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.

Obama, Notre Dame, Abortion, The Church and Me

Obama speaking at Notre Dame has been an absolutely fascinating moment for me and of course, for many others.  You can read his speech here.    There’s a lot to appreciate here.  As mentioned in an earlier post, I respected that Notre Dame invited President Obama.  I respect people’s right to disagree and protest. While not the route I would go, I also respected that some students decided to skip their own graduation as if Obama was the creator of abortion.  The weekend was filled with people were arrested (like ‘Roe’ of Roe v. Wade), heckling, applause and for some of us, we acknowledged that perhaps there is something to gain from listening to someone who has the opposite view.  That spirit can be summed up in Father Jenkins’ introduction.  

I find myself wondering about many things in light of all this.  First, know that I am pro-life.  Second, know that I sympathize with all women who have found themselves to be pregnant and scared.  Third, know that it is my conviction that each child deserves the right to be born.  Fourth, know that I still respect those who passionately feel otherwise.  Fifth, we need to do our part as a Church and a society to come along side the pregnant woman who is struggling with her situation.  And this is just the very basic tip of the surface of what we need to do.

When a woman gets pregnant and is either unwed or wed but living at the poverty level, (or any other scenario, young college student, professional working woman, etc.), we have to say more than, “Well you should have thought before ….” or  “The right thing is to keep the baby or put the child up for adoption.”  I’m not saying the point of that statement is wrong, I’m saying we need to do more.  As an adoptive parent, I obviously see the beauty of adoption but I also know that it takes a very special person to go through the pain of putting a baby up.  But what about the woman who can’t do that?  She wants to keep the baby and if she can’t then, unfortunately abortion becomes her conclusion.

If among our chief goals is fewer abortions then we need to work with people like President Obama and others that we swore off as enemies.  For years I believed in the teaching I was given that if we changed the culture, abortion would lose its stronghold.  While I believe that is a solid theory, it seems we have to do more until it is proven true because I am no longer content in only saying and believing those words.  Thus,  I have found myself wondering what would happen if the pro-life energies were focused on working with places like Planned Parenthood.  I think I can hear some think “What???” 

Here’s what the current situation seems to be to me.  A Planned Parenthood opens on one side of the street.  It is my perception that PP is interested in performing as many abortions as possible (it is a multi-billion dollar business).  Eventually a pro-life clinic opens on the other side and of course they compete against one another.  Every pregnant woman that enters their respective doors is urged to abort or keep their baby or put the child up for adoption.  And here we are. 

What if we converted some of our pro-life clinics into free day cares for those like single working mothers (or whomever) exclusively for those referred by Planned Parenthood? While I am not saying that we should not open pro-life clinics or close all of them, what I am speculating is the need to find ways to work with places such as Planned Parenthood.  The donations made it to the former pro-life clinic could go to day care workers, and among them could be mothers and a percentage of PP’s profits could be contributed to these day cares and needy homes.  Indeed I too see numerous issues that would have to be resolved and a long line of potential abuses but the idea only serves as a start.

Here’s another.  What if we as a Church had “Single Mother Sunday” the week after “Sanctity of Life Sunday”  Is this glorifying the wrong person?  I suppose it depends what you mean by glorifying but I see this very much in tune with the gospel message itself because no matter how I look at it, I am the wrong person.  I am grateful for grace.  Is what I suggest that different?

What if for every missionary our church supported, we also supported a needy family?  The point wouldn’t be too support fewer missionaries, but to help people get on their feet so they don’t repeat the cycle. 

What if our Christian counselors offered free counseling for every woman who had an abortion or for those who struggled with the decision, kept the child and trying to figure out the next step? 

I could probably go on but my point to my fellow evangelicals is this – can we not work together to reduce the number of abortions?  Most of these suggestions have a financial commitment behind them, but I think they also have a mercy, caring element as well.  Would that not change culture?  I argue that it would do more than our current strategies.

Reflecting on Obama Being Invited to Notre Dame

In my last post, I mentioned that I feel blessed for having so many friends.  So maybe it’s time to lose a few ;-) Almost each day I receive an email or hear a comment that expresses the shock and disappointment regarding President Obama being invited to Notre Dame and like usual, I am bothered with the outrage of people (yeah, I’m outraged with outrage).  But this got me thinking.

