RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Liberty University’s Falkirk Center Fellows Promote ‘Stolen Election’ Falsehoods and COVID Conspiracy Theories, for Jesus
Liberty University’s Falkirk Center celebrated its one-year anniversary this week. The Center describes its purpose as “educating, inspiring, and mobilizing Christians in the battle to preserve American liberty and rally citizens in an effort to shape government policies, national institutions, and American society through a Biblical worldview.”
Like its bullying co-founders Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Charlie Kirk, the Center takes an aggressive posture in defense of a Christian nationalist vision and in opposition to secularism. “I don’t care what the winds of wokeism tell us,” said Executive Director Ryan Helfenbein in an article on Liberty’s website. “We don’t just want to be an organization that barks; we want to be an organization that bites.”
“The function and the moral mission of the Falkirk Center is to go on the offense in the name of Christian principles and in the name of exceptional, God-given American liberties,” says the Center’s website. “Accomplishing this end requires more than adding noise to the echo chamber. It requires an army of bold ambassadors equipped with Biblical and Constitutional knowledge to speak truth to believers and unbelievers alike in every professional field and public forum.”
The leaders of Falkirk’s “army of bold ambassadors” are its fellows, who include:
- Kirk, head of right-wing youth organizing group Turning Point USA and a vocal ally of Christian nationalist and dominionist religious-right leaders. Kirk recently tweeted, “There is more evidence of systemic voter fraud in America than ‘systemic racism’ yet which one do you think Democrats are more worried about?” He has portrayed public health restrictions on church gatherings as a Democratic plot against Christianity.
- Sebastian Gorka, a Steve Bannon acolyte, pugnacious right-wing pundit, and former Trump White House aide.
- Eric Metaxas, author and pundit and promoter of pro-Trump conspiracy theories who will emcee a right-wing rally on the National Mall Dec. 12.
- Jenna Ellis, an attorney for Trump and the Trump campaign who has been joined at the hip with Rudy Giuliani as they press false and unsubstantiated claims that have been tossed out of one court after another; as special counsel to the religious-right Thomas More Law Center, she has represented churches defying COVID-19-related public health restrictions.
- David Brat, former member of Congress from Virginia.
- Darrell Harrison, a podcaster and dean of social media at Grace to You, a ministry of controversial outspoken evangelist John MacArthur.
- Virgil Walker, a pastor and seminary student who co-hosts Harrison’s “Just Thinking” podcast.
- David Harris, Jr., a right-wing social media figure who is on the board of Black Voices for Trump and Candace Owens’ BLEXIT.
- Erika Frantzve, a model, podcast host, “social entrepreneur,” and Liberty University doctoral student who recently became engaged to Kirk.
Among the first-year accomplishments cited by the Falkirk Center was its day-long “faith summit” called “Get Louder,” which featured Christian Reconstructionist Gary DeMar as a speaker on a panel moderated by Metaxas.
The celebratory post, written by Liberty communications staffer Logan Smith, mentioned that “Falkirk Podcast” guests have included Trump lawyer and national punchline Giuliani and Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, who teaches that genuine Christians must adhere to a belief in a literal six-day Creation and a universe that is thousands of years old.
It also placed the Falkirk Center firmly on the side of right-wing evangelicals who believe that conversations about social justice and racism within the church are dangerous, evil, and enemies of the Gospel. The article quotes a Liberty University parent praising Falkirk for “drawing attention to leftist thinking that is attacking the Church.”
“The Falkirk Center fills a need deeply felt during this time of increasing wokeness and social justice inside the church, calling Christians and pastors to return to the true doctrine of God’s Word,” said Grant May, one of a growing number of Falkirk Center ambassadors from across the country, according to the Liberty blog post. “The center has inspired and encouraged me during the rising fad of cultural Christianity to truly dive into the Word and remember what Christ’s commands for the Church were, not modern-day pastors’ advice on how to be culturally relevant.”
The post also celebrates that the Falkirk Center “has consistently encouraged churches and pastors to defy” pandemic “lockdown orders.”
The anniversary blog post included no mention of the Falkirk Center’s co-founder Jerry Falwell, Jr., the university’s disgraced former president. The Falkirk moniker is a fusion of Falwell’s name and that of cofounder Charlie Kirk, who heads the right-wing youth organizing project Turning Point USA, as well as a reference to the battle of Falkirk, memorialized in the movie Braveheart.
This article was originally published at Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
Image: Charlie Kirk interviews President Donald Trump, 2019
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Former GOP Lawmaker Trashes Rep. Clay Higgins for ‘Cosplay Ridiculousness That Actually Could Spark Violence’
Appearing on MSNBC early Saturday morning, former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) lashed out at a fellow Republican who responded to Donald Trump’s latest indictment with what appears to be a call for another insurrection.
After the announcement that the former president will be formally indicted by the Department of Justice in Florida next week, Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) fired off a tweet stating: “President Trump said he has been summoned to appear at the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, at 3 PM. This is a perimeter probe from the oppressors. Hold. rPOTUS has this. Buckle up. 1/50K know your bridges. Rock steady calm. That is all.”
