Jerry Falwell Jr. has resigned as Liberty University president after a sex scandal involving his wife and a swimming pool attendant that rocked the white evangelical arena that strongly supports President Donald Trump.
"The Liberty University Board of Trustees acted today to accept the resignation of Jerry Falwell, Jr. as its President and Chancellor and also accepted his resignation from its Board of Directors. All were effective immediately," the university said Aug. 25.
CNN reported that the embattled evangelical leader said he has resigned as president and chancellor of the Christian school, a day after reports thqat Falwell and his wife took part in a sexual relationship with a former hotel pool attendant.
"Jerry Falwell Jr. had long made a point of emphasizing that he was not trying to be a moral leader. He made crude jokes, insulted fellow Christians and was photographed partying on yachts and in nightclubs. But he rarely apologized or expressed regret," commented The New York Times in a story, Jan. 25.
The BBC reported that Falwell was a long time supporter of Trump.
"I have never been a minister," he explained on Twitter last year. He liked to tell reporters that Jesus did not tell Emperor Caesar how to run Rome.
"That was always an unusual stance for the head of a distinctly evangelical institution.
"But Mr. Falwell pulled it off until recently, coasting by on a combination of success — Liberty's endowment grew to $1.6 billion under his watch — and good will engendered by lingering institutional fondness for his father, who founded the school and was both a minister and an administrator," said the Times.
Jerry Falwell Sr. founded the private evangelical university in the U.S. state of Virginia in the 1970s as well as the conservative Moral Majority movement, a movement that campaigns on moral law.
Giancarlo Granda, 29, said he had an affair with Becki Falwell that started eight years ago. He claimed that she approached him when he was working as a pool boy at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami in March 2012, Christian Today reported.
"Explosively, he claimed that Jerry liked to watch the pair during their sexual liasons," reported the Christian newspaper noting that Falwell denied the allegations.
"Becki had an inappropriate personal relationship with this person, something in which I was not involved — it was nonetheless very upsetting to learn about," Falwell said in a statement to the Washington Examiner newpsaper.
Becki has admitted to the affair but refuted Granda's claims that her husband watched.
At the Tree of Life Ministries, down the road from Liberty University, the senior pastor, Mike Dodson, did not have to look very far for sermon material about sin, redemption and what's expected of a Christian, The New York Times reported on Aug. 25.
"You have watched one of the most influential leaders of this city, of the country and the world, the Christian community, go down," Mr. Dodson said, bent with passion. "The Christian community is being laughed at."
Christianity Today reported Aug. 25, "Falwell joins a regrettable list of prominent evangelical leaders brought down by sexual scandal."
The newspaper said that critics also expressed frustration about the racial climate on campus, brought to the forefront by a divisive tweet in May that led several African Americans to cut ties with Liberty and dozens of African American alumni to call for his resignation.