Liberty University issued a response to criticism of Jerry Falwell Jr., the university's president, who attracted widespread attention for convocation remarks Friday in which he encouraged students to register to carry concealed weapons. The university statement denied that, when Falwell said it was important to "end those Muslims," he was talking about all Muslims. The statement said he was talking about "the Muslim terrorists who attacked innocents in San Bernardino, Calif., and Paris, France. He also clarified that he was in no way referring to the many good and honorable Muslims who do not come into public spaces armed to kill innocents. When hearing the remarks in their full context, the public can see that there was no attempt to incite hate against anyone, much less all Muslims."
The statement noted that Liberty adopted its policy of allowing people to carry concealed weapons after the mass shooting at Virginia Tech, which is not far from Liberty. "His remarks were a call to arms for self-defense and a criticism of political leaders who see the answer to such tragedies as more gun control. More gun control leads to more places and circumstances where innocents are unarmed and unable to defend themselves," said the university statement.
Liberty also released on Monday an essay by Daniel Howell, a biology professor at the university, answering those who expressed shock that the president of a Christian university would encourage students to become armed. "Unbelievers and others lacking knowledge about the true character of God sometimes refer to Christ’s moniker as the Prince of Peace to conclude Christianity must be a wimpy, defenseless teaching," wrote Howell. "Of course, this is one of many titles for Jesus, another being the Lion of Judah. While Jesus was exceptionally mild and meek at his first coming, we are assured by Scripture that he will not be so at his second coming. He is described in Revelation 19 as the king of kings who leads the armies of heaven on a white horse and utterly destroys his enemies with the word of his mouth (visualized there as a sword). In a world littered with violence, the Prince of Peace knows that real tranquility is only obtained through strength."