Liberty University

Trump Camp Says 'Get Even' is a Perfectly Christian Message

Yesterday we noted that Donald Trump recently spoke at Liberty University where he delivered a rather unique message to a gathering of thousands of Christian students: "Get even!" 

Sensing that perhaps 'seek revenge' was not exactly central to the message that Jesus preached, ABC News reached out to the Trump camp seeking comment and were told that Trump's message was perfectly Christian because Jesus himself "would and did" get even ... and even Liberty U agrees:

In a statement, Trump’s special counsel, Michael Cohen, said he checked with a university official on the appropriateness of Trump’s comment.

The verdict? “Jesus would ‘get even.’”

“The biased liberal media continues to distort the success of Mr. Trump’s speech at Liberty University to more than 10,000 students. Most recently they question his advice to the student body ‘to get even’ and call the statement anti-Christian. Wrong!” Michael Cohen said in a statement to ABC News. ” I conferred with Johnnie Moore at Liberty University and questioned whether Jesus would ‘get even.’ The answer is ‘he would & he did.’ Johnny explained that the bible is filled with stories of God getting even with his enemies, Jesus got even with the Pharisees and Christians believe that Jesus even got even with Satan by rising from the dead. God is portrayed as giving grace, but he is also portrayed as one tough character — just as Trump stated.”

Trump Delivers His Uniquely Christian Message to Liberty U

For some truly inexplicable reason, Donald Trump was invited to be the Convocation speaker at Liberty University yesterday where he delivered a typically self-aggrandizing and buffoonish message that superficially about the importance of God and his Christian but was really about self-promotion and the importance of always getting even with your enemies.

At one point, Trump weighed in on the subject of the Middle East as he declared that any president "with some brain power" would have agreed to help the rebels in Libya only after getting them to agree to give the United States fifty percent of the nation's oil. In fact that same policy should has applied toward Iraq as well, Trump said, since the US was also entitled to that nation's oil because "to the victor belong the spoils." Yet despite the fact that we go in and "decimate a country," Trump said, we leave with nothing, prompting him to declare that "the way this country is being run is horrible": 

Then after another twenty minutes or so of incoherent self-absorbed rambling, Trump finally got around to delivering his uniquely Christian message to the students at Liberty University: "Don't let people take advantage; get even!" 

Mat Staver Says Attorney in Lisa Miller Kidnapping Case 'Ought to be Sanctioned'

Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, whose firm represented “ex-gay” Lisa Miller who is now wanted for kidnapping, says the attorney representing Miller’s former partner Janet Jenkins “ought to be sanctioned” for filing a RICO lawsuit against Liberty University Law School, where Staver is the dean. Just before the lawsuit was filed against Liberty and other parties implicated in the kidnapping case, a Mennonite pastor was convicted for aiding Miller in kidnapping her daughter Isabella in order to avoid an impending court order to hand over custody to Jenkins.

Ironically, Staver’s law school reportedly teaches students to break the law when representing a client in Miller’s situation, and more information has emerged linking the law school to Miller’s disappearance.

In an interview with the conservative website LifeSiteNews.com, Staver denounced the RICO lawsuit as “outrageously frivolous,” “defamatory” and “sanctionable.”

A lawsuit filed by a homosexual against Liberty University School of Law and various other organizations and individuals for “conspiracy” and “racketeering” is based on lies and is defamatory, according to law school dean Mathew Staver, who says that he will “pursue every recourse” against the plaintiffs for having filed it.

Staver also says that the suit is an attempt to undermine the freedom of speech of pro-family groups in their opposition to homosexual behavior and homosexual parenting.

“This is outrageously frivolous,” Staver told LifeSiteNews.com. “It’s a press release filed in federal court. It is sanctionable, and we will pursue every recourse possible because this suit is defamatory. It’s filled with lies, it’s frivolous, and the attorney who filed it ought to be sanctioned…”

The suit, filed on behalf of Vermont lesbian Janet Jenkins, claims that Liberty University School of Law, Thomas Road Baptist Church, Christian Aid Ministries, and other organizations and individuals are involved in various schemes of “conspiracy” and “racketeering” for allegedly offering support for ex-lesbian Lisa Miller’s and her daughter’s escape from the United States in 2009.

Staver: Barton's Book is Required Reading for all Liberty University Law Students

As the controversy over David Barton's shoddy scholarship has roiled for the last several weeks, Mat Staver, dean of the Liberty University Law School, has been one of Barton's most ardent defenders, declaring that he "would put [his] money on David Barton any day" and even proclaiming that he'd be willing to put Barton up "against any historian and would have no question who would win in a debate."

So it was no surprise that Staver was the guest on "WallBuilders Live" today where he spent most of the time attacking one of Barton's main critic Warren Throckmorton, for not being a historian.  Of course, Barton is not a historian either and neither is Staver, for that matter.

But Staver did make an interesting revelation on the program when he explained that Barton's book "Original Intent" is required reading for every law student at Liberty Law School:

We actually use his book "Original Intent" in one of our law school classes. We have a lot of different resources and certainly one of those resources regarding original intent and the Founder's vision and views for this country, we use David Barton's book.

...

In "Foundations of Law" at Liberty University School of Law that every first year law school student goes through the first semester, we have David Barton's book as one of the books, and we have excerpts from that and chapters from it that we use. And our law school students read that and we talk about it and we look at the historical issues involving the Founders.

I began using that when I was teaching the course and now our Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Rena Lindevaldsen, uses that. One of our professors, Cynthia Dunbar, she uses that book in that "Foundations of Law" course as well and I know that there's other faculty at Liberty University that also are very much advocates of David Barton's work.

