Liberty University

Tim Tebow Scheduled to Address another Anti-Gay Venue: Liberty University

Recently, New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow pulled out of a scheduled appearance at Robert Jeffress’ megachurch “due to new information” he received regarding Jeffress' view. While he never specified what the “new information” was, Tebow was almost certainly referring to Jeffress’ virulent attacks on gays and lesbians, Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, Islam and President Obama.

Yet just weeks after withdrawing from speaking at Jeffress's church, Tebow is now set to address Liberty University later this month at a conference geared towards men’s issues in a speech that is closed to the public.

The school was founded by the late televangelist Jerry Falwell — it is now run by his son — who has blamed gays and liberals for the September 11 attacks, supported racist laws in the U.S. and abroad and attacked the Teletubbies for “modeling the gay life style.”

Liberty University bans gay students and shut down its College Democrats chapter over the party’s views on gay rights. The university has hosted multiple anti-gay conferences and their law school is being sued over its alleged role in helping Lisa Miller disobey a court order and kidnap her daughter to Central America in order to avoid transferring custody to the girl's other mother, her former partner.

Liberty University’s Vice President and law school dean Mathew Staver has defended the criminalization of homosexuality in Malawi, promoted the dangerous ex-gay therapy and warned that President Obama supports “forced homosexuality.” Furthermore, Staver has claimed that gay rights laws are part of an Antichrist spirit that lead to crime, child molestation and death, along with the destruction of America.

Staver’s fellow Liberty University dean Matt Barber has defended a Nigerian law outlawing homosexual relationships, described the gay rights movement as “Satanic,” claimed that gay youth who committed suicide took their own lives because they “know what they are doing is unnatural,” accused gay rights advocates of supporting pedophilia (along with fascism and Communism) and defined homosexuality as “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love.’” He has also maintained that liberals are like Baal worshippers who hate God and are working with Islamists to destroy Christianity and that Obama should be impeached for backing same-sex domestic partner benefits.

Another professor, Rena Lindevaldsen, has claimed that Satan makes people gay and is behind the LGBT rights movement .

If Jeffress’ anti-gay remarks were too extreme for Tebow, they pale in comparison to the things regularly said by representatives of Liberty University.

Perhaps it is time for Tebow to take another look at some of this “new information” about Liberty.

Right Wing Leftovers - 1/9/13

  • I guess we can now look forward to the Religious Right freaking out over the news that the Washington National Cathedral will begin performing same-sex marriages.
  • A federal judge has ruled that a Texas school district can expel a students for refusing to wear an identity card containing an RFID chip on the grounds that it was a "mark of the beast."
  • Dick Armey claims he mistakenly granted an interview to Media Matters regarding the debacle at FreedomWorks because his thought he was talking to the conservative Media Research Center.
  • Apparently releasing the names of priests who molested children will turn into a "witch hunt [that] would negatively impact the church as a whole."
  • Finally, in March, Tim Tebow will speak at Liberty University's Convocation.

Matt Barber, Whose Idol Backed Segregation, Lectures Everyone Else about the Civil Rights Movement

Forgive us for not buying Liberty University law dean Matt Barber’s attempt to lecture everyone about the Civil Rights Movement in an attempt to smear gay rights advocates. Barber, who is also the Director of Cultural Affairs for Liberty Counsel, on The Janet Mefferd Show yesterday said it is “so offensive to me” and his many African American friends that “sexual anarchists” have “cynically co-opted and hijacked the language of the very, very noble civil rights movement and applied it to their disordered lifestyle.”

“The civil rights era, the true civil rights fight is pretty much over,” Barber later agued, rather astoundingly.

“So people want to be part of something bigger than themselves, they want to feel like they’re doing something important, so they cynically manipulate people and use the language of civil rights in order to dupe well-meaning young people into a cause that is contrary to freedom and facilities a lifestyle that is emotionally, spiritually destructive and doesn’t do society any good either.”

