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.