Liberty Law School and Others Hit With RICO Lawsuit Over Lisa Miller Kidnapping

Yesterday Kenneth Miller was convicted of aiding an international parental kidnapping for the role he played in helping Lisa Miller (no relation) flee the country with her daughter rather than abide by a court order transferring custody to her former partner, Janet Jenkins.

But that was not the only interesting development in the case, as Jenkins has now filed a civil RICO lawsuit [PDF] against Kenneth Miller and several others who allegedly played a role in helping Lisa Miller kidnap her daughter and leave the country, including Liberty University Law School and Thomas Road Baptist Church:

 41. Unbeknownst to Plaintiff Janet Jenkins, in 2009 Victoria Zodhiates (now Hyden) was an employee of Response Unlimited, Inc., and also a "student worker" at Liberty University School of Law. On information and belief, Victoria Zodhiates sent an email during this time period to her co-workers at the law school requesting donations for supplies to send to Lisa Miller to enable her to remain outside the country. Lisa Miller's attorney, Matthew Staver was the Dean of the Law School and Ms. Zodhiates's boss. Matthew Staver and Philip Zodhiates were also personal
acquaintances at this time. On September 20, 2009, both Philip Zodhiates and Victoria Hyden called Lisa Miller's father, Terry Miller in Tennessee to assist in arranging her and Isabella's transportation from a Walmart parking lot in Lynchburg, Virginia, to Waynesboro, Virginia, from whence they would depart for Canada and Nicaragua the next day.

42. In early November, 2009, elders of the Thomas Road Baptist Church packed up the personal belongings of Lisa Miller in two bags. These bags were picked up from Lynchburg, Virginia by Philip Zodhiates who arranged to have the bags transported to Nicaragua by sending them with his son's school teacher who was taking some children on a mission trip to Managua. Philip Zodhiates arranged for the teacher, John Collmus, to deliver the bags at the airport to Timothy Miller. The bags also contained some supplies for Lisa Miller, such as peanut butter.

...

47. Lisa Miller's attorneys Mathew Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen also routinely instructed their Law School students that the correct course of action for a person in Lisa Miller's situation would be to engage in "civil disobedience" and defy court orders.

48. Also in 2009, TRBC Head Pastor Jonathan Falwell was among several religious leaders who made a call for "Christian civil disobedience" and published a public declaration, known as The Manhattan Declaration stating that they:

"will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family."

49. Hence, Defendants TRBC and its related ministry Liberty University School of Law encouraged its agents to disregard state laws governing parental rights, particularly Vermont's law giving rights to members of same-sex families. The TRBC and Liberty University School of Law through its public declaration promoted, condoned and explicitly ratified its agent's tortious, racketeering activity. These agents and employees have followed this direction, making TRBC and Liberty University School of Law liable in respondeat superior for the consequences.

...

57. At the trial of Kenneth Miller in August 2012, a number of Lisa Miller's friends and supporters testified, including Defendant Wright, and several members of the PIC. When asked if any of them had met or heard of Philip Zodhiates, the answer was no. At the trial, the government introduced phone records that showed phone calls made from Philip Zodhiates's cell phone between 1:28pm and 1:30pm on September 22, 2009, to a cell phone with an Orlando area code that is registered to Liberty Counsel, a landline registered to Liberty Counsel, and a landline registered to Liberty University School of Law. Mathew Staver, Dean of the Liberty University School of Law, splits his time between Lynchburg, Virginia and Orlando, Florida. At the time that the calls were made, Philip Zodhiates was still en route back to Virginia after depositing Lisa Miller and Isabella near the Canadian border.

58. Lisa Miller's attorneys, Matthew Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen have at all times maintained that they did not know their client's location to various courts in Vermont (including in sworn testimony of Rena Lindevaldsen) and Virginia, and to the press that she simply stopped communicating with them and disappeared.

59. Meanwhile, Matthew Staver's acquaintance, Philip Zodhiates, and his daughter Victoria, an assistant in the Law School knew of Lisa Miller's whereabouts and solicited donations from other Law School employees for her aid. Upon information and belief, other law school employees who spoke to Victoria about Lisa Miller's whereabouts were too intimidated to come forward to law enforcement for fear of angering Dean Staver and losing their jobs. During the time that Lisa and Isabella were missing, Dean Staver fired several members of the admissions and financial aid department who were under his supervision. To this day, Victoria Hyden is still an employee of the law school, even though her tortious conduct involving Isabella Miller-Jenkins has been in public court records for over a year. Also, while Lisa Miller and Isabella were missing, Lisa Miller's attorneys continued to press appeals on Lisa Miller's behalf until the last appeals were exhausted in November 2010 (more than a year after she was missing), stating that they had advance instructions from Lisa Miller as to her wishes for the ongoing litigation.

...

62. Based on the foregoing, all of the Defendants named herein, in both their individual capacities and as agents of TRBC, Liberty University Law School, Response Unlimited, Inc., and CAM are liable for conspiring with Lisa Miller and with each other to kidnap Isabella Miller-Jenkins, assure her continued detention outside the State of Vermont, and for conspiring with Kenneth Miller to participate in the affairs of the Beachy Amish-Mennonite Brotherhood through a pattern of racketeering activity .. Defendants are also liable for conspiring to violate Janet Jenkins' and Isabella Miller-Jenkins' rights to a parent-child relationship on account oflsabella having two mothers instead of a mother and a father, and Defendant Wright is liable under 42 U.S.C. 1986 for failing to prevent the violation of Plaintiffs' civil rights.

