November 28, 2018 Press Release

Azar Continues Courtship of Fringe Conservative Figures with Pilgrimage to Liberty University

11.28.18 – Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar today attended an event at Liberty University, the controversial evangelical college known for their anti-abortion zeal, for discrimination against LGBTQ people, and for reportedly banning interracial dating until 1985.  Today’s event comes less than 24 hours after Azar’s HHS was taken to task by its own Inspector General for failing to administer thousands of FBI fingerprint background checks at a tent city housing thousands of children.

“Addressing the nation’s opioid crisis is of critical importance.  However, it seems that this issue could be addressed at institutions that don’t support bigotry and discrimination. We’d all be better off if Secretary Azar spent less time cozying up to right-wing leaders who espouse views that hurt the well-being of so many,” said Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward. “When Azar was nominated he billed himself as a policy wonk, but as Secretary he’s best known for mismanaging the child separation crisis, proposing rules that could raise the price of birth control for women, and putting life-saving funding at risk. Azar continually puts the views of the anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-science right wing ideologies ahead of what’s best for the rest of us.”

Below are some examples of the University leadership’s far right ideology:

  • Liberty University founder Jerry Falwell Sr. claimed that God gave Americans what they “deserved” because of the “abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians” just days after 9/11.

  • Jerry Falwell Jr, the current leader of Liberty, is a controversial figure in his own right. In a 2015 Convocation event he responded to a mass shooting in San Bernardino by saying, “if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in.”

  • In 2017, Falwell was on one of the few Trump supporters willing to defend the President’s racist response to violence at a white supremacist protest in Charlottesville.