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Report: Jerry Falwell Jr. Personally Killed a Campus Newspaper Story About Shane Claiborne’s Prayer Rally

Report: Jerry Falwell Jr. Personally Killed a Campus Newspaper Story About Shane Claiborne’s Prayer Rally

This week, speaker, author and activist Shane Claiborne joined a group of Christian leaders for the Red Letter Revival in Lynchburg, Virginia. One of the goals of the revival was to pray for justice issues but also take a stand against what the organizers see as an unbiblical rise in American nationalism among Christians, especially since the election of President Trump.

As Claiborne explained to NPR last week: “I think one of the biggest challenges of Christians in America is keeping our Christianity from being colonized by American nationalism. And by that, I mean, like, it’s—here we are. We say we’re a Christian country. The test for something being Christian is, does it look like Jesus?”

Last week, Claiborne explained on Twitter that he’d sent a letter to Liberty University founder—and vocal Trump supporter—Jerry Falwell Jr., to pray together and asked for permission to hold a communion service on the campus while they were in town. Instead of a reply from Falwell, he received a letter notifying him that he would be arrested if he came on campus.

Now, Religion News Service is reporting that Falwell personally killed a story that was going to run in the campus newspaper, The Liberty Champion, about the event. Erin Covey, an assistant news editor and Liberty student got approval from the paper’s faculty advisor and fellow editors, but when she reached out to Falwell for a comment, he reportedly replied instructing her to kill the story. Covey shared a screenshot of an email that she says is from Falwell that read: “No let’s not run any articles about the event. That’s all these folks are here for—publicity. Best to ignore them.”

From RNS: “Other Liberty students who saw the email from Falwell corroborated Covey’s account but didn’t want to be identified for fear of the consequences.” 

This morning, Claiborne took to Twitter again, saying that it was ironic that a school called “Liberty”—which has championed religious freedom causes—would take such an action against him.

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