NPR Looks Into David Barton's Bunk History, Refusal to Respond to Criticism

NPR’s Barbara Bradley Hagerty profiled David Barton yesterday on “All Things Considered,” and in the devastating profile debunked many of the claims made by the right-wing pseudo-historian. Messiah College professor John Fea pointed out in the story that Barton, who will be a “a Texas representative to the GOP Platform Committee” at the upcoming Republican National Convention,” is a political activist who tries to present himself as a historian: “He’s in this for activism. He's in this for policy. He’s in this to make changes to our culture.”

In typical Barton fashion, he said any of his critics only “come after me” because “they disagree with me, and my religious faith, and my view on America.” Of course, Fea and other Barton critics quoted in the story, Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton and Rev. Ray McMillian of Cincinnati’s Oasis Church, are evangelical Christians. But since Barton can’t defend his own discredited “research,” he simply plays the victim and says he is being attacked for his patriotism and Christian beliefs.

Liberty University Law School dean Mat Staver, who made Barton required reading for his students, said he “would put him against any historian and would have no question who would win in a debate.”

Of course, Hagerty notes, Barton “has a policy of not debating anyone.”

Right Wing Watch readers will be familiar with many of Barton’s claims presented in the piece, including his assertion that the Constitution quotes the Bible “verbatim”:

“We looked up every citation Barton said was from the Bible, but not one of them checked out,” Hagerty writes.

Or that the Founders “already had the entire debate on creation-evolution,” long before Charles Darwin was born:

NPR also covered Barton’s belief that he will influence the minds of America’s future leaders through his work shaping in the Texas textbooks, “it’s in the pipe coming down”:

That is also the dream of Mike Huckabee, who wished that “all Americans will be forced, forced — at gunpoint, no less — to listen to every David Barton message”:

The New York Times Sheds New Light on the Lisa Miller Kidnapping Case

New York Times reporter Erik Eckholm has a big front-page story in Sunday’s paper on a case that readers of RWW are familiar with: the disappearance of Lisa Miller. Eckholm traveled to Nicaragua to talk with the Mennonite communities that have helped harbor Miller and her daughter Isabella on their flight from United States law enforcement and from Isabella’s other legal parent, Miller’s former partner Janet Jenkins of Vermont. Miller, who kidnapped her daughter rather than allow her to have visitation rights with Jenkins, has become a cause celebre among the Religious Right, a supposed victim of anti-Christian persecution.

Eckholm supplies us with an illuminating and creepy anecdote about a family of hamsters left to die in Miller’s abandoned house, and casts some light on the thinking of those who helped harbor Miller in Nicaragua. But there’s one important piece of the puzzle that remains a mystery: did Miller’s attorneys at Liberty University have anything to do with Miller’s disappearance? LU Law School dean Mat Staver tells Eckholm that he was surprised as anyone when Miller disappeared, as he has since it first became known.

But Liberty University’s relationship with Miller has always been a little complicated. Rena Lindevaldsen, an LU Law School dean and Miller’s attorney before she disappeared, has now written a book arguing Miller’s case. And even before Miller kidnapped with Isabella, Lindevaldsen and Staver were teaching Miller’s case as an example of a situation where the demands of “God’s law” trump those of “man’s law.” Religion Dispatches’ Sarah Posner talked with several students who had taken a required class from the two deans and got her hands on a copy of an exam that quizzed students on what to do in Lisa Miller’s situation:

Students at Liberty Law School tell RD that in the required Foundations of Law class in the fall of 2008, taught by Miller’s attorneys Mat Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen, they were repeatedly instructed that when faced with a conflict between “God’s law” and “man’s law,” they should resolve that conflict through “civil disobedience.” One student said, “the idea was when you are confronted with a particular situation, for instance, if you have a court order against you that is in violation of what you see as God’s law, essentially... civil disobedience was the answer.

This student and two others, who all requested anonymity for fear of reprisal by Staver (who is also the law school’s dean), recounted the classroom discussion of civil disobedience, as well as efforts to draw comparisons between choosing “God’s law” over “man’s law” to the American revolution and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. According to one student, in the Foundations course both Staver and Lindevaldsen “espoused the opinion that in situations where God’s law is in direct contradiction to man’s law, we have an obligation to disobey it.”
...
That semester’s mid-term exam, obtained by RD [see excerpts of the actual exam here], included a question based on Miller’s case asking students to describe what advice they would give her “as a friend who is a Christian lawyer.” After laying out a slanted history of the protracted legal battle, the exam asked, “Lisa needs your counsel on how to think through her legal situation and how to respond as a Christian to this difficult problem. Relying only on what we have learned thus far in class, how would you counsel Lisa?”

Students who wrote that Miller should comply with court orders received bad grades while those who wrote she should engage in civil disobedience received an A, the three students said. “People were appalled,” said one of the students, adding, “especially as lawyers to be, who are trained and licensed to practice the law—to disobey that law, that seemed completely counterintuitive to all of us.”

Still, some knew what they needed to “regurgitate,” in order to get a good grade. “It was obvious by the substance of the class during the semester the answer that they wanted,” said one of the students. “The majority of people that I am acquainted with who did get As wrote that because that was expected of them.”

One of the students who got an A said, “I told them she needed to engage in civil disobedience and seriously consider leaving the country,” adding, “I knew what I needed to write.”

Given what was expected of them on the exam, and the tenor of the class, there is “not a lot of shock among the students about the current developments,” said one of the students, referring to the revelation that Miller is in hiding in Nicaragua. “Everybody semi-suspected that Liberty Counsel had something to do with her disappearance.”


Of course, we have no way of knowing what Liberty Counsel knew and when they knew it. But Posner’s reporting shows that it’s certainly worth looking into.

