Jerry Falwell Jr." by Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0

Why the “Confession & Redemption” Path is Unlikely to Help Falwell Recover from Sex Scandal

Aug 27, 2020

By Chrissy Stroop

Yesterday, August 24, 2020, was the first day of classes at right-wing evangelical school Liberty University. It also turned out to be the final day of the scandal-prone Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s professional implosion, much to the delight of liberals and moderates on Twitter, who followed the unfolding trainwreck closely all day. Indeed, the exciting conclusion of the Falwell “pool boy” saga upstaged the first day of the Republican National Convention to some extent, at least on political Twitter.

On Sunday night Falwell apparently attempted to get ahead of Reuters’ explosive scoop dropped Monday morning by blaming everything on his wife Becki, claiming she’d had an affair with business partner Giancarlo Granda (now forever known as the Falwells’ Pool Boy), “in which I was not involved.” Granda, however, claims that the Falwells exploited him when he was young and naïve, and that Jerry would watch him have sex with Becki. The text messages and audio he provided to Reuters seem quite damning, making Falwell look only more ridiculous in his denial of Granda’s narrative.

Monday offered plenty of exciting will-he-or-won’t-he drama around Falwell’s resignation, which Liberty’s board claimed had been tendered, only to have Falwell deny the claim and insist on further negotiations, after which Falwell reversed himself late Monday night and announced he was resigning after all. But mostly it offered schadenfreude, resulting in plenty of jokes from those who find catharsis in seeing hypocrisy catch up with an authoritarian Christian leader.

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