[guest post by Dana]
Jerry Falwell Jr. the embattled president of Liberty University and one of the biggest champions of President Donald Trump, has resigned, Religion News Service has learned.
His resignation came within hours of the publication of a news story that alleged he and his wife Becki had a years-long sexual relationship with a business associate.
Falwell had been placed on indefinite leave earlier this month after posting, then deleting, a provocative Instagram photo of him posing with his arm around a woman at a party with their zippers down and midriffs showing.
Following the Instagram post of him with the other woman and their pants unzipped, there was a wide call by former faculty members for him to resign. There had already been a list of complaints against Falwell for offensive comments he had previously made.
Just this morning, a Reuters published a story that Falwell’s wife had been engaged in a years-long affair with one of Falwell’s business partners, and that, according to the business partner, things went south, in part, when he told the couple he wanted cut ties with them and then “fell into a business dispute with them”. It’s a sordid tale of broken vows, kinky sex, and even extortion. From what I’ve read and observed of Falwell over the years, this all seems to fit: a cheap grifter masquerading as an honest broker. Or perhaps to put it in religious terms: a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Given the seedy particulars, I’m not too inclined to write much of a detailed post about the matter, suffice it to say that things fell apart in a spectacular way – as these things tend to do:
…as Reuters was preparing to publish this article, Jerry Falwell issued a statement to the Washington Examiner in which he said that his wife had had an affair with Granda and that Granda had been trying to extort money from the couple over the matter. Granda denies any such intent, saying he was seeking to negotiate a buyout from a business arrangement he says he had with the couple.
Other more recent text messages, such as an exchange from this June that Granda provided to Reuters, show Granda growing angry and frustrated as his relationship with the Falwells frayed.
“Since you’re okay with ruining my life, I am going to take the kamikaze route,” Granda wrote to Jerry Falwell. “It really is a shame because I wanted to reach a peaceful resolution and just move on with our lives but if conflict is what you want, then so be it.”
In the same message string, Falwell replied: “You should by now understand that I will not be extorted. I have always treated you fairly and been restrained in response to your threats because I did not wish to ruin your life. Going forward, stop contacting me and my family.”
Granda said that while he entered into the sexual relationship with the Falwells willingly, today he feels the couple preyed upon him. “Whether it was immaturity, naïveté, instability, or a combination thereof, it was this ‘mindset’ that the Falwells likely detected in deciding that I was the ideal target for their sexual escapades,” Granda said.
The full report leads to some interesting speculation about how Falwell’s support of Trump may have come about:
It raises an important question too about whether or not the Trump campaign used knowledge of the Falwells’ affair to pressure Jerry Jr. to endorse Trump. Former Trump legal fixer Michael Cohen told Tom Arnold that he handled a situation down in Florida in which somebody had some compromising boudoir shots of Becki Falwell that he (Cohen) had to obtain. Funnily enough, right after that, Jerry Jr., who was lined up to endorse Ted Cruz for president, flip-flopped to Trump. Amazing, eh?
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Trump campaign “pressured” Falwell into an endorsement for Trump. Because as we’ve witnessed, those in Trump’s orbit – you know, the best and the brightest – often are revealed to be just as corrupt as their boss. Birds of a feather…
One another note: It’s sad to see the implosion of a marriage, even if the people involved are not individuals for whom we hold any respect. Family members and kids will be hurt by this very public moment of destruction. What a reminder to see how easily we can stray from the righteous path before us, and how far off that path we willingly wander. If the Falwells really are the believers they have claimed to be, then they face a more grueling reckoning than losing employment, dignity, self-respect, and the respect of others. Receiving the loving forgiveness of God is one of the most joyous experiences in the Christian’s life. But it doesn’t stop there. True restoration follows repentance, and it includes an incredibly painful and necessary heart surgery by the hand of God in order to bind the self-inflicted wounds, apply the healing salve, and then begin the agonizing journey toward wholeness.
It’s here! The first day of classes!
What class are you most looking forward to this semester?📚 pic.twitter.com/vUnTpRCRzP
— Liberty University (@LibertyU) August 24, 2020
UPDATE Via Politico:
New: Jerry Falwell Jr. tells me he is NOT leaving his post, despite indications from Liberty that he will do so. "I have not resigned," Falwell says.
— Maggie Severns (@MaggieSeverns) August 24, 2020