Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Liberty University Bans Young Democrats Club

Lynchburg Virginia's Liberty University, the college founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, has banned a Young Democrats club on the campus, claiming that the goals of the club were not compatible with the moral goals of the college. Unfortunately the university leadership fails to understand that the Democratic Party is a "big tent" party, where a wide variety of opinions are acceptable. Some Democrats are prochoice, some are prolife, some support Gay rights, others support more "traditional marriage" and other issues, some are more liberal, some are more conservative.

Unfortunately, the leadership of Liberty University views the 2008 Democratic Party Platform as some sort of monolithic document that all Democrats must adhere to, which is a huge mistake. It is not some religious book or a document of faith. It is loose philosophical document that binds many Democrats together, although not all agree with every position. In fact most members of the Liberty University chapter of the Young Democrats considered themselves to be prolife, compared to many Democrats nationally who consider themselves to be prochoice. In fact, in the U.S. Senate, Majority leader Harry Reid considers himself to be prolife, yet many of the other Democratic senators respect him. There is no litmus test to be a Democrat compared to some in the Republican Party who seem to be urging for a smaller "tent" and more ideological view on many issues.

Strangely, Liberty University seems to believe that being a Baptist and being a Democrat are somehow not compatible memberships. That is a sad commentary. Whoever knew that Jesus was a Republican partisan who supports tax breaks for big corporations or whose works were funded by throngs of corporate lobbyists?

The fact of the matter is that Jesus wasn't any advocate of any rulers or man-made governments. He was an advocate for his own future rule on Earth when he promised to return as King. But Liberty University has forgotten this important belief and trust in Jesus so central to the Christian faith. Instead, they view politics and governments in the real short-term. And they view a litmus test to run a club on campus as well.

Liberty University wants to define Democrats simply by abortion and homosexuality, not looking at the broader widely held Democratic goals of running a good government that helps to keep schools open, a standing military, strong national security, a social security network for the elderly or disabled, or goals of a health care system that serves all persons, regardless of their income level. Liberty University has missed the larger message of fairness supported by most Democrats that is a deeper principle that binds most Democrats together.

Recently, in his graduation address to Notre Dame, President Obama called for a more respectful and civil dialogue between those who disagree with issues. By contrast, Liberty University has decided to shut down the dialogue. On the campus of Liberty University, you apparently need to be both Christian and Republican to be right. If you aren't, then maybe you'll burn in Hell. Maybe that's the hidden message of the Liberty Flames.


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