Listen:

Maybe it’s just me, but does anyone else find it problematic that a person whose idol is Jerry Falwell, the founder of Liberty University, is now using the civil rights movement in a harangue against gay rights? Falwell was a fierce opponent of the Civil Rights Movement and a proponent of segregation.

He preached against Brown v. Board of Education, which banned racial segregation in public schools, telling his church, “When God has drawn a line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line. The true Negro does not want integration.”

Falwell kept his private Christian school segregated to help families avoid integration in public schools and opposed the Carter administration’s attempt to challenge the tax status of segregated schools. He also subscribed to the belief that black people were under “Noah’s curse on Ham” and argued that school “facilities should be separate.”

“If Chief Justice Warren and his associates had known God's word and had desired to do the Lord's will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision would never have been made,” he said, warning that integration and interracial marriage will “destroy our race.”

Sound familiar?

He condemned the 1964 Civil Rights Act as a “civil wrong” and attacked movement leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., as “Communists” who sought to “bring about violence and bloodshed.” The televangelist even opposed sanctions against South Africa’s apartheid government and said that anti-Apartheid protests were “instigated primarily by Communist-sponsored people.”

Falwell’s rhetoric against the Civil Rights Movement are actually remarkably similar to Matt Barber’s own anti-gay diatribes, as Barber seemed to have taken a page from Falwell in warning that gay rights advocates are inspired by Karl Marx and that radicals “trying to impose a globalist, Communist structure” are the real culprits behind the gay rights movement. He claimed that “homosexual activism, undermining the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic and doing away with it, that is the ice breaker that breaks the ice so that the bigger Communist ships and the redistributionist ships.”

While surely Barber would distance himself from Falwell’s harsh condemnation of the Civil Rights Movement, he is not afraid to use the same harsh and demagogic rhetoric of the late televangelist in order to attack supporters of gay equality.

Mat Staver Continues the Crusade Against Obamacare

Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver recently appeared on Janet Parshall’s radio show to promote his claim that the health care reform law is unconstitutional and an immense “setback to religious liberty.” While representing Liberty University, Staver sued over the health care law’s individual mandate in 2010, but the Supreme Court ruled in June that the mandate was constitutional. Over the summer, Liberty asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its arguments against the employer mandate and the contraceptive coverage mandate, which it said were not addressed by the court’s ruling. The court agreed to the request and told the 4th Circuit to hear arguments on the two pieces.

While speaking to Parshall, Staver fueled the myth that Obamacare is “a frontal assault to religious freedom” and that employers and individuals are “being forced to fund abortion.” Staver drew no difference between abortion and contraceptives in his assertions, and echoed the misconceptions of many Religious Right groups and conservative politicians who argue that the mandate compels religious individuals pay for abortion coverage.

But no part of Obamacare actually coerces anyone to fund abortion coverage. Women who choose health plans that do cover abortion must pay a separate premium out of their own pockets. Because insurers must assess a $1 per month surcharge on all enrollees in the plan to take into account the cost savings of abortion, anti-choice activists are complaining that this constitutes taxpayer funding for abortion.

Although a conscience clause was added allowing churches who object to birth control to be exempt from the requirement, many religious leaders argue that this exemption is not wide enough.

Precedents have already been set that counter Staver’s claims, as several judges have ruled that Obamacare does not violate the religious freedom of employers that do not want to cover contraceptives. A pivotal Supreme Court opinion previously established that a law that applies uniformly to the faithful and the non-faithful alike does not violate the First Amendment. Though individuals are still free to exercise their religion by abstaining from using contraceptives, Staver contends that the law is “[telling] you what to believe [and] how to practice.”