Maybe I shouldn’t have been but frankly, yes, I too was initially surprised that Notre Dame invited Obama. Generally speaking, people regard Notre Dame as the symbol of American Catholicism and I wondered about this for a while (at least 30 seconds) and I’d like to make a few assumptions:

The decision makers of Notre Dame are highly intelligent capable people and they probably thought             this through.

This wasn’t a spectacle too distract from their terrible football team.

Notre Dame isn’t posturing for a federal bail-out.

Then it occurred to me – could it be that Notre Dame is interested in conversation? I’ve been sharing to some my friends that we as evangelical Christians need to change our paradigm in various areas. Among these areas is the idea of the culture war. For starters, we need to stop calling it a “culture war”. Second, those “enemies” or those who we sharply disagree with are not going to change their minds in the midst of our protests, books, blogs, sermons, and our Fox News Channel personalities (who seem to be quoted more often than our Messiah). Evidence of this is the last 40-50 years of reaction in attempt to combat the effects of the sexual revolution. Campaigns and images like these posted to the right are not going to make a profound difference.

Those who we differ with may at least dialogue with us if we invite them to our tables, honor them at our events, show them the same love that was shown for us. I truly believe good can come out of this mentality and at worst, it will be a start.

I can hear it now, “Aren’t you afraid, that Obama will convert the Notre Dame students to the abortion agenda? He’s very convincing you know …” No, no I’m not. That’s not what I care about.  I am interested in fewer abortions and the regard for life, not more people to check “I am Pro-Life” during a Gallup Poll. “Are we not inviting the wolves to come and prey upon our flocks?” No because this is the type of logic that has moved us further out of discussion and set up yelling matches. This is what has armed the battalions of our new civil war, “Blue States verses Red States”. “Aren’t we compromising our convictions by allowing this sort of thing?” I know people are tired of reading/hearing this, but again, Jesus ate and drank with prostitutes and tax collectors and others who obviously had different convictions than he did.

Likewise, I’d like to see a school like Concordia invite a respectable conservative like Hugh Hewitt to address their students or a Columbia invite a guy like Cal Thomas. (Forget the Robertsons, Coulters and Limbaughs, they are not interested in conversation).  Another great example is that I loved seeing Don Miller pray at the Democratic National Convention and I pray one day he will allowed back into one of our churches ;-) A negative example is the reaction that Relevant Magazine editor, Cameron Strang, received when he was scheduled to pray at the DNC. Listen, we do not even need to exchange honorary doctorates (honestly, I’m not sure I even understand the point of that) but simply begin by dialoguing with one another – with honor and class.

If we are truly interested in some progress, solving problems like reducing the number of abortions performed, we need to start channeling our energy into working together as opposed to hating and trying to destroy each other. We can begin by welcoming Obama to Notre Dame.

Reflecting on Colson's comments regarding Obama, abortion and postmodernism

Chuck Colson wrote on his breakpoint post yesterday (No God Condones What) that the breakdown of today’s society is based on postmodernism:


At the National Prayer Breakfast last week, President Obama seemed to signal that he has seen the light and is abandoning his radically pro-abortion agenda. At least, that’s the only reasonable conclusion one could make after hearing the President, who says he’s a Christian, also say: “There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know.”


So I could only surmise that the President now concludes that “no God” would condone the 1.6 million abortions performed each year in America—1.6 million innocent lives destroyed.  But I’ve checked the White House website, and it’s very clear that God’s disapproval hasn’t changed the administration’s agenda one bit.


Here’s what the White House website says: “President Obama understands that abortion is a divisive issue, and respects those who disagree with him. However, he has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women’s rights under Roe v. Wade a priority in his Administration.”


Well, in one way I’m glad I wasn’t at the breakfast this year—I was speaking instead at Moody—because I’m not sure I would have been able to stay in my seat.


How can a President of the United States say that “there is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being,” when he himself favors a woman’s right to have an abortion under virtually every circumstance? How can he say that, when, as an Illinois state senator, he voted against the Illinois Induced Infant Liability Act, which would have protected the lives of babies who survived late-term abortions? When he even had the audacity to describe the act as “One more burden on a woman . . . I can’t support.”


