Saturday, May 23, 2009

When Liberty is an Oxymoron

Rachel Maddow commented upon Liberty University's startling decision to ban their campus chapter of the College Democrats. As Left of the Hill and Dem Bones, among others, reported, Liberty University revoked the College Democrats charter because administration officials decided that being a Democrat was incompatible with Christian morality.

That is an utterly bogus reason and here's why. Even though the majority of Democrats might be pro-choice, there are in fact prominent Democrats, including Senators Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, Harry Reid of Nevada, who is also the Senate Leader, and Governor Tim Kaine, who are all pro-life. Some pro-life representatives in Congress include Heath Shuler (NC), Charlie Wilson (OH), Joe Donnelly (Indiana), Baron Hill (Indiana), and Jason Altmire and Chris Carney (both PA). In addition, there is an organization, Democrats for Life, which is uncompromising in their pro-life position, yet manages to also be staunchly Democratic. Indeed, they even have a Virginia chapter.

Besides the embarrassing public relations flap this is causing for Liberty University, if they take any federal money for activities or even if they have any tax exemption for being a religious institution, this boneheaded move could be jeopardizing those, under Title IX and the IRS tax code.

Additionally, the sound of silence on the Republican side from their elected officials and candidates raises an interesting question: Are they so beholden to their whacky rightwing base that they can no longer stand up for legitimate academic freedom? The crickets are chirping...


spotter said...

Also, do you think the Liberty administrators know there are other things Christians are supposed to care about? Things like helping the poor, and caring for one another, and turning the other cheek. Pro-choice or not, this is not the only issue that they should be looking to as a sign of "Christian morality."

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Actually, it's two issues, pro-life and also traditional marriage, that LU based its decision on. But I still think it was a boneheaded decision because, as you so rightly point out, there is so much more to Christian morality than just those two issues.

The really great Christian writers of the last century realized that. British Christian apologists like C.S. Lewis and Dorothy Sayers, who wrote one of the best essays on the seven deadly sins, recognized that the so-called "sexual sins" were minor compared to such sins as greed, acedia, and stinginess. Dorothy Sayers, particularly, considered the "cold sins" more harmful than the "warm sins" of lust and greed because indifference led to lack of love and was more calculated and selfish (her distinction, not mine).

Furthermore, in C.S. Lewis' autobiography, "Surprised By Joy," he wrote frankly about school friends who engaged in homosexual activity, which was common in the British boys' school system, and which he referred to as "a furnace of impure love." Although he considered it sinful, it did not offend him because he saw it as equally serious to any other sin, no worse, no better.

From a Christian perspective all sin is serious, but it is only lately that morality has come to be defined so narrowly as only matters of a sexual nature. This is less about real sin and more about the culture wars and politics.

BTW, other pro-life Democrats right in Virginia include Ward Armstrong and Chuck Colgan. So that gives lie to the notion that it is impossible to be a pro-life Democrat. But show me the pro-choice Republicans left in that party? We truly are the party of the big tent now.

It's about respectful dialogue, something, sadly, LU has refused to engage in.

Anonymous said...

I was just told that Liberty did NOT ban the democrats. See Mr. Falwell’s statement on the Liberty Website.