LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty University has one fewer instructor because of recent tweets by its president, Jerry Falwell Jr.
Dr. Christopher House, who started teaching for the university online in the fall of 2019, announced his resignation Thursday evening, directly citing two of Falwell’s recent tweets.
House is an associate professor at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, and also a pastor.
Just so folks outside Virginia unfamiliar with the pic on the mask understand: it is from the personal page of the medical school yearbook of @GovernorVA . Just a way to shine a spotlight on the fact that Democrats are and always have been the real racists in this country.— Jerry Falwell (@JerryFalwellJr) May 27, 2020
House explained that once he was alerted to the tweets by a friend, who is a Liberty alumnus, he resigned immediately.
“For me and for people who look like me who bear the implications of the narratives and events and ideologies about who and what black people are, and by that I mean subhuman, that those images were created to perpetuate,” House said.
Resignation Letter from Liberty University Online: I'm a Black tenured associate professor at Ithaca College and a...Posted by Christopher A. House on Thursday, May 28, 2020
House said he finds the behavior reprehensible and evil, especially as racial tension is on the rise.
“These images, those ideas and the violence that we see being poured out on black and brown lives, those things are connected,” House said.
Below is a copy of the resignation letter House posted to Facebook:
In a Facebook post, House elaborated on his decision:
"My moral compass and integrity would not allow me have any further relationship with that institution for any reason!I was brought into LU to generate the kind of dialogue that challenges the ideas, narratives and ideologies that underlie the very images Falwell intentionally used to make a political statement to the Governor of Virginia. Falwell did so at the expense of Black people and Black pain. This is abhorrent, evil and sickening! This does not reflect the God of the Bible!
I have come to meet some really bright students at Liberty (and who are there for many different reasons) who have to endure this type of environment. My heart goes out to them.
This is another reminder to me that some folks really don’t want to change. And although I was able to impact a few, the price to continue to do so is too high!"
Kaylyn Whitley is a Liberty University alum and is calling on Thomas Road Baptist Church specifically because of its connections to Liberty University to denounce the tweets.
“Jerry picked a horrific time right now in our country to race bait anything,” Whitley said. “I really think that a predominantly white church needs to show the black and brown community, black and brown brothers and sisters in Christ, what Jerry has done is not OK.”
Whitley also called upon other churches not directly connected to Liberty by personnel but connected by faith to take a stand. This isn’t the first time Falwell has inflamed people on social media, but Whitley said this time was different because she feels it’s a direct attack against people of color. She said she’d like to see Thomas Road Baptist Church begin to distance itself from the University, too.
House said Falwell must repent for his words and that Falwell’s tweets upset him not only as a black man, but as a Christian.
“If that is the kind of training champions for Christ that underlies the knowledge, and the leadership and how that institution then I won’t have anything to do with it and I will speak out against it," House said.
10 News reached out to Thomas Road Baptist Church for comment but received no response. A request for comment to Liberty University was returned with a screenshot of Falwell’s follow up tweet explaining the context of the image and saying that “Democrats are and have always been the real racists in this country.”
“As a person of faith as a pastor this is something in my eyes that is ungodly, that is anti-Christ, something that shows individuals in any other way than other than as a human being made in the image of God," House said.