Liberty University President: Pastors Need to Speak Out on Moral Issues


Liberty University President, Dr. Jerry Prevo, told the Todd Starnes Show pastors need to speak out on “moral issues” and register congregants to vote.

Prevo, an entrepreneur and Baptist minister, told host Todd Starnes if pastors don’t get involved “we’re going to lose the freedom to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ,” adding “I hope that many more pastors will recognize the problem, get involved, educate their people.”

He said more Christians need to get involved in government and pray for their leaders according to scripture.

“We’re living in a free country where we get to choose our leaders by voting,” Prevo added, “And so they need to start off by getting their church members registered and then speak out on the moral issues today. You know, unfortunately, since I’ve been a pastor, I can talk about pastors. They’re not dealing with the scriptural moral issues that are happening in our country. They get a little bit afraid to speak on that so and teach with the word of God says about it.”


Below is a rushed transcript from the interview with Dr. Prevo on the Todd Starnes Radio Show:

[00:58:20] All right, welcome back to the Todd Starnes radio show, [00:58:22][2.2]

Starnes: [00:58:22] you guys almost ended up hearing our conversation about Alaska with the president of Liberty University, Dr. Jerry Prevo, who joins us in the studio now. Dr. Prevo, good to see you. [00:58:33][10.8]

Prevo: [00:58:34] Glad to be with you. [00:58:35][0.8]

Starnes: [00:58:35] And we said we were talking about Alaska because that’s where you pastored for many, many, many years before coming here to Liberty University. [00:58:42][6.6]

Prevo: [00:58:42] That’s right. I pastored there for 48 years and went there in 1971, the same year Dr. Falwell started Liberty University. [00:58:50][8.3]

Starnes: [00:58:51] Is that? And you’ve just you’ve had a long history and a long connection with this, with this great school. Did you back when when the school was being birthed, did you imagine that what it would become to the country? [00:59:03][12.2]

Prevo: [00:59:04] Well, Dr. Falwell took me up on the mountain and he said to me, Jerry, one day there’s going to be a stadium down here. They’re going to be dormitories over here. There’s going to be a school of engineering. We’re going to have armor hints at 50000 students one day. And I thought to myself, I’m not sure this goes all together upstairs. [00:59:24][19.9]

Starnes: [00:59:25] Oh, well, it’s it’s amazing because all of that, all of that came true and then some. And it’s just an absolutely beautiful campus here. [00:59:34][8.9]

Prevo: [00:59:35] You know, God has really blessed and you know, I’ve said, I wish Dr. Falwell could see this campus and be here. But you know that I thought he saw it all back in 1971. He saw it in his mind. [00:59:47][12.3]

Starnes: [00:59:48] Why? Why do you think a university like like liberty is so important to the health of the country? [00:59:54][6.0]

Prevo: [00:59:55] Well, I don’t think there’s any other university like liberty that’s really doing what our theme is producing champions for Christ in all areas and all careers. And we are very conservative here. We are Christian and we emphasize that we’re not ashamed of that. We don’t walk away from being conservative or being a Christian. [01:00:14][19.8]

Starnes: [01:00:15] What does that mean? That phrase champions for Christ? [01:00:17][2.2]

Prevo: [01:00:18] Well, it means that we’re teaching and training young people to be the best in the field that they choose, which it’s engineering, whether it’s being a nurse, whether it’s being a doctor, whether it’s being a missionary, whether being a teacher. We want to equip them to be a champion in all those areas. But also we’re trying to teach them to be a champion spiritually and make sure that they’re going to be living the Lord and doing all that they can to glorify God. [01:00:46][28.7]

Starnes: [01:00:47] And and the good news here. Dr. Prevo is that it’s working that the mission of the university is working. My understanding is you guys have record enrollment this year. I mean, this is a great thing that’s happening. [01:00:59][12.3]

Prevo: [01:01:00] Yes, it is. In fact, last August, we had the largest incoming class in the history of Liberty University. All of our schools were up, and right now where we are today, we’re up for 2022. In registrations, we’re up above what we were at this time last year. [01:01:18][18.3]