LaBarbera and Lindevaldsen Say No to Gay Judges, Sad Sally Ride ‘Fell into Lesbianism’

Americans for Truth About Homosexuality’s Peter LaBarbera continued his discussion with Liberty University Law School’s Rena Lindevaldsen on Friday. The two revisited the topic of openly gay judges, specifically the Virginia prosecutor who was rejected from a judgeship simply because he was gay. That discrimination was ok, Lindevaldsen said, because “if you’re engaged in a lifestyle of immorality, whether that be a homosexual lifestyle or an adulterous relationship or fornication, that’s not the type of moral character that I believe should be someone who’s being appointed to become a judge”:

Lindevaldsen: I think we can equate this not only with the judiciary, but the same debate is taking place, you know, who we want to serve as our schoolteachers, for example. We want moral, upstanding individuals to serve as judges, and this debate’s taking place with schoolteachers too. So if you’re engaged in a lifestyle of immorality, whether that be a homosexual lifestyle or an adulterous relationship or fornication, that’s not the type of moral character that I believe should be someone who’s being appointed to become a judge.

I think it goes to fit moral character and I think that the necessary qualification of any judicial appointment. And therefore it is relevant, based on your conduct, to judge and decide whether you should be allowed to sit in the judiciary.

Immediately after Lindevaldsen and LaBarbera made the case that gay judicial nominees should be defined by and excluded for their sexual orientation, they changed the rules when it came to another prominent example of an openly gay person in public life. Lindevaldsen and LaBarbera heaped scorn on gay rights activists who have had the nerve to call the late Sally Ride, who lived for 27 years with her same-sex partner, a gay pioneer. Emphasizing Ride’s sexual orientation, LaBarbera said -- expanding on a tweet from shortly after her death --would be like defining her as an alcoholic if she had a drinking problem:

LaBarbera: They’re always using opportunities to promote what their version of reality on homosexuality. And really quickly, Sally Ride, another great example. Sally Ride was the first female astronaut, the first…and she had many amazing accomplishments. Unfortunately she also fell into lesbianism and left her husband, she was married, she ended up living in a lesbian lifestyle. She was not public about it. Now gay activists, like Michelangelo Signorile, are using her homosexual, you know, the fact that she practiced the homosexual lifestyle, to say, ‘Hey, this is another gay hero.”

Kirkwood: She was a female astronaut, now she’s the ‘lesbian astronaut.’

LaBarbera: Now she’s the lesbian astronaut, and you better believe in textbooks like in California where they’re teaching gay history now, there’s going to be Sally Ride. So people are going to learn Sally Ride as a, and we’re going a bit over here, they’re going to learn Sally Ride, Rena, as a gay hero, even though she wasn’t even public about it in her life.

Lindevaldsen: Yeah, because they need to contort our history to show that we’ve accepted this all along and that it’s perfectly normal, and see you too can do this and become great things. And you can, you can accomplish things, but that’s not who she was, that doesn’t define who she was and what she accomplished.

LaBarbera: And Rena, I tweeted, and I knew this was going to get me in trouble, but I tweeted, ‘Did she have a drinking problem too?’ In my tweet, I said that she made great accomplishments. But she should not be, and I didn’t, of course she doesn’t, I don’t know if she had a drinking problem or not, but my point was the fact that she practiced homosexuality would be about as relevant as saying, ‘Sally Ride, hey people who drink can be great.’ I mean it’s still immoral behavior, it’s very sad to me that she was involved in that lifestyle. The fact that she was in that lifestyle doesn’t take away from the great accomplishments that she had. But the point is gay identity politics now wants to seize her as a hero.

 

Welcome to Liberty University, Now Gives Us Your Blood and Urine Sample

[This is part of a series of posts on Liberty University's student handbook, “The Liberty Way,” which governs what students can say, do, read, and watch – both on and off campus – and sets out a regimen of reprimands and fines for violators

Tests are a big part of college life. That much is true. But at Liberty University, all students since 1988 have been subject to “mandatory random drug testing.”
 
Attendance at Liberty is a “privilege,” as the administration likes to say, and all students must consent to “the clinically supervised furnishing of urine or blood samples at a time and place determined by the University for the purpose of laboratory analysis.” Students are also required to waive all claims, legal or otherwise, arising from the drug testing program.
 
Liberty reserves the right to test any student using any means for any reason and punish students as it sees fit. To be sure, drug abuse is a problem on American campuses, but leave it to Liberty to impose a draconian and incredibly intrusive drug policy that hands administrators the power to arbitrarily test students.
 
Here’s the relevant section of the Liberty Way:
Mandatory Drug Testing Program
In the Fall semester of 1988, the University instituted an on-going program of mandatory random drug testing for students. The purpose of this program is to detect the use of illegal drugs and administer disciplinary action against those students and employees whose way of life is incompatible with the University community and whose example and conduct may be a detriment to the lives of other students and employees. To that extent, Liberty University is committed to using every lawful means at its disposal to preserve the purposes upon which it was founded and continues to exist.
 
