LYNCHBURG, Va. — New concerns have arisen over Liberty University’s use of a choreographer who has advocated for homosexual causes as its Department of Theater Arts opens its production of Mary Poppins this weekend.
Information provided to Christian News Network reveals that the choreographer is also a photographer whose homosexual advocacy extends into his photo shoots, which include that of a “drag superstar.” Students at Liberty took part in free photography sessions during his recent visit to the campus.
As previously reported, the university recently published an article regarding the production, which it celebrates as being the school’s “largest to date,” presented by Alluvion Stage Company, an arm of the university’s Department of Theater Arts. It outlined that “Alluvion has hired a guest music director, a flight director, and a Broadway choreographer” to assist with the presentation.
The article then focused on selected selected choreographer Geoffrey Goldberg, a New York City-based artist who has been involved with professional theater for over a decade, and traveled the country for five years assisting with the production of Mary Poppins, among others. It included a brief interview with Goldberg, as well as quotes from Alluvion’s artistic director Linda Nell Cooper. The article also featured a video from Liberty News Service, which likewise contained a brief interview with Goldberg and provided video footage of him working with students.
Goldberg’s bio on his website outlines that he recently directed and choreographed the new musical Bradley Cole. An online review of the musical explains that “Bradley Cole is enriched with contemporary issues such as … shame and confusion over same-sex attraction.” It outlines the plot, where “Ian is secretly, repressively, in love with Ben,” although one of his female friends expresses interest in him.
Goldberg’s social media pages also indicate his support and advocacy for the homosexual agenda, posting “Happy pride, everyone” on Twitter last June in recognition of Homosexual Pride Month. Goldberg is also a member of the Facebook group Marriage Equality New York, and his Pinterest page likewise features a board that includes homosexual wedding ideas.
However, it has now come to light that Goldberg also runs Geoffrey Goldberg Photography, which similarly showcases his advocacy for the homosexual lifestyle. His website features two homosexual men under his “weddings and couples” section, with one photo capturing the “couple” embracing. Goldberg’s website and Facebook page also highlight a photo shoot with “self-proclaimed drag superstar, Schwa de Vivre,” a male drag star donned in makeup and feminine apparel.
“This winter has been a DRAG!!! But sometimes DRAG can be a blast!” he wrote as his status for the album.
Goldberg additionally shares photographs on his Facebook page of Liberty University students that participated in free photo shoots during his visit to Lynchburg, just days after posting photographs of his “drag superstar” photo shoot.
As previously reported, director Linda Nell Cooper told Christian News Network that Alluvian/Liberty University was not aware of Goldberg’s homosexual advocacy, but stated that one’s “personal life” is not a factor in the hiring process for stage productions.
“He was hired based on his professionalism and his talent like everyone else,” Cooper explained. “It never came up in the conversation, nor would it have. … We do not ask about their personal life.”
Liberty University’s public relations department and President Jerry Falwell Jr. likewise defended Goldberg’s assistance with the production, citing that employees are screened while independent contractors are not.
Although Liberty’s article still states to date that “Alluvion has hired … a Broadway choreographer,” the university also asserted that a third party was really involved, which is never held to the same standards under Liberty policies.
“The choreographer in question is an independent contractor, supplied to the university through a third party association from February 26 to March 21, who has never applied for employment at Liberty University and has never been an employee of Liberty,” Johnnie Moore, the Senior Vice President of Communications for the university, wrote. “Liberty has never required vendors who provide goods and services to the university to adhere to the university’s doctrinal beliefs.”
“To the extent Mrs. Linda Cooper was referring to independent contractors when she said the university never inquires about beliefs or personal lives in hiring, she was correct,” he continued. “For example, Liberty has hundreds of construction workers on campus right now and has no idea whether any of them share the same faith.”
However, Dr. Paul Michael Raymond of New Geneva Christian Leadership Academy and Reformed Bible Church in Appomatox told Christian News Network that Liberty’s analogy is “fallacious” as construction workers do not work closely with students and have no influence in their lives.
“That’s comparing apples to oranges,” he stated. “When you have someone influencing a production that you are sponsoring, we’ve got a horse of a whole different color. … A brick layer has no influence in policy … as this choreographer does very directly.”
Raymond said that he was disappointed in the way that Liberty dismissed the matter and attempted to justify itself, rather than share in the concerns and address them.
“They should have apologized for violating any Christian conscience over this fact and offered to look into the matter further instead of consistently trying to rationalize and justify their position,” he said. “I think we all have tendencies to do things amiss, and I think the right response is to rectify these problems and they failed to do that.”
“Instead of saying, ‘We need to look into this and we need to tighten up our practices and our vetting policies,’ they just justify themselves,” Raymond continued. “That’s a problem.”
Raymond said that Liberty needs to change its policies, even when it claims third-party hiring, to reflect its motto of “training champions for Christ.”
“We are to have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds of darkness. We should not stand in any kind of affiliation with the wicked,” he stated, quoting Ephesians 5:11. “[Liberty] is supposed to be the stewards of righteousness. They have to be in control of what is happening at the university.”
Raymond opined that he disagrees with the belief that the use of Goldberg serves as a ministry opportunity to win him to Christ.
“You can’t have an ungodly alliance in the first place, so that is the first biblical violation. You are not to bid them Godspeed,” he stated. “You realize that when this man comes in to control any aspect that he is evangelizing, not the university. It works the other way around. Why not then just send your children to a secular university?”
In regard to the production of Mary Poppins, which opens today, Raymond expressed disappointment that the university’s theater department “does not have a biblical worldview attached to it,” as its productions are secular in nature and not focused on the gospel.
“Why can’t they do some historical plays about the heroes of the faith?” he asked. “Could you imagine [the impact of] putting on a theatrical production about the history of Tyndale or Luther or Calvin?”
Cooper stated that “children love [Mary Poppins] because of all the magic.”
Liberty’s Director of Communications, Johnnie Moore, ignored numerous requests to respond to inquiries.