Agreeing with militia expert Jeff Sharlet, who wrote, “This isn’t a metaphor. This isn’t slow civil war. This is a congressman calling for the real thing. I think this is scary as hell,” Riggleman piled on.
Speaking with MSNBC host Katie Phang, he stated, “I know Clay, I’ve served with him back in 2019 to 2021. This is so irresponsible.”
“But it’s also almost a cosplay ridiculousness that actually could spark violence with people that maybe are too ignorant to understand, or absolutely understand what a Clay Higgins is putting out there,” he suggested.
“I think at this point, he probably needs to retract that or delete it, and to apologize for such ridiculous language,” he continued. “Because it makes real military individuals almost cringe. It’s so cringeworthy that I do believe that we have to have a point in this country where their saying rise up against this hyperbolic bulls–t.”
“I think, for me as a former military person, it’s embarrassing to see somebody, especially an elected representative, it’s just embarrassing to see somebody tweet something like that, ” he added.
Watch below or at the link:
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Fail’: Critics Blast Youngkin for Claim Trump Is a Victim of ‘Politically Motivated Actions’ Just Like ‘Parents in Virginia’
Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, a possible 2024 presidential candidate, is under fire after remarks he made Friday morning defending Donald Trump after the ex-president was indicted on what has now been revealed to be 37 federal felony counts related to the Dept. of Justice’s criminal probe into his handling of hundreds of classified and top secret documents.
Youngkin Friday suggested that the prosecution of Donald Trump, which includes Espionage Act charges, conspiracy charges, and obstruction of justice charges among others, was just like the alleged prosecution of parents.
Gov. Youngkin, often wrongly portrayed in the media as a moderate Republican, may have been attempting to invoke the false yet viral far-right claim that Attorney General Merrick Garland was investigating and prosecuting parents for merely speaking at school board meetings. That claim came about after Garland issued a letter asking the Bureau to come up with strategies to address violence and violent threats directed at school board members. Some who have promoted that erroneous claim, including Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, have falsely claimed Garland called ordinary parents “terrorists.”
On Friday, Youngkin tweeted about the Trump indictment, saying, “These charges are unprecedented and it’s a sad day for our country, especially in light of what clearly appears to be a two-tiered justice system where some are selectively prosecuted, and others are not.”
“Parents in Virginia know firsthand what it’s like to be targeted by politically motivated actions,” he added.
“Regardless of your party, this undermines faith in our judicial system at exactly the time when we should be working to restore that trust,” Youngkin concluded, remarks that themselves could undermine faith in our judicial system.
Days before his election, Youngkin also promoted the false Garland claim, even after the Attorney General that same day explained to the Senate Judiciary Committee his letter directed the FBI to investigate not ordinary parents, but people who were organizing attacks on school board members.
Candidate Youngkin appeared on Fox News in October 0f 2021 (video below) and falsely told Tucker Carlson, “What happened today was, of course, Merrick Garland doubled down. He said, ‘No, I’m absolutely maintaining my position that the DOJ and the FBI should be investigating parents.’ Parents who are trying to stand up for their children when there’s been a sexual assault in a school bathroom. We have a board of education and in Loudoun County that tried to hide it from parents, hide it from hiding from the public, and they move this child into another school and then that child again committed another sexual assault.”
READ MORE: DOJ Unseals 37-Count Trump Criminal Indictment – Legal Expert Calls It ‘Egregious’ and ‘Devastating’ (Full Text)
Youngkin made education and “parents’ rights” a campaign issue when he ran in 2021. His opponent, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, during a debate said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” While experts claim it didn’t swing the election for Youngkin, it at least established him nationally as focused on education and “parental rights,” a mantle Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis quickly co-opted.
The Washington Post, alternatively, on Friday focused on Youngkin’s “two-tiered justice” remarks, reporting: “Youngkin’s suggestion that a rich White man — he didn’t actually name Trump — had been victimized by a ‘two-tiered justice system’ drew fierce pushback, with many critics noting the governor’s opposition to the notion that racial and ethnic minorities face systemic racism. The Republican won the governorship on a promise to purge ‘critical race theory’ from K-12 classrooms, though it was not part of any curriculum. Once in office, Youngkin launched a tip line for parents to report on teachers discussing ‘inherently divisive’ concepts in schools.”
Youngkin, who technically is a “populist conservative” but swings far-right on social issues, was quickly chastised for his tweet.
“You know what you are saying is wrong and incendiary. Shame on you,” declared former CIA officer John Sipher. “These charges stemmed from a grand [jury] of Florida citizens. Trump will have access to a Fair process. But instead you spread information to anger and confuse people. You are stoking misinformation and violence.”
READ MORE: SCOTUS ‘Surprise’ Voting Rights Decision Could – and Did – Have Big Implications for Democrats, Legal Experts Say
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes took a different approach, mocking the Virginia Republican.
“It’s the pivot to ‘Parents in Virginia…’ in the third sentence that elevates this to art,” he wrote.