Attendance is a privilege. As a private educational institution, Liberty University is free to control the admission and attendance of students. In consideration for the benefit of attending a University where a diligent effort shall be made to detect and remove those involved with illegal drugs, a student hereby agrees to the following:
  • To cooperate fully with Liberty University's drug testing program, including the clinically supervised furnishing of urine or blood samples at a time and place determined by the University for the purpose of laboratory analysis.
  • To participate in this drug-testing program, which permits the University to test any student, irrespective of the method by which, that student was selected. Student selection will be accomplished both on a random basis and on the basis of suspected use and/or drug possession as defined in the drug testing procedure manual.
  • That failure to cooperate with the University's drug testing program will result in disciplinary action against a student, including the possibility of administrative withdrawal from the University.
  • That failure to achieve a negative drug test (i.e., the absence of illegal drugs) will result in disciplinary action against a student, including the possibility of administrative withdrawal from the University. In assessing disciplinary action, the University shall have discretion to impose a wide range of sanctions other than administrative withdrawal, including but not limited to, drug counseling and periodic drug testing. […]
  • To waive all claims one might have against Liberty University or its employees as to any threatened or actual damage to reputation, privacy, mental/emotional condition resulting from the administration of the drug tests, the processing of the drug tests or the enforcement of the University's disciplinary or academic penalties.
  • To waive all legal claims of any nature, such as those claims one might have against Liberty University or its employees, arising out of drug testing.
  • To consent to the drug-testing program of Liberty University is a part of the overall contract between the student and Liberty University. Any attempt to alter, amend or avoid this agreement may result in disciplinary action, including the possibility of administrative withdrawal from the University.
  • To agree that any disciplinary action against a student could also involve academic penalties, including the possibility of loss of credit from work completed during the semester in which the disciplinary action is taken. […]

 

The Religious Right Nanny State, on View at Liberty University

[This is part of a series of posts on Liberty University's student handbook, “The Liberty Way,” which governs what students can say, do, read, and watch – both on and off campus – and sets out a regimen of reprimands and fines for violators

The Right Wing loves to talk about how liberals supposedly want government to interfere with every aspect of Americans’ lives. That’s why it’s amusing, but not surprising, that Jerry Falwell has seemingly created a university that interferes with literally every aspects of its students’ lives.
 
Students from Arizona – the “show me your ID” state – will feel right at home. Liberty requires that all students carry their ID cards at all times and produce them upon request:
Identification Cards
When new students/faculty/staff arrive at Liberty University, they are photographed and sent a LibertyOne Card. […]
 
The LibertyOne Card must be carried at all times and produced when requested by University personnel. This should be done in a timely and courteous manner. LibertyOne Card holders are subject to disciplinary action for the misuse of any identification card.
A typical college doesn’t track your whereabouts or punish you for not making your bed. Liberty is different:
Students desiring to leave earlier than the scheduled breaks must obtain written permission.
 
Out of the Residence Hall Overnight
Any time a resident student plans to be out of the residence hall overnight, it is imperative that he/she sign out on the overnight sign-out sheet.
 
Room Checks
Residence hall rooms are to be kept neat and clean at all times. The following will be checked on a regular basis:
  • Bed must be made
  • Carpet must be vacuumed
  • Trash must be emptied
  • Sink and mirror must be clean
  • Dresser tops and other stands dusted and in order
  • All personal belongings organized and in place
Students living off campus are not only expected to follow the same rigid guidelines, but they could also be subject to spot checks from Liberty personnel:
Liberty University expects its commuters to live above reproach in their private residences, as well as in the local community. In matters such as prompt payment of debt and relations with the community as a whole, the University exhorts that commuters, single and married, maintain exemplary conduct. […] (University personnel may periodically visit the private residence of off campus students to assist in resolving off campus problems and to ensure compliance to University regulations.)
The Liberty Way is always in effect. You can’t get away from it – not even on summer break:
Liberty University regulations and policies are in effect at all times, including semester breaks and summer.
 
Vacation/Breaks
All students are expected to uphold the standards set by the University whether on or off campus. This includes weekends, all fall, spring, summer, and Christmas breaks. Any behavior considered a dismissal offense, as stated in The Liberty Way handbook, which occurs during these times, may jeopardize a person's status as a student.
Liberty also wants to be involved in your personal life and work life. They will prevent you from working for any entity that violates the policies and principles of the school and really think you should get your parents’ permission before you get married. And if you do get married, you can forget about living on campus:
Marriage
Students under the age of 21 are encouraged to obtain permission from parents before getting married. Premarital counseling is available and may be arranged by contacting any Student Development office or the Spiritual Life Office. Married students are not permitted to live in the residence halls.
 
Student Employment
In maintaining a reputation in the marketplace consistent with the philosophy of Liberty University, employment will not be permitted where a student (as a major, active part of his/her job) is required to violate the policies and principles of the University. Any questions regarding employment at Liberty University or within the community may be directed to any Student Affairs Dean.
The school also administers “Alco-Sensor” tests and mandatory, random drug tests. Failure to consent to testing is a major violation of the Liberty Way. More on that shortly.
 

 

Liberty University’s Guide to Female Modesty

[This is part of a series of posts on Liberty University's student handbook, “The Liberty Way,” which governs what students can say, do, read, and watch – both on and off campus – and sets out a regimen of reprimands and fines for violators]
 
Liberty students are “expected to dress modestly at all times,” and the Liberty Way sets out guidelines for both men and women. However, in the long tradition of religious conservatives the world over, most of the focus is on women – and covering up their sinful bodies.
 
This screenshot from the Liberty website circa 2005 shows an example of how female students should dress:
 
