Eugene Cho

liberty university removes the democratic club

liberty universityDid 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?

Here’s the article from the Washington Post:

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.”

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45 Responses

  1. jason says:

    Before the bashing begins, let’s not forget that Liberty U. gave the Christian world the greatest musical talent in the Christian subculture: DC Talk!

  2. I’m not sure I can think of a coherent response to this news item because I can’t make it past their “Liberty Way policy”. Apparently you can’t dance or have an abortion. That’s like “don’t say ‘heck’ and don’t stab anyone in the brain with an ice pick.” If they have such trouble with a sense of proportion in their guiding documents I have little faith that they know what they’re doing with this political group.

  3. @jason: thanks for the reminder! I’m a little embarrassed to say that the primary forces guiding me into my early faith were DC Talk and Carmen. Yes, Carmen :)

  4. Tim McDaniel says:

    Very sad. As the church, we should be able to TALK about issues (and even disagree). Very sad to read something of this nature, again.

  5. embemrn says:

    Are you really surprised? I mean Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were the driving forces behind the Christian Coalition. It is harder for me to believe they allowed the Democratic Club to begin than it is that they squelched it.

  6. DYdaktix says:

    Liberty University FAIL!

  7. fergie says:

    Hm.

    “Liberty” University bans “Democratic Club”.

    Apparently the Nomme has nothing to do with reality.

  8. Daniel Azuma says:

    As a private institution and an expression and representation of a particular subculture, they of course have every right to do what they did. But it speaks volumes about the absurdity of that subculture when taken to such extremes.

    This will go down just like the censuring of the Pledge of Allegiance did a few years ago. There will be a national uproar, including from within the conservative ranks. It will be universally denounced as “a stupid, stupid policy”. And it will be repealed within weeks.

    @jack: I don’t know what the “heck” they were thinking. :-)

  9. Carol Fenton says:

    This issue comes up at at faith based groups also, and I am disgusted by it. I am at a point where I am ready to leave the faith based group I am involved with and no longer give money to any faith based organization.

  10. steve s says:

    Weeeeellllll…..

    Hate to be the fly in the ointment, but, we don’t really feel the need to ‘allow free speech.’ That is an outright untruth.

    If someone showed up at a private institution and wanted to talk about the superiority of the white race. Or the free-market right of one individual to own a sex slave. Or the moral goodness of the murder of abortion providers. Etc. We wouldn’t feel as though we were doing something inapropriate to ban their speech.

    In point of fact no-one really believes censorship is wrong all the time.

    While I disagree with Liberty’s views as to the specific values of God and how they might line up with certain political issues, they simply view abortion and gay marriage as actions so repugnant and antithetical to God’s heart that they refuse to allow people to even advocate for them while also representing the school.

    Would you allow someone to speak for your organization while simultaneously advocating for NAMBLA (for example)? If you say that NAMBLA and NARAL are not in the same category morally, they I would say with confidence, that you don’t understand the real depth of anguish people feel over abortion.

  11. Tyler says:

    I’m not surprised. And even though there is much to dislike about Liberty, I would Christ is being lifted high at that place and that can’t be a bad thing. We might disagree with their expression of Christianity, but they are staying true to their religious and political convictions as a private institution.

  12. Michael says:

    IVCF and many other Christian organizations on secular campuses will pay for this move.

    IVCF was excluded from 2 (?) campuses in the past couple of years on the basis of officer requirements. (Christians only.) This move will put organizations whose “values” differ with the university’s vision of “tolerance” at risk, esp if the organization has a stand on gay marriage, etc. IMO it will simply encourage a tug of war of harassment?

  13. Larry says:

    I think it is important to realize that you can have an effective presence on campus in a lot of ways. I think part of the problem is that the general academic community does not adequately distinguish between fundamentalists (like the Liberty University) and evangelicals (like Wheaton College, Fuller Seminary varieties). There is a reaction against “intolerance” that is intolerant…

    Unitarians don’t normally permit evangelicals in their groups for the same kinds of reasons that University communities don’t. Bible Colleges and even colleges like Notre Dame are excluded mainstream voices for a variety of reasons… I think it is fear, willful ignorance, and misplaced use of power that is at the root of it.

