Did you read the news of Liberty University (founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell) shutting down removed the Democratic club (as an offiicial Liberty club) because the national party’s platform goes against the values of the school?
As I’ve shared before, I’m neither a Democrat or a Republican. I’m an independent voter/thinker and attempt to look at things issue by issue. But in regards to this news from Liberty, let me first say that I get where their administration is coming from. They have certain convictions and are trying to honor them and as a private university, they have the right to do so, right? – especially since students sign the Liberty Way policy:
“It is the duty of every student to respect Liberty’s Statement of Doctrine and Purpose. They may not engage in any activity on or off campus that would compromise the testimony or reputation of the University or cause disruption to Liberty’s Christian learning environment.” The code of conduct includes possible reprimands and, later, fines, for such activities as attending dances, violating curfew, viewing R-rated movies, drinking, smoking, viewing sexually explicit material, entering the bedroom of a member of the opposite sex, having an abortion, and participating in unauthorized petitions.
But here are some of my concerns:
- Why would they grant the “Democatic Club” permission last year…only to pull the rug right underneath them? Why inform them via email? Why kick them off campus?
- Yes, there are the responses of convictions and moral values, but here’s my guess that’s the driving force: FEAR.
- These are college students and not middle schoolers. They are adults, right? Of age to enlist themselves in the armed forces. Let’s give them the freedom to engage the larger marketplace of ideas, philosophies, and worldviews – even in a Christian college. Their faith in Christ will be stronger as a result (& their ability to engage the larger world).
- Here we go again: this idea that Christians have to Republicans in order to be good Christians. It’s old… And it’s the same when people things that Christians that love justice and mercy must be Democrats. Here’s my recommendation: Be neither. Be independent. Follow Christ and your convictions…issue by issue. And finally, be someone that cares more than the issue and actually cares about the people behind the issues.
Alright. Your turn:
What do you think about Liberty U. kicking out removing the Democratic Club as an official club?
RICHMOND, May 22 — Liberty University will no longer recognize its campus Democratic club because, officials say, the national party’s platform goes against the conservative Christian school’s moral principles.
Officials at the private Lynchburg school, which was founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, said they made the decision after receiving complaints from trustees, parents and donors.
“They really are great kids and good friends of mine,” said Jerry Falwell Jr., who became the school’s chancellor after his father died in 2007. “It’s just an issue of what Liberty’s mission is.”
The decision led to swift and strong criticism by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and the three Democrats running to replace him. Kaine, who spoke on the campus on behalf of then-Sen. Barack Obama last year, urged the school to reconsider.
“For Liberty University to deprive the College Democrats of the same opportunity as College Republicans . . . violates that fundamental principle of fairness and teaches the students the wrong message,” Kaine said.
Terry McAuliffe, one of the Democrats running for governor in the June 9 primary, organized a conference call with reporters yesterday to denounce the school’s actions.
“People are tired of the division,” McAuliffe said.
The other Democratic gubernatorial candidates, R. Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran, released statements condemning the decision.
“Restricting free speech and discouraging students from participating in the political process are not what our colleges and universities should be about,” Deeds, a Bath County senator, said.
“Colleges are supposed to be a marketplace of ideas — even ones you might not agree with,” said Jesse Ferguson, Moran’s spokesman.
McAuliffe compared the Liberty flap to Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell’s opposition to Obama receiving an honorary degree from the University of Notre Dame because of his abortion views.
McDonnell, who attended Notre Dame and spoke at Liberty in March, said through his spokesman that he “personally disagrees” with Liberty’s decision but that because it is a private school its leaders can make their own decisions.
“Bob McDonnell supports academic freedom and believes universities should be a place for free intellectual discussion and discourse,” Tucker Martin, McDonnell’s spokesman, said.
Liberty, which has 11,500 residential students and 35,000 online students, has had a College Republicans club for years. The College Democrats formed in October and worked aggressively to elect Obama president.
The college officials “let the Liberty University College Republicans stay on campus, but they don’t let us,” said Brian Diaz, 18, the club’s president. “Sounds like censorship to me.”
Diaz was informed in a May 15 e-mail from Student Affairs Vice President Mark Hine that the club, which has about 30 members, will no longer be able to use Liberty’s name or be eligible for funding because of the party’s stand on abortion rights and gay rights issues.
Mathew D. Staver, dean of the university’s school of law, said Liberty recently came up with new guidelines for all student groups. On May 15, a campuswide review began. The recognition of only the Democratic club has been revoked. Staver said the students can continue to meet in certain locations on campus, and school officials have encouraged them to find a parent organization that supports a “pro-life, pro-family” platform.
Maria Childress, the club’s adviser and an administrative assistant at the school, said she is trying to appeal the decision to Falwell.
Katie Naranjo, president of the College Democrats of America, said, “It’s astonishing that in the 21st century an institution for higher education would demand a student group be thrown off campus for their political views.”