The Liberty Way explains that the university “has established a standard of dress for the University community, which is conducive to a Christ-like environment. Cleanliness, neatness, appropriateness and modesty are important as guiding factors.” The women’s dress code includes, among others, the following restrictions and stipulations:
  • “Hair and clothing styles related to counterculture (as determined by the Deans' Review Committee) are not acceptable.”
  • “Swimwear is only appropriate at the swimming pool. Students are to wear appropriate casual or sport attire (as stated in ‘The Liberty Way’) going to and from the pool. Women are required to wear a one-piece suit that is in good taste. Swimsuits that are see-through/mesh, expose the midriff and/or are low in the front or back or cut high on the legs are not acceptable.”
  • “Dresses and skirts should be no shorter than the top of the knee (sitting or standing). Skirt slits should be modest; open slits should be no higher than the top of the knee, closed slits should be no higher than two inches from the top of the knee. Shoulder straps should be no less than two inches wide. Anything tight, scant, backless, see-through, low in the neckline or revealing the midriff (in any position) is immodest and unacceptable.”
  • “Body piercing is not permitted. Earrings and plugs are permitted in ears only.”
  • “Students are expected to dress modestly for the Junior/Senior Banquet & the Minority Student Achievement Awards Banquet, as well as all formal events. Anything tight, scant, backless, see-through, low in the neckline or revealing the midriff is immodest and unacceptable. Slits should be no higher than the top of the knee. Strapless or spaghetti straps are acceptable for this event as long as the above standard is followed”
  • Class Dress: “Dresses, skirts, dress pants, shirts and/or sweaters (no jeans of any color, no overalls, no Capri/cropped pants, no shorts, no sweatshirts, no writing or graphics on shirts except for discreet embroidered logos), dress, casual or tennis shoes (no flip-flops of any style)”

Students are warded that “RA’s, RD’s, Deans and others will enforce dress code and educate all students regarding what is acceptable and what is not.” Back in 2004, and perhaps more recently, the administration made a helpful presentation on female modesty. Here are some highlights:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Witchcraft and Abortion on Par with Sexual Assault and Felony Conviction at Liberty University

[This is part of a series of posts on Liberty University's student handbook, “The Liberty Way,” which governs what students can say, do, read, and watch – both on and off campus – and sets out a regimen of reprimands and fines for violators]
 
The Liberty Way provides a fascinating look into the mindset of Jerry Falwell and the contemporary Religious Right. The “Reprimands and Consequences” section of the handbook sets out seven levels of violations, and you can learn a great deal from what they prohibit and how they rank the various transgressions.
 
Violating curfew brings one reprimand, gambling brings six, and watching an R-rated movie brings 12 plus a $50 fine. Sexual harassment and entering the dorm of members of the opposite sex results in 18 reprimands, a $250 fine and 18 hours of disciplinary community service.
 
The harshest punishment (30 reprimands, a $500 fine, 30 hours of disciplinary community service, and possible administrative withdrawal) is reserved for the really, really bad things. And by really, really bad things, I mean witchcraft, spending the night with a member of the opposite sex, drinking (even if you’re 21+) or having an abortion. These things are considered on par with sexual assault and a felony conviction and bring a harsher punishment than sexual or racial harassment:
30 Reprimands + $500.00 Fine + 30 hours Disciplinary Community Service + possible Administrative Withdrawal.  NOTE: For each accumulation of six (6) or more reprimands after 30, an additional $150 fine will be assessed.
  • Abortion
  • Assault/sexual assault (minimum two (2) semesters out)
  • Commission/conviction of any felony
  • Failure of three (3) Christian/Community Services without reconciliation
  • Illegal drugs-association/possession, use/distribution (minimum two semesters out)
  • Involvement with witchcraft, séances or other satanic or demonic activity
  • Life-threatening behavior or language to others or oneself (immediate removal/exclusion from campus and a minimum of two semesters out)
  • Non-participation/disruption/non-compliance (possible removal/exclusion from campus)
  • Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Spending the night with a person of the opposite sex
  • Stealing or possession of stolen property (plus financial restitution; minimum two semesters out)
  • Two or more individuals of the opposite sex together in motel room
  • Unauthorized possession/use of weapons
Liberty doesn’t even bother prohibiting same-sex heavy petting because no one at Liberty is gay (it’s the higher ed equivalent of Iran, which also has no gay people). A quick visit to Craigslist Lynchburg suggests otherwise, but that’s a different story.

 

No Dancing or Kissing at Liberty University

[This is part of a series of posts on Liberty University's student handbook, “The Liberty Way,” which governs what students can say, do, read, and watch – both on and off campus – and sets out a regimen of reprimands and fines for violators]

At Liberty University, college students are free to be college students. That means no dancing, no drinking, no kissing, and don’t even think about carousing in the ravine or renting a motel room! Handholding is the “only appropriate form of personal contact,” and students are not to be alone after dusk with an “individual of the opposite sex in any unlighted area,” like the ravine.
 
Here’s the relevant portion of the Liberty Way:
Respect While Dating/Social Behavior
All students are asked to display mature Christian behavior in social interaction. Proper respect must be shown to all individuals at all times. Harassment of any type will not be tolerated. Handholding is the only appropriate form of personal contact. Improper personal contact or other forms of public display are considered in poor taste. After dusk, students should not be alone with an individual of the opposite sex in any unlighted area such as the ball fields, parking lots, parked cars, ravine or other wooded areas, etc. This is considered improper social behavior.
 
Restricted Areas on Campus
A student may not be alone with an individual of the opposite sex in the academic classrooms or offices. Students may not enter the residence halls of the opposite sex. After dusk, a student may not be alone with an individual of the opposite sex in any unlighted area, such as the ball fields, the ravine, parking lots, parked cars, etc.
The Liberty Way sets out a regimen of fines and reprimands for, among many other things, attending a dance, drinking, entering a residence hall for members of the opposite sex, and so on. Here are some highlights, including “Two or more individuals of the opposite sex together in motel room”:
6 Reprimands + $25.00 Fine
  • Attendance at a dance
  • Entering entryway of opposite sex on campus or allowing the same
  • Possession and/or use of tobacco
12 Reprimands + $50.00 Fine
  • Entering the residence hallway of the opposite sex or allowing the same
  • Students of the opposite sex visiting alone at an off-campus residence
30 Reprimands + $500.00 Fine + 30 hours Disciplinary Community Service + possible Administrative Withdrawal.  NOTE: For each accumulation of six (6) or more reprimands after 30, an additional $150 fine will be assessed.
  • Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Refusal to submit to an Alco-Sensor test and/or drug test
  • Spending the night with a person of the opposite sex
  • Two or more individuals of the opposite sex together in motel room

 

Will Romney Denounce Liberty University's 'Poisonous Language'?

