The board of trustees of Liberty University voted to relieve Jerry Falwell Jr. of his responsibilities as president of the university for an undisclosed amount of time. The leave of absence comes after a series of embarrassing public relations episodes, the latest of which was his posting on social media of a photograph of himself with a young woman, both in highly inappropriate dress. Falwell, son of the school’s founder, has been president since 2007.
A Roman Catholic bishop issued a strongly worded criticism of President Donald J. Trump in a webinar on the last day of July. And I quote: “For this president to call himself pro-life, and for anybody to back him because of claims of being pro-life, is almost willful ignorance. He is so much anti-life because he is only concerned about himself, and he gives us every, every, every indication of that.” The event was focused on the future of the Church after 2020 and was hosted by the International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs, a global lay community of Catholic intellectuals.
Southwest Baptist University joins other church-related institutions cutting faculty and programs in response to the challenges to higher education. SBU eliminated 24 faculty and staff positions. Other schools to report cutbacks are Walla Walla University in Washington, Calvin University in Michigan, and Spring Arbor university also in Michigan. These join others reported through The Meetinghouse earlier this summer. Schools pointed to factors other than COVID-19, including declining numbers of traditional college age students in the general population.
Presidential candidate Joe Biden has selected a black female with a diverse religious experience as his running mate on the Democratic ticket. Biden, a lifelong Roman Catholic from the east coast reached all the way across the country to choose Kamala Harris, a 55-year-old daughter of immigrants who grew up attending both a Baptist church and a Hindu temple; she is married to a Jew. The pair will compete with Donald Trump and his vice-president Mike Pence, a white Evangelical from the heartland, for the nation’s most important positions.