Liberty Alum Regrets Decision to Ban College Democrat Group

Every one has skeletons in their closet.  Among mine is that I am a graduate of a very conservative private Christian school that has just banned the College Democrat Club from being officially recognized by the school.  Yes, I graduated from Liberty University. 

For the sake of context, there is a lot I like about Liberty.  There is a lot I respected about Dr. Falwell but among other things, there’s a mentality that I wish my Liberty family would abandon.  Similar to that hideous sweater that a dad wears every winter, I wish Liberty would let go of this dogmatic idea of “This is what a Christian looks like, how one behaves, and how one thinks.”  The order of that statement is intentional. 

I’m not a Democrat, nor have I been a card-carrying Republican.  I am not a member of any other party and I find a lot of socialist ideas to be problematic in our current setting.  I’m not in love with Obama, but I’m rooting for the guy because I love this country and think that he can do a lot of good.  More relevant, I love the Kingdom even more and firmly believe that politics is one of many tools that can serve it.  Generally, I receive my news online and sample the major networks.  I think Bill O’Reilly makes a good point has often as the Red Sox win a world series.  I prefer Larry King over Jon Stewart and I tune in to BBC though I’m glad I don’t live in England.  Lou Dobbs gets on my nerves and I’d much rather watch Sportscenter than Anderson Cooper.

It has been my experience at Liberty that has shaped a lot of this and for that, I was never ashamed of being a graduate of LU.  I fell in love there, enjoyed amazing friendships, learned a bit about God, life and myself there and praise the Lord, I was even able to unlearn a few things too.  It’s in this spirit that I also learned about politics and dealing with figures like Falwell. Indeed, I also learned a lot about living in paradox and thinking in the gray.

So now in light of Notre Dame having President Obama give their commencement, my alam-mater bans the College Democrat group and I react my hanging my post-conservative head.  I can only imagine their outrage should another school ban the College Republican club because one of their positions conflicts with their trustee’s policies, or the convictions of a particular faculty department or the collective opinions of their alumni.

I believe very much in the importance of leadership, influence, and modeling.  I pray and care for the younger and the weaker brother but this line of thought has the tendency of going too far.  I can hear it now at some board meeting, “If we allow Democrats to meet on our campus, they may like it for the ‘wrong reasons’ and we forever will lose them to this evil party and inadvertently create more baby-killers.”  Mind you, there is such a thing has a pro-life democrat.

As most of us know, there is a particular foolishness in being only a one-issue voter.  There are some noble ideals and pursuits in the Democrat party and it seems conservative institutions like Liberty ought to teach their students how to work for the good in all things as opposed to the demand of  strictly aligning themselves to one side exclusively. 

The same mentality persists in topics like alcohol.  I remember hearing, one drink can turn you into an alcoholic.   Indeed a fair warning.  But one drink can also create a healthy mentality that enjoys a glass of wine or a summer ale.  I’ve been raising my glass with Christians (and non-Christians) for the last 10 years and have enjoyed many brilliant moments of conversation and friendship that leave me praising God that I ignored the legalism and the ridiculous mentality that was preached to me. Yes, I graduated from Liberty University but it’s cool, I drink Guinness.

This is not what taking a stand looks like.  Let us not delude ourselves in enjoying the bad press as a form of persecution.  This is not counter-cultural, this is a lack of culture and frankly for those so concerned for their testimony, this is a bad one.  

I’ve been in the habit of saying that Liberty University is not for everyone. Now they say it’s not for Democrats but what everyone hears is that it’s not for independent thinking people.  Today, I regret being an alumni of Liberty University.  Praying for our repentance of such a mentality.


  1. Jeff Garlick says:

    As a student of LU for one year (all I could handle), I do appreciate this article. While it is important that we are different in the world, salt and light, too much salt can ruin the food and too much light can cause blindness. Christ neither came as a political leader or a concervative. In fact he was a liberal of the times. No you cannot box Him into the liberal definition by our cultural standards, but he certainly went against the grain.
    This isn’t to say we need to be accepting of the cultural decay present within our society; however, a method of exclusion does not change minds but harden them. A political plank is one adopted by the party leadership, not the whole of the party. As a life long Republican, does it not serve the best interest of the country as a whole by having disention within the ranks of the Democrat party too? A check within it to remind them that many do not agree?
    Christ went, ministered and spoke to the poor and downtrodden, those that needed Him, not the leadership of the day. Without intending to call the Democrat party the poor and downtrodden, should we not have Christians within the Democrat party as well? And if the view of the reader is that it is simply a battle with lines, to win a war completely an army must eventually invade. To win a war of ideas, the same method must be used. In a war of ideas, discussions must be used. If we are correct in knowing that abortion or other ideas are flatly wrong and bad for our country, why would we be afraid to debate those ideas and prevent debate through exclusion?

  2. Ryan Davis says:

    Timmy G! Wow. So I clicked on your FaceBook page and then stumbled onto your blog. Pretty cool. I was interested to read anything you’d written about Liberty so I searched it and found this article.

    I agree with your take on LU and I actually think that Falwell Sr’s passing might allow the school to move forward into the 21st century in terms of rejecting legalistic ideals, and shedding some labels of years gone by.

    I was invited by the career center to come back and speak to students about entrepreneurial aspirations (I didn’t bring up Sandy and my motto of C’s get degrees, but I digress)while there I felt like I had gone back in time. Not because of all the familiar surroundings, but because… wow these people are still like that! The dresses have been exchanged for pants and the ties that we wore have been swapped for polos. But the mood and the environment of the place felt so old school (pun intended). And not the Will Ferrell old school.

    The place has the feeling of, “Hey, You’re a Christian! I can tell from a mile away! You and me we’re just the same. Now let’s go condemn someone.” I’d say they’re about 30 years behind everyone else. And when were there, well… the Salem Witch Trials would have just concluded.

    Dorm 10 Forever!

  3. Hey Ryan, thanks for the comment – it brought back some memories there.

    While Liberty has many open-minded, intellectually honest, Christ-following people, there unfortunately was (and as you say still is) a mentality that is borderline anti-intellectual, self-righteous and frankly unChristian.

    Your words are encouragement to me and in an odd way it’s comforting that other Liberty alum will be raising their families in a hopefully a better way. But then we’ll probably send our kids some place else. ;-( But who knows?

    By the way, you owe me 2 bucks.

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