As Josh noted in the previous post, Mitt Romney will be delivering the commencement address tomorrow at Liberty University, the ultra-fundamentalist university founded by the late Jerry Falwell.  But what many people may not realize is that Liberty U is also the home of some of the most militant anti-gay activists operating today, who are on staff at Liberty U while simultaneously working for the affiliated Liberty Counsel.

In fact, the two are so intertwined that Mat Staver serves as both Dean of the Liberty U Law School and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, while Rena Lindevaldsen, LU's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Matt Barber, LU's Associate Dean for Career and Professional Development, Shawn Akers, Dean of LU's Helms School of Government, and Deryl Edwards, LU's Director of Institutional Advancement, all hold positions with Liberty Counsel as well.

For years, Liberty Counsel has been at the center of a custody case involving Lisa Miller, an "ex-gay" woman who kidnapped her daughter and fled the country rather than abide by court-ordered custody arrangements with her former partner.  Rena Lindevaldsen was Miller's attorney and even wrote a book about the saga while Liberty Counsel continues to insist that it has no knowledge of Miller's whereabouts, despite the fact that she was reportedly living at a home in Nicaragua owned by the father of an administrative assistant working for Staver at Liberty U Law School. Furthermore, Liberty U also taught a class based on the Miller case in which students were reportedly instructed that the "right" thing for a lawyer to do in a case such as this would be to counsel their client that they have an obligation to ignore the law and court orders and instead engage in "civil disobedience" in order to uphold God's law.

While Staver may be the head of Liberty Counsel with a penchant for issuing warnings that President Obama seeks to become a global dictator, his rhetoric pales in comparison to Matt Baber who, in addition to serving as an instructor at Liberty U's Law School, also happens to be one of the most viciously anti-gay bigots operating today, as demonstrated by his view that homosexuality is nothing more than “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love.’”

Just in recent months, Barber has said that marriage equality mocks God and desecrates the Church, declared that the Defense of Marriage Act is necessary to prevent children from becoming gay and getting AIDS, said that gay teens commit suicide because they "know that what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong, [and] immoral," proclaimed gay adoption to be "tragic," "unconscionable," and "reprehensible," and warned that gay activists are seeking to poison the minds of children and are "running interference for the pedophile movement."

But it is not just gays whom Barber attacks on a regular basis, but liberals in general, whom he claims are driven by a hatred of God and are working with radical Islamists to destroy Christianity. He has said that the Obama administration's contraception mandate was no different than being forced to kill your family and that those who support reproductive choice are literally no different than the Nazis.  In fact, Barber thinks the Left in general are nothing but a bunch of bullies who just need to be punched in the mouth.

Last year, when Romney spoke at the Values Voter Summit, he publicly called out the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer for his bigotry and declared that "poisonous language does not advance our cause."  

Will Romney have the courage this weekend to likewise take a stand against the "poisonous language" and bigotry regularly displayed by the staff at Liberty University/Liberty Counsel? 

We won't hold our breaths.

No R-Rated Movies, Un-Godly Music, or Immodest Posters at Liberty University

[This is part of a series of posts on Liberty University's student handbook, “The Liberty Way,” which governs what students can say, do, read, and watch – both on and off campus – and sets out a regimen of reprimands and fines for violators]
 
Liberty University administrators allow students to attend movie theaters, but they must exercise caution in such a morally hazardous environment. R-rated films are strictly off-limits, and many PG-13 and even some PG films may also be deemed inappropriate for viewing by Liberty students. Students are similarly restricted from listening to music that is not “in harmony with God’s word.”
 
Here’s the relevant section from the Liberty Way:
Entertainment
Liberty University encourages students to abstain from any form of entertainment that would compromise their testimony to the world and their relationship to God.
 
Movies
Liberty University has always attempted to maintain a conservative standard in its approach to the arts and entertainment. Current policy for movie viewing allows for attendance at theaters but prohibits viewing of movies rated "R", "NC-17" or "X". The penalty for viewing such movies is a reprimandable offense. It should be remembered that in no way is Liberty University endorsing the movie industry's rating system as appropriate or Christ-honoring. In addition, the Division of Student Affairs will continue teaching guidelines and principles to students related to all forms of entertainment. This would mean that many "PG-13" and some "PG" movies, although not prohibited by policy, may also be inappropriate.

Music
Philosophy, tastes and personal convictions concerning music vary greatly among our students. Liberty University endeavors to teach discernment in evaluating and selecting all music. It is Liberty's desire to maintain a music standard that is conducive to a healthy Christian atmosphere. Students should learn to choose music that honors the Savior and is in harmony with God's word. Music that is offensive (i.e., lewd lyrics, anti-Christian messages, etc.) to Liberty's Christian stand is not permitted.
Violations of these policies are punished accordingly:
12 Reprimands + $50.00 Fine
  • Attendance at, possession or viewing of, an “R”, “NC-17” or “X”-rated movie
  • Possession and/or viewing of sexually explicit material
4 Reprimands
(Fine is waived for the first offense; each subsequent offense is $10.00)
  • Music code violation
Liberty also polices students’ dorm rooms for posters and pictures that violated the school’s entertainment policies or dress code:
Posters and Pictures
All posters and pictures in the residence halls should coincide with the standards and policies of the University, i.e., all posters and pictures should conform to the University's music, movie, dress and conduct standards.
Students are warned that “Resident Directors and Resident Assistants will check rooms on a regular basis to give guidance, answer questions and ensure compliance.” And if you live off campus, you shouldn’t get any ideas. “Liberty University expects its commuters to live above reproach in their private residences,” and “University personnel may periodically visit the private residence of off campus students to assist in resolving off campus problems and to ensure compliance to University regulations.”