Starnes: [01:01:19] You know, one of the one of the things we we hear from, from our listeners is they’re always looking for ways to get involved, to get plugged in. A lot of people looking to put their money somewhere to support organizations and and I just think it’s so vitally important that that we support, you know, universities like Liberty University. I mean, this is this is going to I believe this is going to change our culture for the better getting those Liberty students in Washington, D.C., in Hollywood, on Wall Street. [01:01:48][29.5]

Prevo: [01:01:49] We have a number of students that are working in Washington, D.C. and speaking of Washington, D.C., we just recently took almost a thousand students up for the prayer rally to show support for the pro-life movement. Of course, the Supreme Court was beginning oral arguments for that. And by the way, the pro-life people outnumbered the other side three to one. [01:02:11][22.2]

Starnes: [01:02:12] Oh, you could hear of we are. We had one of our student workers from here at Liberty. She was there and did a live report. She painted the scenes, did a terrific job for us, and it was really impressive to see that many young people, especially out there standing up and really giving a voice to the pro-life movement. And, you know, for years, Dr. Prevo, when I was at Fox News Channel, they would send me down to cover the March for Life on the on the Washington Mall, and I would always ask the question of my followers. I’m a Baptist. My fellow Baptist. Where are all of us? Where are my people? You know, the Catholics are very well represented. So it’s so exciting to see evangelicals that are stepping up to the plate and getting out there. [01:02:51][39.2]

Prevo: [01:02:51] It really is. You know, when I walked up there and I was a little bit ahead of our students, I had an older lady come up to me and she said, You know, I’ve been looking around at the crowd this year, says they’re just a bunch of old people like me. And about that time, the Liberty students started coming in and her face just lit up, she says. It’s so, so good to see young people, young girls, young men coming to support pro-life and being interested in and concerned about it. [01:03:22][30.4]

Starnes: [01:03:22] Well, and and it’s so, so exciting as a radio show to be able to talk about those things, you know, a lot of conservative talk shows don’t like to talk about the faith component. But when you go back to the early days of the conservative movement, William F. Buckley Jr. talking about and framing the fight against communism really as a religious battle, a good versus evil. And that’s why I think it’s so important, you know, for us to have this partnership where we can talk about those big issues. [01:03:50][28.0]

Prevo: [01:03:51] It really is important and we need to see more pastors getting involved in this are we’re going to lose the freedom to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. And I hope that many more pastors will recognize the problem. Get involved, educate their people. [01:04:06][15.6]

Starnes: [01:04:07] Dr. Prevo, how did how do pastors do that? What would you recommend pastors do? Because many of them are. They see the they see the end coming, they see the shrapnel wounds from a lot of their colleagues. What what would you recommend they do to get involved? [01:04:20][13.2]

Prevo: [01:04:21] Well, I think scripture, they need to teach their people to be involved in government, to pray for our leaders in government. And then of course, they we’re living in a free country where we get to choose our leaders by voting. And so they need to start off by getting their church members registered and then speak out on the moral issues today. You know, unfortunately, since I’ve been a pastor, I can talk about pastors. They’re not dealing with the scriptural moral issues that are happening in our country. They get a little bit afraid to speak on that so and teach with the word of God says about it. [01:04:57][36.5]

Starnes: [01:04:58] And if that happens and going back to, you know what, Jerry Falwell senior showed us that when you stand together, you can facilitate change. And I think Ronald Reagan owed his presidency to all those people of faith, standing up and getting out there and engaging the political process. As Adrian Rogers once said, You know, we’ve got to be good citizens of America. [01:05:19][20.1]

Prevo: [01:05:19] That’s right. And certainly, Dr. Falwell did a great thing under moral majority in bringing groups together, and we need the same thing here in our country freedom center that we have here at Liberty University. Its purpose is going to be to bring together different groups for the purpose of protecting our religious liberties. You know, we’re not going to draw theological lines because the real issue is, are we going to continue to have the freedom to preach and teach like we believe we may disagree on our theology and what we believe, but we all want the freedom to teach and preach that. [01:05:58][39.2]

