus with my father back in the 1970s when he spoke there.
Like all good evangelicals (like me in the bad old days) Chapman became obsessed with guilt over sex, in his case of having an affair. You might say that religion drove him nuts.
He started having suicidal thoughts and began to feel like a failure. He dropped out of Covenant College feeling unworthy to stay.
And as far as that goes almost all the mass murderer shooters have been people of the age Falwell now wants to have carrying guns. And his young people have willingly parked their brains at the door. These are the climate change deniers, the science fearers, the people feeling guilty because they have sexual thoughts… in short the perfect population for the next David Chapman to emerge from.
Liberty U is a Christian version of an ideology very much like that believed by ISIS. Their world simple, dumb and they are smugly sure of their rightness. They see everyone as saved or lost, believe in a literal devil, a young earth, a Bible (or Koran) “without error” and in the case of the Liberty students, one of their very own born again brothers in Christ is a deeply religious man who hates president Obama and abortion providers, and just killed three people in Colorado Springs. In Robert Lewis Dear‘s head he was doing the Lord’s work too no doubt.Given the actual statistics of who shoots whom in this country the people we need to fear most are not Muslims but young armed religiously obsessed unbalanced white males, the very sort of unbalanced people who gave Falwell a standing ovation when he pretended to pull out his gun. I mean who but a nut cheers a gun? My Marine son never did. Having honorably served his country in combat he came home and told me he never wants to see another gun as long as he lives.
Asked if he was concerned by the prospect of thousands of armed young people on campus, Falwell said Virginia has a minimum age of 21 for a concealed-carry permit. He said that meant only older students would be armed.
As I describe in my book WHY I AM AN ATHEIST WHO BELIEVES IN GOD: How to give love, create beauty and find peace, back in the early 1980s when I was an evangelical right wing activist Jerry Falwell Sr. lent me his jet for several days while I was crisscrossing the country speaking, including doing a convocation at his school to the entire student body. In the fold up arm rest of one of the seats on the plane I noticed Jerry had a handgun. At the time he told me he feared the “fags” who had been “causing all sorts of trouble” ever since he began to badmouth “those people.” Falwell told me that if they “were my dog and did things like they do I’d shoot them.”
I don’t think he was joking. The enemies list just keeps getting longer. Falwell wanted to end those fags (that’s what he called “them” to me). His son wants to end a billion people. More guns, more enemies, more hate and all for Jesus.
Frank Schaeffer is a writer. His latest book —WHY I AM AN ATHEIST WHO BELIEVES IN GOD: How to give love, create beauty and find peace