“The moderate, genial suburban dad in a fleece vest suggests that the only way to restore confidence in the justice system is to place Trump above the law,” wrote The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, also mocking Youngkin.
“Youngkin is pro-Trump, as usual–even though Virginia voted heavily AGAINST Trump in both 2016 and 2020. When it comes to Donald Trump, Liz Cheney has more courage in her pinky than Youngkin does in his whole body,” observed Larry Sabato, the well-known professor of politics, political analyst, and founder and director of University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
The vice president of research for the liberal super PAC American Bridge 21st Century, Liz Charboneau, called Youngkin’s tweet an “especially stupid statement when a large portion of your state has a security clearance, handles classified documents, and has never been charged under the espionage act.”
Conservative Mona Charen, a syndicated columnist and Policy Editor at The Bulwark: “So here’s our answer as to whether Youngkin is a man of character. Fail.”
The Lincoln Project’s Michelle Kinney tweeted, “Youngkin twisting himself into pretzel to weave a vaguebook repudiation of Trump indictment and his weirdo anti vaxx anti trans ‘parents rights’ obsession into one tweet. It reads like Veep dialogue.”
Historian, professor, Holocaust expert Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn tweeted, “Hey dude, the Pentagon is literally in your state. Maybe stop in and have a chat…”
Watch the video above or at this link.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Trump Has Been Notified He Is Target of DOJ Investigation – Insists ‘It’s Not True’ He’s Getting Indicted: Reports
Attorneys for Donald Trump reportedly have been notified the ex-president is a target of a criminal investigation into his handling of classified documents. The ex-president denies he is being indicted.
The Guardian Wednesday evening reported federal prosecutors told Trump’s attorneys last week he is a target of the long investigation that is now led by Special Counsel Jack Smith. That investigation, experts believe, could lead to obstruction of justice and Espionage Act charges.
“Trump’s lawyers were notified before they met on Monday with the special counsel Jack Smith leading the Mar-a-Lago documents case and the senior career official in the deputy attorney general’s office and made the case that prosecutors should not indict the former president in the matter,” The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell reports.
Politico also confirms The Guardian’s reporting, stating: “Federal prosecutors have notified former President Donald Trump in a letter that he is the target of a criminal investigation, according to a person familiar with the matter.”
Earlier Wednesday, a conservative website reported federal prosecutors had informed Trump’s attorneys he is a target and likely to be indicted. That website is run by John Solomon, who Trump named as his official representative to the National Archives last year. That move reportedly gave Solomon access to non-public administration records related to Russia, Politico reported.
READ MORE: Pence Presidential Launch Mocked for Suggesting Drag Queens Are Assaulting ‘American Values’ – With No Mention of Trump
Later Wednesday, The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman reported via Twitter she had been in touch with Trump.
“Trump tells me minutes ago he has NOT been told he’s getting indicted, when contacted. ‘It’s not true,’ he said, adding again he hasn’t done anything wrong,” Haberman tweeted at 2:40 PM.
“When I asked if he had been told he’s a target, he demurred, saying he doesn’t talk directly to prosecutors,” she added.
Haberman says she used the Solomon report as the basis for her conversation with Trump.
Less than one hour after Haberman says she spoke with the ex-president, he again posted an angry rant on his Truth Social platform.
“No one has told me I’m being indicted, and I shouldn’t be because I’ve done NOTHING wrong, but I have assumed for years that I am a Target of the WEAPONIZED DOJ & FBI, starting with the Russia, Russia, Russia HOAX, the “No Collusion” Mueller Report, Impeachment HOAX #1, Impeachment HOAX #2, the PERFECT Ukraine phone call, and various other SCAMS & WITCH HUNTS,” he rambled.
Trump made clear he expects House Republicans to protect him: “REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS MUST MAKE THIS THEIR # 1 ISSUE!!!”
- ANALYSIS2 days ago
SCOTUS ‘Surprise’ Voting Rights Decision Could – and Did – Have Big Implications for Democrats, Legal Experts Say
- News1 day ago
Trump Lawyers in Classified Docs Case Quit Hours After Indictment: Report
- News2 days ago
House Freedom Caucus Republican: Trump Is Spinning Out of Control
- News2 days ago
Watch: Stunned Bill Barr Speechless After Fox Host Asks Why DOJ Is Pursuing Trump ‘In the Middle’ of an Election
- 'DISTURBING SURGE IN VIOLENT THREATS'2 days ago
Biden Launches Major Initiative to Protect LGBTQ Community Ahead of Massive White House Pride Celebration
- BREAKING NEWS3 days ago
Mark Meadows Reportedly Agrees to Plea Deal – Attorney Denies
- News1 day ago
Trump Lawyers Blindsided by Existence of Bombshell Recording – ‘They Don’t Know How to Defend This’: Maggie Haberman
- News1 day ago
‘Disgraced’ Trump-Appointed Florida Judge Initially Assigned to Oversee Ex-President’s Criminal Case: Report