Colorado Christian University (CCU) is “honestly, the safest campus in Colorado because we’re deeply committed to Jesus,” said Jeff Hunt, a CCU leader on his podcast last month. “There’s not a lot of craziness going on.”
Hunt didn’t respond to an email seeking data to back up the claim, which he made on his Frontier Freedom Hour at 11 minutes here.
Hunt, who directs the CCU’s right-wing Centennial Institute, also didn’t supply an answer to the question of why his Christian university would be safer than other Christian universities, like Regis, a Jesuit Catholic institution in northwest Denver, a few miles from the Lakewood home of Hunt’s CCU.
Regis’ mission, as stated on its website, is partly to “embody God’s love in the world,” and it’s “rooted in an Ignatian spirituality of Christian discipleship,” which makes it sound like Regis is as committed to Jesus as CCU.
“As Catholic, part of a global community of faith called to celebrate and embody God’s love in the world, Regis educates diverse students for lives of service and meaning, equips them with knowledge and skills to be discerning persons in solidarity with others, especially all who are poor or whose dignity has been violated, and empowers them to care for the Earth, our common home,” states the Regis website.
CCU’s website contains similar statements, claiming the university “emphasizes development of Christian character and spirituality with the intent of sending graduates with personal Christian commitment and an informed sense of Christian morality into today’s communities and workplaces to provide leadership. CCU emphasizes the development of compassion, social concern, and a sense of biblical justice in the lives of its students.”
Another query that Hunt ignored was whether his own promotion of his religious commitment as somehow better than the religious feeling or ethics of others because it makes his community safer undermines the values of “compassion” and “social concern” that he claims to hold, particularly when there appears to be no data to back up his claim.
At least one member of CCU’s academic team is currently under investigation for several serious crimes. In August a judge ordered Centennial Institute Policy Fellow Jenna Ellis to testify as part of a Georgia grand jury investigation into crimes including, “solicitation of election fraud, conspiracy and making false statements to state and local government bodies.”
According to CNN, an attorney The Fulton County DA’s Office said investigators believe that “she was involved in planning hearings before Georgia lawmakers where Trump allies pushed claims of mass election fraud” and are also interested in legal memos Ellis authored advising that then-Vice President Mike Pence could disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s win; her social media posts promoting election fraud claims; and her participation in media interviews where she made those allegations.”
The Colorado Times Recorder tried and failed to get comments not only from Regis but also from the University of Colorado, the University of Denver, and The Colorado Community College System.
Hunt has been amping up his extremism lately, and he’s succeeded in turning the media spotlight on himself repeatedly in the process.
On his Nov. 18 podcast, Hunt fully embraces a PR strategy designed to incite progressives to respond to him — like I am doing here to try to hold him accountable.
The strategy was explained to Hunt on his podcast by Benny Johnson, who’s an officer with right-wing Turning Point USA and a co-founder of the Arsenal Media Group.
“In my profession, engagement equals good,” Johnson told Hunt. “And so it is important… to get haters up in the comments. We actually like that. Let the salt flow. First off, we need that salt. If you are in favor of green energy, those batteries that power your Tesla. You need salt. Libs must cry. The salt must flow.”
“A hate click or a love click is the same thing,” Johnson told Hunt “The engagement drives the content to the top of your feed. That’s how an algorithm works. … You actually want leftists to be upset about what you’re doing. You want people of the conservative perspective or a freedom perspective to also be engaged with what you are doing. And that is sort of the simple algorithmic mathematical multiplication table to get your content up to the top of a social feed.”
During the interview, Hunt couldn’t contain his admiration for Johnson.
“I Iove this guy,” said Hunt.
“The students love him,” said Hunt on his podcast, referring to Johnson’s regular appearances at CCU’s conservative conference called the Western Conservative summit. “The older ladies at the Summit love him. He’s kind of the favorite celebrity.”
“You’ve worked with Lauren Boebert,” Hunt told Johnson.
Johnson didn’t reply, and the two never talked about the topic as Hunt promised they would, but Johnson’s company produced Beobert’s “Glock” ad that was released shortly after she entered Congress.
Beyond that, there’s little evidence that Johnson and Boebert work together, and none on the FEC website, raising questions about what other projects Boebert and Johnson might have worked on together that aren’t known. Boebert’s angertainment PR strategy certainly reflects Johnson’s thoughts above.
And Hunt’s PR approach, including his baseless statement about CCU being the safest campus in Colorado because “we’re committed to Jesus,” is in the same angertainment playbook — but maybe called GodSPIN or something. It gets attention.