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Disgraced former Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. admits he's not a 'religious person'

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In a lengthy profile piece published by Vanity Fair this week, disgraced former Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. opened up about his remarkable fall from grace and, in doing so, acknowledged what many Christian onlookers long-suspected — that he never seriously cared for the faith his father's school so famously espoused.

"Because of my last name, people think I’m a religious person. But I’m not," Falwell told reporter Gabriel Sherman in a series of interviews late last year, adding, "My goal was to make them realize I was not my dad."

While this statement may amount to more of a repudiation of his father's fundamentalism than a wholesale rejection of Christianity, elsewhere in the profile, Falwell went into greater detail about his spiritual beliefs. In the end, the version of faith Falwell described to Vanity Fair appeared at odds with the mission and values of the university he would at one point lead.

Reportedly at a spiritual crossroads upon entering college, Falwell decided to major in religious studies to figure out what he really believed. It was during those studies, and particularly through a class on apologetics — the study of the defense of the faith — that he developed a "rational" belief that Jesus was literally the son of God.

But nowhere in the write-up is it suggested that Falwell's rational belief in Jesus became anything more than that, much less a personal relationship with him. Moreover, after graduation, Falwell never bothered to join a church but instead embraced a looser interpretation of the commands of scripture.

According to Sherman, "Jerry decided believing in Christ didn’t mean he had to follow the evangelical rules."

While it's true the Bible teaches that faith precedes moral action, it also teaches that "every tree is known by its fruit" (Luke 6:44). And one's obedience to scripture is certainly a marker of faith, or lack thereof.

Based on the descriptions of Falwell's faith recorded in the profile, it appears that the largest Christian university in the world was run by a man who took little interest in the Christian faith.

That news may not be so surprising given the events that led up to Falwell's ouster last year. The former president became embroiled in a series of controversies ranging from his sycophantic support for former President Donald Trump to the posting of a picture on social media of himself aboard a yacht with his pants unzipped and a drink in his hand.

A few weeks later, Falwell's downfall dramatically escalated when an alleged former business partner and pool boy, Giancarlo Granda, came forward with allegations that he engaged in regular sexual encounters with Falwell's wife, Becki, while Falwell would watch.

Falwell later admitted that his wife had an affair with Granda but denied taking any part in it. Instead, he claimed his wife's paramour was attempting to extort him and his family for money.

During that time, a former Liberty University student claimed that Becki Falwell pursued him romantically and performed oral sex on him while he stayed at the Falwell residence.

Falwell was eventually forced to resign from his post as president and wa sued by the university, which argued that he breached "various fiduciary duties" and summarily damaged the school's reputation.

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