  14. Joe says:

    makes me wonder if they would kick the republican club out on the basis of a national platform that is unchristian: pro-war,pro-torture, the idolatry of nationalism.

  15. Jason W. says:

    I think the real issue here may be our own chagrin/indignation that Liberty U. made the rest of us “look bad” in the public square. We feel the need to either apologize for their actions and/or join the denunciations to demonstrate that we’re not “that kind of Christian”. We’re “better”. Or are we?

    I think the embarrassment we carry for our fellow Christians was inside of us already, long before Liberty did what it did. And maybe the real task here is to emerge from our own shame.

    It takes all kinds to make a body of Christ. That “other group” that makes me look bad before my social circle may actually be reaching people I could never reach and be meeting needs I could never meet. And Jesus likes them, loves them, and accepts them the same way He does me– in spite of what I think, what evils I’ve done, or how wrong I may be in ways I cannot see. On some issues, like personal holiness, they may actually be much further along than their detractors.

    Wisdom is the miracle, folly is the norm. And so it will always be until Christ returns.

  16. I think that the larger, more dangerous message this sends is the message that being an evangelical means being a Republican. The actions of Liberty University imply that while the values/platform of the Democratic Party are not compatible with the teachings of Jesus Christ, the values/platform of the Republican Party are.

    This dilutes and misrepresents the teachings of Jesus – teachings that could never be contained within a political platform. As Joe said, it sends the message that being a Christian means being pro-torture or pro-war.

    If Liberty University wants to distance itself from a political party that does not represent Christian values – IT SHOULD SHUT DOWN BOTH CLUBS. God is not a Democrat or a Republican. To imply that he is one or the other makes him seem so very, very small.

  17. P.S. I don’t think this is really a censorship issue. Liberty is a private institution, so the administration can censor all they want. I think the more important issue is what message such censorship sends to the broader community – that evangelicalism and Republicanism are interchangeable terms.

  18. Benjamin Ady says:

    Eugene–as always thank you for your open, gracious, intelligent take on a subject.

    I find it intriguing that folks are concerned/upset about this story. Perhaps because I’m somewhat familiar with Liberty U. As Embemrn said above–it’s Liberty U.–of course they’re not going to allow a College Democrats club on Campus. That particular iteration of Christianity/Academia very strongly affiliated (and that’s putting it nicely) themselves with the Republican Party decades ago. Would the Republican Party invite a bunch of democrats to set up booths at their convention? Of course not. And neither is Liberty going to happily allow a College Democrats club to set up shop on their campus.

    At one level it’s kind of sad that the students of Liberty are going to have to get an education after their education. Liberty is still trying to fight a culture war which has moved to the fringes of the culture. Both they and their opponents in the “culture war” are going to find that they are more and more on the sidelines while the rest of us move on to engage with the larger shift which the entire “West” is undergoing.

  19. me says:

    Again, it’s not that I’m surprised of the news. I’m disappointed that they allowed them to form a club in the first place and then, kicked them out.

    Perhaps, it’s because they realized that the club was substantive, growing (30+), and…

    @rachel: i agree. that was my point. what’s the message they’re sending out to the broader community.

    i’m curious what the impact w/ be at liberty. not much i’m sure but will some of those 30 students leave. will future interested students choose to opt out because their views are inconsistent w/ the core of liberty way.

  20. Benjamin Ady says:

    Eugene–

    Just a for instance, for those unfamiliar with Liberty. Their student athletics center/gym building is called “The Lahaye Student Union”. Yep–named after the same LaHaye who co-authored the top selling Left Behind series, complete with Jesus as bloodthirsty warrior. In fact, LaHaye is president of Liberty University’s “School of Prophecy”.

  21. me says:

    @benjamin – yeah, i know.

    but then again, when you give 4.6 million to a school, i’m expecting someone to name something after me.

    from wiki:

    In 2001 LaHaye gave $4.5 million to Liberty University to build a new student center and School of Prophecy, which opened in January 2002, was named after LaHaye. He also serves as its president. LaHaye also provided the funds for the LaHaye Ice Center on the campus of Liberty University, which opened in January 2006.

