Jerry Falwell Jr., a leading evangelical Christian leader and president of Liberty University, defended President Donald Trump and his response to last weekend's deadly rally of neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The movement follows a tweet by Falwell that applauded Trump's response to the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The alt-right groups in Charlottesville had been gathered there under the guise of protesting the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Nineteen others were injured in the incident.
In order to protest their alma mater's official - and unwavering - support of President Donald Trump's bigotry, some Liberty University graduates plan to return their diplomas.
A university spokesman did not respond to an email Sunday requesting comment.
"If, in fact, he's walking back comments, is he to be trusted?"
In a statement to Independent Journal Review, Falwell described the students' decision to return their diplomas as "nothing but a joke and a publicity stunt". "This has always required an uneasy tension between secular governance and religious ideals".
"One of the reasons why I supported him is because he doesn't say what's politically correct", and "he's not focus-grouping every word he says", Falwell said.More news: Sempra Energy bids $9.45 billion for Oncor
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"And in defending the president's comments, Jerry Falwell Jr.is making himself and, it seems to me, the university he represents, complicit".
"As alums, we have the power to say something", the Facebook group's description says, urging alumni to mail their diplomas to Falwell's office on September 5, along with explanatory letters.
"I don't believe he supported neo-Nazis, I don't believe he's supporting white supremacists at all", Burns said in an interview with MSNBC on Saturday. The difference today, she said, is "that Trump really makes no effort to even pay lip service to Christian ideals".
'The bold and truthful statements I was referring to were his willingness to call evil and terrorism by its name, to identify the groups, the Nazis, the KKK, the white supremacists, ' Falwell told Raddatz.
"Falwell not only failed to condemn these things which are patently against the religion he and LU claim, but continued to cheer on Trump and his administration", reads the closed group's description.
Those actions, the letter says, "have filled us with shame and anger as alums".
Tilley said she harbors no ill will toward the school that introduced her to her husband and some of her closest friends.
"He made it clear there was no moral equivalency between the two and I think he should be commended for that", Falwell said. "But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides", the president said.