Starnes: [01:05:59] Well, I think it’s a terrific the Standing for Freedom Center, Ryan Health and Biden, as have been on our program a number of times, leading the charge there. I’m curious, Dr. Perry, though, you could probably be out on a beach somewhere drinking a an iced tea, enjoying retirement. But here you are at this university working and meeting students. Why did you decide to come here? Why is it important for you to be here? [01:06:25][26.6]

Prevo: [01:06:26] Well, you know, I was first called with the telephone by the telephone and I was actually in a bear stand in Alaska. Fortunately, I was there with Franklin Graham, and he needs to be in contact. So we had satellite phone service. They called and asked me if I would come, and I said, absolutely not. They call in the next day and I said, No, you know, I went to church the next day. And you know, when you go to church, you get under conviction about some things. And then I remember what Dr. Falwell senior said to me back in about 2003. He said, Jerry, I want you to be the chairman of Liberty University. And he said, your job is going to be to do whatever you can do to help Liberty University. And if you remember Dr. Falwell’s the kind of guy who come by, slap you on the back and almost knock the did knock the air out of your lungs or you come up and give you a big bear hug. And then I began to remember what he said to me and I said, You know, if I don’t do what they want me to do when I get to heaven, he may just slap me on the back. He may just squeeze me and break all my ribs if they can be broken in heaven. So I finally said, OK, I’ll come if I get a unanimous vote from the trustees. Unfortunately, I did. [01:07:46][80.0]

Starnes: [01:07:47] And here you are. What’s it been like for you? Just the students. [01:07:50][3.2]

Prevo: [01:07:51] It’s been great. You know, the thing that my wife and I enjoy so much are the students. We actually stay here on the campus and we go out and meet the students walk around. That’s the one of the we got a great faculty. We got a great group of leaders that I’m very impressed with. The university’s in good shape. And but we enjoyed the students. They’re just great, great, great young people. [01:08:15][24.7]

Starnes: [01:08:16] Now the the one of the things that stood. When they speak about you and they just say amazing things and they they take us back to the first winter here, and there was a big snowball fight and a bunch of the students thought, Oh, we’re going to be able to we’re going to be able to take on Dr. Prevo. I heard the story. I’m like, This guy’s from Alaska. These kids don’t want to be anywhere near around. This guy’s a snowballs, but that’s a that’s like an infamous moment here at the at the campus. [01:08:42][26.5]

Prevo: [01:08:43] It really is, you know, it was really the first event the students could get together with because of COVID. And it was a great experience. You know, I got up on the steps there on the academic building and I said, See who can hit me with a snowball? Unfortunately, they could. [01:08:57][14.5]

Starnes: [01:09:00] Well, Dr. Prevo, we appreciate you spending a few moments here, and it’s been an honor to be able to broadcast our our show from your, your campus. You guys have great students here. [01:09:08][8.5]

Prevo: [01:09:09] Well, we’re honored that you come and broadcast here from Liberty University. You’re welcome anytime. And let me just welcome your audience to come and visit Liberty University. They will be excited about what God is doing here. [01:09:21][11.9]

Starnes: [01:09:21] And if you would like to get involved, maybe become a donor. You know, sponsor a scholarship, folks. You can do that. LIBERTY.EDU, that’s LIBERTY.EDU. And you can see all the great things that are happening here. [01:09:34][12.8]

Prevo: [01:09:34] And you know, we’re building a new center here at Liberty University. It’s going to be the Jerry Falwell Center, and it’s going to help us remember what Dr. Falwell did here. His mission, his vision and to keep us on track. [01:09:47][13.4]

Starnes: [01:09:48] You know, I remember as a little kid we would sit down and we would come home from church. We’d have to watch Adrian Rogers. I grew up in Memphis, so we’d have to watch Dr. Rogers. And then we watch the old time gospel hour with with Dr. Falwell. Great. Great memories. [01:10:01][13.1]

Prevo: [01:10:02] Yes. Yes, great person. God used him in a great, great way, and we’re seeing the fruit of that right now here at Liberty University. [01:10:10][8.0]

Starnes: [01:10:11] All right, folks. Dr. Prevo, the president of Liberty University. [01:10:15][4.0]

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