  22. Charles says:

    They have a right to run their university as they please. I, for my part, gave up on the Republicans after a 20 year affiliation with the Party. Now my goal is to see them demolished. I’m a serious Christian, but not an evangelical or fundamentalist. I’m sick and tired of their simplistic, anti-science, torture rationalizing, war-mongering know-nothingism.

    But, as I said, it’s their school and their right to run it however they see fit. And it’s my right to switch political parties and do my best to defeat the Party they’ve infected since they abandoned the Southern wing of the Democratic Party for George Wallace back in the 1960s.

  23. David says:

    Good riddance! Those democrats are a plague to our Christian nation anyways.

  24. Benjamin Ady says:

    Eugene,

    yeah–so … anyone who ever bought a copy of any of the left behind books helped out with that 4.6 million. There’s a thought =).

    I hear what you’re saying about how weird it is that they allowed the club to start and then shut it down. It’s insightful of you to say perhaps some of the 30 students in the club will leave liberty over it. I wouldn’t have noticed that.

    I’m assuming this isn’t the blog of the brian diaz who is the president of the (formerly) Liberty University College Democrats: http://soihavethisblog.blogspot.com/

  25. Bill Hammond says:

    Since the age of 5, I wasn’t expected to live beyond age 36, so my 37th birthday was cause for great celebration and I’m happy to say that by the grace of God, I celebrated my 37th birthday this year… for the 27th time. Obviously I haven’t completed what God put me here on earth to do, which I believe is to unmask the Taliban like right wing religious zealots like those running Liberty University as being the Religious WRONG!
    As a reporter for the Richmond Times Dispatch while a student at Hampden-Sydney College, a true Christian college, I had front page coverage of Robert F. Kennedy’s visit and as an award-winning reporter/news anchor for WDBJ-TV in nearby Roanoke back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I covered a number of Washington Politicians, but nothing compared to the Secret Recordings I recently came across that will soon be published and will certainly make the officials at Liberty University seriously rethink their position on the Young Democrats. In fact, it will call into question much of what they teach. Liberty’s so-called principals are those of the anti-christ. These false prophets, which Christ warned about, engage in hate mongering, not spreading the love of Christ. All who profess to believe in the Gospels, especially the students at Liberty should go to http://www.secretrecordings.com and request notification of when the transcripts will be released. Carefully researched and authenticated by over 200 scriptural references, but book provides a clear understanding of Christ’s guidance on today’s issues.
    The administrators at Liberty University should be careful. They’ve got it all wrong. The Democrats support the teachings of Christ like heal the sick, don’t kill, love one another. They shouldn’t identify themselves as Christians if they’re not teaching Christ’s message of Love. Don’t they recall in Ecclesiastes 3 that there’s a time to dance, and that Christ’s first miracle was to assist the marriage festivities by turning water into good wine. Jesus and the Apostles didn’t try to hold their people in check by threatening hellfire and damnation, but by showing their love of their fellow human beings. Come their day of judgment, they’ll likely be viewed as the anti-christ for leading so many astray.

  26. RL says:

    I for one fully support Liberty’s decision. I just wish they had removed the Republicans as well and created a political free zone. God being completely righteous and holy is a far cry from any political party. Including my own Constitution Party.Although Eugene and I disagree on a lot of things for the most part I thought your article was fair and balanced. And no that was not a plug for FOX News.

  27. Matthew says:

    Yeah, it’s Liberty’s right to do that, but what does it say about the current state of American Christendom when for a wide swathe of it, faith in Christ (you know, that rabbi from Galilee way back when who made radical declarations like ‘blessed are the peacemakers’, ‘when one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also’ and ‘when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind; and you will be blessed because they cannot repay you’) becomes secondary to loyalty to a political party (the GOP) based in fear, violence, ultra-nationalism and exploitation of the poor to benefit the rich?

    I honestly think that if Christ were to return today, the gates of Liberty University would be among the first shut to him.

