REVEALED: Jerry Falwell's Liberty U is forcing students to become soldiers for Trump
President Donald Trump and Jerry Falwell, Jr. at Liberty University. White House photo.

In a scathing exposé in the Washington Post, the former editor of the Liberty University's school paper accused school President Jerry Falwell Jr. of leading the fundamentalist Christian school away from Jesus with a focus on supporting President Donald Trump instead.

According to Will E. Young, now an editorial assistant at Sojourners magazine, his time as editor in chief, when he was a senior, of the Champion, Liberty University’s student-run weekly, was filled with turmoil that also included forced apologies for not toeing the school line.

"I’d spent the previous three years watching the university administration, led by President Jerry Falwell Jr. (who took a very micromanaging interest), meddle in our coverage, revise controversial op-eds and protect its image by stripping damning facts from our stories," Smith recalled. "Any administrator or professor who appeared in an article had editing authority over any part of the article; they added and deleted whatever they wanted. Falwell called our newsroom on multiple occasions to direct our coverage personally, as he had a year earlier when, weeks before the 2016 election, he read a draft of my column defending mainstream news outlets and ordered me to say whom I planned to vote for."

According to Smith, it all came to a head as Trump became the GOP's presidential nominee.

"By 2016, Liberty’s efforts to limit free expression were already well-established. ('The big victory was finding a way to tame the faculty”'Falwell told the New York Times last year for a story about privileging Liberty’s financial growth over its academics,) he wrote. "But the school’s methods became even more aggressive after Falwell endorsed Donald Trump early that year, according to multiple current and former faculty members. "

Writing, "Liberty, founded on principles of fundamental Christianity, is now a place that has zero tolerance for new questions and ideas. Those who harbor them must remain silent, or leave," Smith explained, "One cause for alarm came just before Trump’s inauguration, when then-Provost Ronald Hawkins ordered all campus faculty members to fill out an anonymous survey that asked respondents to rate how politically and socially liberal they were on a scale of 1 to 5."

"According to a former professor who talked with others in her department, many initially refused to take the survey out of fear that if a department had too many left-leaning professors, the administration might target it for more oversight or even firings," he continued.

He then explained, "After the Charlottesville rally in August 2017, members of Liberty’s Student Government Association drafted a statement expressing solidarity with Heather Heyer, the protester murdered by a neo-Nazi, and all people demonstrating against white nationalism. Then-SGA President Caleb Johnson refused to release the statement and send it to university administrators for fear of what Falwell might think."

Smith also revealed that Jonathan Martin, a never-Trump pastor who had been invited to share a prayer at a campus event was forced to leave after Falwell sicced the campus police on him.

"Falwell took it as an unauthorized protest, and the LUPD sent three armed officers to remove Martin from campus, telling him he’d be arrested if he returned," Smith wrote, stating that was not an isolated incident.

"I graduated in 2018. Since then, I’ve tried to put Liberty — and the stress and self-doubt that officials there saddled me with — behind me," he confessed. "But I still fume when Falwell spews dumbfounding conspiracies online or retweets a bigoted rant from Trump, and I still become uneasy when I see my diploma, which is sitting in a cluttered drawer at my parents’ house."

I still sometimes self-censor my thoughts and writing. How can a college education stifle your freedom of thought? When people ask me if I regret going to Liberty, as many do, I usually pause. I don’t know," he concluded.

You can read much more here.