The Liberty University Fiasco
“It will be remembered as the night the jack-booted Neo-Con Jerry Falwell Jr stomped the Resistance.” ~Anonymous
Well, after hours of waiting, we finally have a response from Liberty University about its decision to welcome Mitt Romney and to silence Orthodoxy, even among its own disenfranchised tuition-paying students. It’s pretty obvious whom the school favors. I did not do the legwork and do not want to take credit for someone else’s work. The article comes from CNN: “Liberty University responds to Romney controversy, angers online students,” by Dan Merica and Laura Bernardini.
After Liberty announced that Romney would speak at this year’s commencement, thousands of persons commented on Liberty’s Facebook (FB) page. Some were supportive, many were not. Angry students vented. I am not on FB, so I did not participate, and I did not read the discussion. That Liberty would be so cold-hearted, callous, and closed-minded about an event so stark shows not cowardice but the Administration’s harsh totalitarian, despotic grip on the school—and the church too probably. And, as of right now, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the nation’s largest Evangelical denomination, with which Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University are affiliated, has not been forthcoming about its stance on this issue either.
Aside from my blogs and Twitter, I have not spoken with anyone about this; but if you think you can reason with despots like Falwell and company, good luck. You don’t reason with people like that. You do your talking with your feet: walk away.
Falwell removed the announcement and all comments from its FB page, which, of course, chilled the conversation. “Complaints died down.” In an effort to parry the size of the discussion and the protest, Falwell marginalized protesting students at Liberty as “either strong supporters of other candidates who were seeking the Republican nomination”—viz, it was simply politics. You missed the point altogether, Falwell—it was simply religion! “Or they were online students who were not as familiar with Liberty University’s traditions.” Perhaps he meant Liberty University’s controlled environment. If students were not on campus, they wouldn’t know how little liberty there actually was.
One student commented that Liberty’s handling of the situation had altered her thinking of the school. And well it should. It’s a real eye-opener, isn’t it?
“Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.” ~Potter Stewart
Johnnie Moore, one of Liberty’s yes men, said the FB comments were getting out of hand because outsiders, nonstudents, were getting into the conversation and “violated our policy”; viz, strict totalitarianism. In other words, feedback was to be monitored by staff who knew the “policy.”
Hitting on online students was unfair, because all students, on campus or online, had a required course in apologetics, which defined Mormonism as a cult. Further, the SBC listed Mormons as a cult. Online students also marched in cap and gown: it was their commencement too. More relevant is the fact that since online students are not on campus, the only way they have to discuss anything is—duh!—online!
But truth will out. The CNN article pointed out that Romney’s selection was to “test the relationship between Mormons and Evangelicals.” Political bundits were worried about the Evangelical response to Mormon Romney. Naturally, Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins thought Romney speech would be “an opportunity.” Well, that’s old news: we’d already figured that out. See my earlier blogs on Mormonism and the Liberty University fiasco. The students weren’t fooled. They knew it was all about politics. One student even commented, “They’re all in bed together,” meaning Falwell, Perkins, DeMoss, and Romney.
“Politics makes strange bedfellows.” ~Charles Dudley Warner
Copyright © 2012 Alexandra Lee