  28. [...] from supporting any pro-choice candidate (so no support to Obama in 2012). Some various reactions: Eugene Cho, Liberty Freelance, Think Progress. Oh, and for some reason this website is rather sympathetic to [...]

  29. CN says:

    Just because you have a private institution doesn’t mean you should condone censorship. If nobody is able to discuss these “offensive” issues or have political views than it really shows that the administration and this “type” of Christianity is scared of the real world and those who disagree with them.

    At the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) there are 4 smaller colleges/universities on the same campus and affiliated with UW. These schools are all religious institutions-Catholic, Anglican, United Church and Mennonite. These colleges have small residences for their students BUT you don’t have to be religious to stay at the Colleges and you can participate in any of the larger campus activities/clubs.

    Why are Evangelical Christians so afraid of ideas that
    oppose their views?

    Something that I don’t think the Evangelicals understand is that debate is healthy. There seems to be a lot of rule by fear.

    Politics should not be tied to religious fundamentalism. Unfortunately that is overwhelmingly not the case in the US. Liberty is just another example (such as pastors preaching to vote for the Republicans).

  30. ryan says:

    Liberty certainly has the right to do this – I agree with Eugene that what makes it goofy is that they allowed them initially. Makes it almost seem like they intended to do this all along. To quote a ministry mentor I once had, “True diversity is that I will be spending eternity in the same heaven as Jerry Falwell.” I wonder who Jerry is hanging with right now that wouldn’t be allowed to form a student group at Liberty today? This also made me think: Notre Dame got it right(willingness to host Obama and express differences), Liberty got it wrong.

  31. Baron Miller says:

    Ok, please, nobody throw a shoe at me or anything, but I actually am taking some on-line grad courses at Liberty in Chaplaincy–and I voted democrat–don’t tell or I may be blacklisted.

    Their club has a page on Facebook (Liberty U. Democrats or something like that) and they’ve posted the scoop–they weren’t kicked off, just had their official status revoked ’cause they backed pro-choice candidates which was in direct violation to their agreement with the school to be an official club.

    Also, lets remember this is a private school and they can do what they want–doesn’t make it right–but they can do what they want.

    Again, please don’t tell on me–the online forum people may discover who I am and cyber-harrass me.

  32. Liberty University says:

    This was emailed out to the Student Body from the Chancellor:

    Liberty University is a distinctly Christian university with a stated mission of training Champions for Christ. It is the largest and fastest growing evangelical University in the world. Students and parents appreciate and support the values of the University.

    Officially recognized student clubs and organizations that bear the name of Liberty University are expected to uphold the standards and principles of the University and act in a manner consistent with its mission. For nearly two years the University has been evaluating how best to advance its mission and to support student organizations. In order to avoid the problems encountered by other faith-based educational institutions involving student organizations, Liberty University has adopted a policy that governs such groups.

    The policy states, in part: “No student club or organization shall be approved, recognized or permitted to meet on campus, advertise, distribute or post materials, or use University facilities if the statements, positions, doctrines, policies, constitutions, bylaws, platforms, activities or events of such club or organization, its parent, affiliate, chapter or similarly named group are inconsistent or in conflict with the distinctly Christian mission of the University.”

    Among other things, Liberty University stands for the sanctity of human life. The loss of human life through abortion is a great tragedy and we cannot remain silent when the political policies or politicians promote the destruction of innocent human life. While students may meet on campus, debate, and discuss important and controversial issues of the day, Liberty University will not lend its name or fund organizations whose stated purpose is to promote and advance issues that are contrary to its Christian mission.

    Over the last several decades, Democratic clubs have existed at Liberty University as unofficial student clubs not endorsed by the school. Last Fall, the College Democrats asked that the university officially recognize their club. They promised to support only pro-life candidates and their charter provides that the club supports the right to life. Unfortunately, the club supported candidates over the last 8 months that support abortion rights. As a result, Liberty University converted the club’s status back to that of an unrecognized club. It was not banned as so many press outlets irresponsibly reported. The club can continue to exist and meet on campus like other clubs and student groups that are not officially recognized by the university. They cannot use Liberty University’s name, will not receive the small financial subsidy that officially recognized clubs receive (about $500 per year on average) and they cannot hold public events on campus. There will be no other restrictions on their activities. Liberty University encourages free speech and open debate on its campus and free speech will not be restricted.