Staver: This is something that’s either or. Either we follow our religious conviction that life is sacred and it begins in the womb, and disobey Obamacare and pay the penalties for it, or we obey Obamacare and disobey our religious convictions and conscious. There is no in between. It is a frontal assault to religious freedom unprecedented in its scope since the founding of its country. So this I think is a very strong argument as we go back to the high court, and in addition to the free exercise for Liberty University and other religious employers, we have the free exercise claim for all individuals. Because in addition to being forced to fund abortion from an employer’s perspective, individuals are also forced to have a fee assessed which goes to funding abortion.



Parshall: If they say, you know what, too bad government has the right here, religious liberty, that’s nice, not now, not here, what would be the impact of religious liberty, far beyond the boundaries of Liberty University’s campus, what would it mean for the church capital C universal as well?

Staver: Oh it would be huge in terms of its setback to religious liberty because this is a classic conflict. A lot of times you have laws that, you know maybe an irritant, you know for example you might want to use a library for a room that’s a common meeting and you might want to have prayers and somebody says no you can’t do that because its religious speech. Well sort of another free speech issue the question is, is this a free religion exercise? It may be, but you know the argument would be well, you can still practice your religion, we’re not telling you what to believe, what to practice, but this here tells you what to believe, it tells you how to practice, it is a core component of your belief. So, if we were to lose on this issue, wow, I mean the implications of that would be huge, it would mean that the government, for the first time in history, is able to pass a law that directly conflicts with a religious belief.

Reisman: Sex-Ed Turns Children into Prostitutes and 'Little Sexual Deviants'

Reisman: Sex-Ed Turns Children into Prostitutes and ‘Little Sexual Deviants’ Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber has been promoting new claims by Judith Reisman, a fellow professor at Liberty University, that the Department of Health and Human Services may be breaking the law by actively “grooming” children for sex. Wonkette published quite the takedown of Barber’s column, noting that he and Reisman both glaringly distort Alfred Kinsey’s research. Reisman spoke to Janet Mefferd about the column, where she said that the HHS along with groups like Planned Parenthood and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, a group she compares to the Hitler Youth and says is part of the “pedophile movement,” are “grooming children” to embrace sexual activities that “either could kill them or maim them.” She warns that comprehensive sexual education will lead to “drug abuse, alcohol abuse and everything else,” including higher rates of venereal diseases and AIDS, by “teaching [children] sexual perversions in order to turn them into little sexual deviants.”

Mefferd: When you’re talking about these sexual educators, are you talking about people like Planned Parenthood, GLSEN, some of these groups?

Reisman: Sure, it’s all criminal activity and it’s all been to violate every rule and common sense and our prior common law, but all of this was essentially activity that involved grooming children to become either pedophiles, pederasts or to enter into other kinds of sexual activities that either could kill them or maim them or to normalize prostitution of children and by children, and all the dysfunctions that go with that which include drug abuse, alcohol abuse and everything else.



Reisman: We’re hit with all these VDs and AIDS and now we’re going to come into your classroom, says the sex educators, now we’re going to come into your classroom and we’re going to teach you more criminal stuff about AIDS under that rubric and now they’re in there trying to talk about bullying as the reason and so forth. But the major thing we’re talking about across-the-board is lowering children’s inhibitions, lowering their resistance to sex and teaching them sexual perversions in order to turn them into little sexual deviants, and that is exactly what is taking place.

Seeing that Reisman has zero credentials in the field of sexuality (she has her degrees in Communications) no one takes her seriously, save for those who agree with her calls to ban pornography and fight the scourge of “erototoxins,” it was no surprise that she lashed out at the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association during the interview.

According to Reisman, these groups all reject her claims and back comprehensive sex-ed because…you guessed it; they are run by pedophiles themselves! She alleges that these professional organizations are led by pedophiles who have “their eyes on children for sexual purposes” and as a result endorse such health programs.

Not only have pedophiles taken over the fields of psychology, psychiatry and sociology, but she also warns that gay judges have been unfairly finding in favor of sex-ed programs, and conservative lawyers (like those trained at Liberty University) need to fight the “sexual perversion” backed by LGBT legal groups and challenge their supposed legal dominance. “We’ve got to sue the pants off these guys and get them put away in jail, just like [Jerry] Sandusky and the rest of them,” Reisman said. “It’s time to bring these people down.”