President Obama is a highly intelligent man with a huge job on his hands. I know what the White House is like, and I pray for him fervently every day. But how does such an intelligent man make a statement like this without understanding its implications for his own pro-abortion policies?


The only way to explain it is to understand the intellectual environment, called postmodernism, in which President Obama and his peers have been raised. Generations of Americans have now been taught that truth is subjective. You have your truth, I have mine. And, even worse, I can’t “inflict” my version of truth on you. The law of non-contradiction has been suspended.


So politicians can tell us over and over that they can’t allow their personal faith to affect their views on public policy. Or they can take two completely opposing positions at the same time: like believing that no God condones the taking of innocent life and at the same time, condoning—even promoting—the taking of an innocent life.


The problem isn’t simply President Obama and his views on life; the problem is a postmodern culture which believes that truth is merely a matter of opinion, and that therefore the sanctity of innocent human life is simply an expression of one viewpoint among many.


I have argued for the last 20 years that postmodernism would lead to the unraveling or our society. The fact that so few noticed the contradiction in what the President said and the policies he pursues tells me that we’re far along in the unraveling process.”



Now first, there is a lot I appreciate about Chuck Colson but it’s these statements that frustrate me because I do not find them to be fair.  Call it whatever you want, but the modern evangelical culture, or the infamous 1950’s or the “Good Ol’ Days” were not the days of the Garden of Eden. 

Second, I am not an Obama fan-boy (but I will support the president).  My convictions are pro-life but I do not want to villianize every person who either believes in pro-choice or has had an abortion.  And while I wish everyone would be pro-life, I think these typical statements made by Colson have failed as a starting point and only serve to rally like-minded individuals. At the same time, I wish those that are pro-choice but also hate abortion would at the very least, participate in pursuing ways to limit the number of abortions.  

Colson is a brilliant, well-educated righteous man.  I do not presume nor dare to correct such a godly man, but with all due respect, postmodernism is not the problem, the selfishness of the human condition is .. and this is not new. 

This is part of the problem with how we as conservative believers engage the world.  It seems to me that we refuse to actually engage the world.  It’s like we’re saying, “We’ll play basketball with you, but we’re not going to acknowledge this 3 point line thing, or this shot clock thing because we used to not have it and we liked the game better then.” 

Yes I know this analogy is not sensitive to the complexities of culture but if we are serious about engaging others, we need to do more then point the finger.  I’m not going to make it another four years if all I am getting from my conservative leaders is negative sound-bytes and pessimistic daily readings.   

My input is that we need to get realistic of how “good” days of old were.  Second, then, we should forget about them (because they are not a standard of entitlement).  Third, engage the culture we are in Christ-like ways.  Fourth, learn to handle the disappointments in Christ-like ways (I could use some extra grace on this one) and lastly, be believers who are committed in pursuing the Kingdom over personal preference or agenda.

A Visual Apologetic for Life: In the Womb

by Mark Early
January 22, 2007

“When Michelangelo carved the beauty of the human form in marble, he knew that true art is “but a shadow of the divine perfection.” As true art shadows God, so too, the beauty and complexity of the human form is an unrivaled masterpiece that proclaims its Creator. A new DVD and accompanying book from National Geographic called In the Womb highlight this masterpiece of life in its earliest stages. Despite National Geographic’s evolutionary language, these images are one of the best visual apologetics for the Creator and for choosing life that we have seen in a long time.

Today, thirty-four years after Roe v. Wade, we can see into the womb with detail that was unimaginable in 1973. Now, 3-D and 4-D scans—scans that literally piece together images to show a baby in motion in the womb—have brought the miracle of life into new focus. In the Womb author, Peter Tallack, calls this new technology the medical equivalent of the Hubble Space Telescope. And the images it zooms in on during the odyssey of pregnancy may change the minds of women contemplating abortion and ordinary men and women who have not reflected deeply on abortion’s horrors.

Statistics tell us that 88 percent of clinical abortions happen before the twelfth week of pregnancy. In the Womb shows us a heart cell jolting to life on day twenty-two, arm buds developing in week four, glassy eyes forming in week six, taste buds, purposeful movement, and separate digits on hands and feet by week eight.”

(Full article linked to title)

Watch the preview here