    Liberty University is not singling out the Democratic Party in this action. If a Republican club supporting abortion sought endorsement from the University, it would be denied. The sanctity of life is one of Liberty University’s non-negotiable core values and it simply cannot lend its name or financial support to any group that actively works against Liberty’s core values.

    A student club of Democrats who are pro-life and pro-family, and who are seriously intent on bringing positive change to the Democratic Party, would be refreshing. But the rhetoric must match the actions, meaning that such a club seeking official recognition would not want to endorse policies or candidates contrary to Liberty’s mission. Such a group should state in its’ name its’ distinctive mission to immediately tell the world that this club stands for the core values of Liberty University.

    We hope that our students bring positive change to all political parties, not just Democrats, but also Republicans and Independents. These groups could debate many topics, but agree on Liberty’s core values. Liberty will not lend its name and financial support to any club or organization that actively seeks to undermine the mission of the University and its core values.

  33. Rachel says:

    The late Jerry Falwell often emphasized, when giving spiritual talks, that “we believe in the premillennial, pre-tribulational return of Christ.” Readers wishing to obtain some historical background on this theological phrase are invited to read “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty” on the “Powered by Christ Ministries” site. Since the same 179-year-old, fringe-British-invented, American-merchandised-for-political-agendas “pre-tribulation rapture” view has long had a distinguished record of suppressing and even banning other end-time views, it is no surprise that “Liberty” University has adopted an un-American attitude towards campus Democrats!

  34. Ken G. says:

    Liberty University has the right to what they want AND who they allow to use their name.

    As their statement, those who wish to push an agenda contrary to what the university stands for is free to do so, but just without the Liberty’s financial assistance and without the use of their schools name.’

    Eugene – for you to openly question Liberty’s decision to allow the democrat organization when their public statement quite clearly states why they were first allowed recoginition shows why you’re a blogger and not a serious journalist. You didn’t do your homework – SHAME ON YOU!

    Public universities have banned christian organizations in a similar way throughout this country – where is the similar outrage? For those of you to criticize Liberty University and to NOT be equally outraged when YOUR tax dollars are used to “censor” or “discriminate” or repress “open and free debate” or any of the words many of you have used is hypocracy. For those of you who are christians, why don’t you stand up for the oppressed christian organizations at our public universities, especially when it is your tax dollars!

  35. Matthew says:

    It’s well within Liberty’s rights to do this, but Pastor Eugene and everyone else here still has the right to call them to task for it. As I said before, it’s a sad state of affairs in American Christianity when supposedly ‘Christian’ institutions place more importance on partisan loyalties and pet issues of the day than on faith in Christ – that is, the Son of God whose teachings, if heard today, would probably be considered ‘socialist’ and banned from Liberty’s campus.

    The public statement issued by Liberty University is as dogmatic and as misguided as the original action. Why is anti-abortion a ‘core value’ and health care for infants not a ‘core value’? I don’t think anyone here would argue against ‘sanctity of life’, but I think there is room for reasonable discussion on the issue, and I find it MORALLY REPREHENSIBLE for an institution supposedly devoted to academic inquiry to unilaterally declare an entire subject within bioethical discourse completely off-limits, and then systematically exclude anyone whose personal beliefs deviate from the official dogma.

  36. Benjamin Ady says:

    One wonders how it is that Liberty doesn’t have any problem with their College Republicans club supporting pro-war candidates like “bomb bomb bomb Iran” McCain?

  37. Greg says:

    They haven’t banned the club. They still allow the club to meet on campus and use campus facilities. They have only pulled their official sponsorship of the club. All that means is that they won’t let the club use the Liberty University name and they won’t fund the club. They still allow the club to meet on campus and to use campus facilities. The whole thing is over abortion. Liberty refuses to allow their name to be connected with abortion. Each official university club receives a very small fund from the University each year. Parents and trustees were upset that Liberty tuition dollars were being given to a club that supported candidates that didn’t not support the “Liberty Way”. When Liberty allowed the club to begin they warned them that the university would only recognize them if the didn’t support pro-choice candidates. They aren’t stifling free speech. They are just removing their financial backing and name.