 

The First Amendment Doesn’t Apply at Liberty University

[This is part of a series of posts on Liberty University's student handbook, “The Liberty Way,” which governs what students can say, do, read, and watch – both on and off campus – and sets out a regimen of reprimands and fines for violators]

Liberty University is all about freedom – the freedom to do, think and say exactly what Jerry Falwell would want you to do, think and say, and nothing else. Accordingly, students cannot participate in demonstrations, petitioning, picketing, or literature distribution on campus without the express approval of the administration. Students can also be restricted or prohibited from participating in such activities off campus if they are deemed to be in violation of the school’s principles and policies. 

Here’s the relevant section for the Liberty Way:
Demonstrations, Petitions and Picketing
Student participation in on-campus demonstrations, petitions or picketing is prohibited unless approved by Liberty University administration. The administration may also prohibit or restrict student participation in demonstrations, petitions or picketing at places other than on campus, where such participation would contradict or otherwise compromise the principles and policies of Liberty University.
 
Distribution of Literature
Distribution of literature is permitted on campus only when prior administrative approval has been secured from the Student Life Office or University Services. Distribution of literature in the residence halls requires written approval from the Residence Life Office.
Violations of these policies are punished accordingly:
12 Reprimands + $50.00 Fine
  • Participation in an unauthorized petition or demonstration
Liberty administrators also restrict what students are free to read. Last year the school banned students from accessing the local Lyncburg newspaper, the News & Advance, after it reported on the half-billion dollars that the school received in 2010 from the federal government, which runs counter to the school’s anti-government ideology.
 
This is behavior I expect from a Chinese university, not an American one. But that’s the Liberty Way.

 

Liberty Isn't Free at Liberty University – Inside Jerry Falwell U

Mitt Romney will give the commencement address tomorrow at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Liberty, founded in 1971 as the Lynchburg Baptist College, is best known as the pet project of televangelist Jerry Falwell. Falwell created the university as a training ground for successive leaders of the Religious Right, and the curriculum is tightly controlled to advance an uncompromising right-wing outlook. But that’s not all.

The university also has an all-encompassing code of conduct, called “The Liberty Way,” which governs what students can say, do, read, and watch – both on and off campus – and sets out a regimen of reprimands and fines for violators. 

When the university banned a student Democratic club in 2009, the outside world got a taste of student life at Liberty. But to fully grasp the mindset of Liberty administrators, and get a sense of what life would be like in an America run by the Religious Right, you need to look inside the Liberty Way handbook.
 
The handbook was previously made available on the Liberty website, but now it is password-protected and available only to current students:
All students shall agree to comply with the terms of the Liberty Way. The full text is made available to students after they claim their Liberty University account. 
Fortunately we have a copy of the handbook. We’ll be posting highlights throughout the day:

 

Mitt Romney to Liberty University

Delivering the commencement address at Liberty University has become a rite of passage for Republican and conservative leaders such as John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Glenn Beck and Chuck Norris, and today it has been announced that Mitt Romney will deliver the 2012 Commencement address at the school founded by the late Jerry Falwell and currently led by his son, his son, Jerry Falwell, Jr.:

Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. announced today that Gov. Mitt Romney will address Liberty University graduates at the 2012 Commencement ceremony to be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 12, at Arthur L. Williams Stadium.

“We are delighted that Governor Romney will join us to celebrate Commencement with Liberty’s 2012 graduates," said Liberty Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. "This will be a historic event for Liberty University reminiscent of the visits of Governor, and then presidential candidate, Ronald Reagan to Liberty’s campus in 1980 and of President George H.W. Bush who spoke at Liberty’s 1990 Commencement ceremony.”

This will be Governor Romney’s first appearance at Liberty University. Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. will also be making remarks during the ceremony.

Liberty University's 39th Commencement will celebrate the achievement of more than 14,000 graduates with more than 34,000 guests expected to attend. The ceremony will also be broadcast by streaming video to the families of Liberty’s 70,000+ online students around the world.

Liberty University prides itself as training the “replacements” of the current Religious Right leadership, but despite its name the university has banned people on campus from accessing a local newspaper that wrote about LU’s huge sums of aid from the federal government, refused to recognize a College Democrats club, inculcates students in ultraconservative, anti-gay and anti-evolution courses, and trumpets a professor who wants to outlaw pornography.

Maybe Romney, who is selling his $5.25 million ski lodge, can stop by the Liberty Mountain Snowflex.

Liberty U Professor Judith Reisman Wants Pornography Outlawed

Judith Reisman is the Liberty Counsel's favorite "expert" on issues pertaining to sexuality and the organization regularly offers her a platform from which to spew her theories about how gays are part of the “pedophile movement” which seeks "to obtain sex with as many boys as possible” and that the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network is a “modern version of the Hitler Youth.”

In fact, Liberty Counsel is so enamored with Reisman that she also serves at a visiting professor of law at Liberty University, despite the fact that she received her Ph.D in Communications.

In Reisman's view, everything can be traced back to the research and findings of Alfred Kinsey and she was recently featured on CSPAN's BookTV where she discussed her book "Sexual Sabotage: How One Mad Scientist Unleashed a Plague of Corruption and Contagion on America."

During the discussion, Reisman was asked if pornography ought to be outlawed, to which she responded with an enthusiastic "yes," saying there is absolutely no question that pornography has "had a huge impact on child sexual abuse": 

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