17 September 2007 by Published in: General musings 14 comments

Every March, Liberty University, located in Lynchburg, Virginia, has a Civil War conference that was apparently started by Rev. Jerry Falwell himself, who evidently had an interest in the Late Unpleasantness.

Now, it bears noting that Liberty is a Southern Baptist university with a religious orientation, and it is also intensely conservative, in keeping with the religious and political philosophy of its founder, Reverend Falwell. Let’s also keep in mind that I’m a Jewish lawyer and liberal Democrat from Philadelphia. In short, I am the anti-Falwell.

Today, upon the recommendation of Stephen W. Sears, I was invited to be one of the presenters at next spring’s conference at Liberty, which will feature the Gettysburg Campaign. So far, Kent Masterson Brown is confirmed, as is Prof. Steve Woodworth, who is one of the contributors to the excellent Civil Warriors group blog. I also told the conference director that I would assist him in locating additional speakers to fill out the program.

I’m going to do my Stuart’s Ride talk, I think–I was given cavalry operations as the topic, and I’m inclined to limit it to the Stuart’s Ride topic. Most of all, I am known as as an authority on the Gettysburg Campaign, so I guess it is appropriate for me to participate in this conference.

At the same time, given my political proclivities and my religious background, this should make for a very interesting experience. Hopefully, no bolts of lightning will strike me while I’m there…..

Scridb filter


  1. Mon 17th Sep 2007 at 10:23 pm

    I hope you have a wonderful time in Lynchburg.

    I can’t speak for LU, but can recommend Bull Branch (downtown) for a delightfully un-Baptist dining experience.

  2. Sean Dail
    Tue 18th Sep 2007 at 9:20 am

    That’s interesting, Eric. Stephen Sears makes recommendations for speakers at large conferences but almost never makes appearances himself? Is he functioning as a consultant for the conference? Just curious since you mentioned him so prominently…

  3. Tue 18th Sep 2007 at 1:12 pm


    Steve doesn’t do talks, period. He calls it the “cannonball circuit.” They contacted him, and he suggested that they get hold of me.


  4. Randy Sauls
    Tue 18th Sep 2007 at 3:39 pm


    I suspect the thing you have in common (the CW) with the other speakers and the audience will far outweigh any difference in your backgrounds and lead to a great experience. If not, don’t worry too much. As far as your religion goes, just remember that there were some outstanding Jewish Confederates. As for politics, just don’t bring it up. The Yankee thing might present a problem though. Sectional differences have lead to some nasty problems in our history. Can you fake a drawl? Have fun!


  5. Sean Dail
    Tue 18th Sep 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Thanks, Eric. I think I’d been told that before (that Sears didn’t give talks at all). Must be nice not to have to promote your books through speaking engagements.

    I’ve been meaning to try to attend the Liberty conference one year, just out of curiosity. But it seems like it is usually scheduled during March Madness, which is something that I tend to succumb to… ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Rick Allen
    Tue 18th Sep 2007 at 5:04 pm


    Eric, there’s a great story in there somewhere………..that should be interesting to say the least.

    Perhaps an all white suit, a striped red bucket of chicken and a black cravat would ease the tension?



  7. Tue 18th Sep 2007 at 5:33 pm

    Eric, I have relationships with several members from their newly formed Civil War Chaplain’s Museum Board and I know that you have nothing to worry about. They are all great people at Liberty and I am sure that your talk will be met with much appreciation and grace. Other than your offensive choice of baseball team, you have nothing to be worried about my jewish-hipster-friend. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Tue 18th Sep 2007 at 5:34 pm

    PS. I’ll even send up a prayer for ya. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Mannie Gentile
    Tue 18th Sep 2007 at 9:20 pm


    The fact that Lynchburg begins with the word “lynch” and Falwell was sort of like evil incarnate…

    Yep!…should be interesting.

    Mazal Tov,

    Mannie (the) Gentile

  10. Wed 19th Sep 2007 at 8:22 am

    You have nothing to be concerned about. LU has had far more controversial speakers come and go without incident.

    While people who know nothing of the school give it stereotypes, LU is far more open minded than one would think. Ted Kennedy, Sam Donaldson and Jesse Jackson among others have all spoken at the school and their views were accepted as a part of the dialog. You will have an enjoyable time.

    Besides, students at Liberty are fans of one particular Jewish man in particular who lived about 2,000 years ago ๐Ÿ˜‰


  11. Wed 19th Sep 2007 at 10:14 am

    My God, a Yankee Jew in Lynchburg!! What is the South coming to these days?? Have a fun trip. JM

    By the way, your new book was favorably reviewed in the Washington Times last week.

  12. Steve H
    Wed 19th Sep 2007 at 9:56 pm

    Liberty might be a Bapist institution, but it isn’t a Southern Baptist institution.
    A conservative speaking at Cal-Berkley would have more to fear than you will at Liberty as a Jewish-liberal.

  13. Brooks Simpson
    Thu 20th Sep 2007 at 1:06 am

    Don’t ever call Eric a Yankee.

    Sounds like a fun conference.

  14. Tue 25th Sep 2007 at 6:27 pm

    Hey Eric. I met with Kenny Rowlette today and he was asking me for suggestions for the conference next year. Since the theme is Gettysburg, you and JD immediately came to mind and I suggested contacting you both. It was then that he told me you were already on the roster. I’ve spoken there twice – you will enjoy it and be most welcome, I’m sure.

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