  38. Kacie says:

    To me, Liberty just further pigeon-holed themselves as a Religious Right Republican stronghold. So be it. If that’s what they believe and the direction they want to go, fair enough. It does bother me, though, that their primary purpose (as I understand) is to provide thinking people of faith who can work in the public sphere from a Christian worldview. In that case, they are sort of saying that you cannot be a Democrat with a Christian worldview, which is something that I totally disagree with.

  39. Andy M says:

    So Liberty thinks that a student club of democrats is fine as long as they are really secretly republicans in disguise?

    Their stating that a student democrat must be pro-life and pro-family means they must be against abortion no matter what, and against homosexuals no matter what. Just translating here, but that is the truth of that right? Being pro for something, means being against something else.

    Since the religious right has basically boiled down Christian political issues to abortion and gay-marriage, and to be Christian is to be right-wing republican, then how in that world of thinking could you be democrat and pro-life, pro-family? In that world, you would have to be a republican disguised as a democrat.

    I just find that intriguing.

    They have all rights to do what they want, so fine, thats the way it is. But I hate that Christian private schools are about the most discriminatory schools in our country. Think about it, what other schools do you have to sign a pledge statement about how they aren’t going to do this or that because it goes against school beliefs?

    I’m not saying that they shouldn’t have that right and students have the choice whether or not to make that pledge, but I think that Christian educators should rethink their policies. Christian leaders often make remarks about how Christians are being discriminated against like no prayer in schools and whatnot. But they discriminate against students in their own schools. Just read Ken G.’s comment above. Discrimination against Christians in public universities is much less common than Christian private schools having pledge statements and limiting free-speech.

    @Greg, to fund one organizations views while cutting off funding for another, is stifling free-speech. It essentially says to those students that those political views are not valid or appropriate on that campus. If they fund one, they should fund the other, or not fund either.

  40. The Chiz says:

    I liked the “sanctity of life” jargon in the Liberty U response; I’m sure there is some clause in there that excludes jingoist militarism and death penalty supporters. Those deaths don’t count, I’m guessing.

  41. .elise.anne. says:

    i agree with others that liberty u should take a look at the republican stance on things, and re-evaluate how they line up with scripture, but, we all know that is long off…

    I find it interesting that the school changed it because of complaints from Donors, Parents, and Trustees. Not Students!!

    Power of the dollar. And i agree with P.E., these students are old enough to make their own decisions (part of going to college…) and learn about them, not conform to parents’ wishes.

  42. Kevin W says:

    Liberty probably should not be the name for this school. I’m thinking that the name should be more of Hipocracey University. liberty usually dictates freedom of expression, but if you cannot express yourself, you are not at Liberty.

  43. Sarah H says:

    Did you see this yet??

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104754773

    “Undercover At An Evangelical University”
    Interesting that he doesn’t have anything negative to say. I’d like to read the book.

  44. Ron Zoutendam says:

    What or who defines the “Christian right”? It appears to me that it(Liberty University) has defined itself! Having done so, it, as a private institution has every right to ban whomever, or whatever it wants. I don’t think any university should financially support a political party, Republican, Democrat, or Independent. Reading Liberty’s response carefully, it seems that they did agree to lend their name and some financial assistance to the campus Democratic Club which was a mistake to begin with. Having said that, I have two Questions: 1. What does the name Liberty lend to an institution with such a narrow vision? and 2.Where was the righteous indignation when (the late) Jerry Falwell referred to a “shoot em up” philosophy regarding Vensuela’s Chevaz? I personally believe in the “sanctity of life” but don’t recall Jesus or the New Testament referring to the life of an unborn as any more sacred than that of a Venzuelan (or a radical Muslim, a terrorist, or a starving child in sub-Saharan Africa, for that matter).

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One Day’s Wages

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