It isn’t just Sandusky, it wasn’t just Kinsey; it’s all over. We’re talking about pedophiles in power and pederasts in power and they have been in power for many, many years. They’ve been in power in the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, Sociological Association, and so on, and these have always been people who have had their eyes on children for sexual purposes.



We have to get our conservative lawyers to be as nasty as some of the gay, lesbian, bisexual transgender and undecided, Lambda Defense and all those folks are. We have to go into courtrooms ready with our information at the fingertips and swinging. No judge who is homosexual or who has any other sexual perversion, that’s what it used to always be called for various good and logical reasons that only have to do with health and welfare, should ever be permitted to rule on a sexual issue because their special interests are such that they cannot be objective about the information. We’ve got to sue the pants off these guys and get them put away in jail, just like Sandusky and the rest of them. It’s time to bring these people down.

LaBarbera: ‘Homosexual Activists’ are ‘Doing to Christians’ what the ‘Nazis Used to Do to the Jews’

Peter LaBarbera on Americans for Truth About Homosexuality Radio Hour once again hosted Liberty University’s resident junk scientist Judith Reisman, who after telling LaBarbera about her time working on music for “Captain Kangaroo,” went on to say that anti-gay bullying and gay youth suicides are complete myths based on “ignorance” and that many kids “are going to be very susceptible to the homosexual urging” because children are taught that “homosexuality was being discriminated against.”

Of course a lot of them are going to be very susceptible to the homosexual urging and that sort of thing, I mean as a kid if I thought homosexuality was being discriminated against and this was normal and natural and this is genetic, give me a break, we have no genetic support for that at all. And if we did, where was it in the ’60s and the ’70s? And all this bullying stuff we’re talking about for being gay and the suicides? Well where are the data back in the ’60s and the ’70s, you think we didn’t record data on kids who were committing suicide, on kids who were being beaten up for sexual interests and that sort of thing, come on! There is such an ignorance of our history, such an ignorance out there and we’ve maintained ignorance.

Reisman went on to argue that a child who would otherwise be a “normal, regular, human, heterosexual kid” is being brainwashed by sexual education classes to think he or she might be gay, transgender or “all kinds of other things.” And why are schools “creating” kids? Reisman says that is because they want “these kids become fodder for adult predators, that’s exactly what they become.”

These kids, their brains are plastic, they’re going to the classroom in school, they’re told now in kindergarten about various forms of sexual activity and ‘you should all be happy,’ ‘make love not war,’ though love now is war. The next thing you know they’re also being told that they really don’t know that they’re a normal, regular, human, heterosexual kid, but they could be bisexual, they could be homosexual, they could be transgender, they could be all kinds of other things, well they couldn’t be unless there is some kind of identifiable proof that that actually is taking place and so we know that what we’re doing is traumatizing these children.



We’re turning our kids into incredibly confused activists, we’re creating these gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, undecided and indiscriminate, whatever the last one is I think there’s another one now, and you have to ask yourself: Who is doing this? What adults are pulling this one off? Because these kids become fodder for adult predators, that’s exactly what they become.

And while the two anti-gay activists in their last interview likened gays to Soviet spies and radical Islamists, LaBarbera and Reisman went straight to the Nazi comparisons this time, with LaBarbera warning that the “homosexual activists” who control Hollywood are “demonizing [Christians] like the Nazis used to do to the Jews.” Reisman eagerly agreed and likened public education in the US to schools in Hitler’s Germany and said that just as Nazis put up Hitler posters instead of the Ten Commandments, “here in the United States we removed the Ten Commandments but we didn’t put up Hitler we put up the AIDS posters, which is just as telling, isn’t it?”

LaBarbera: Homosexual activists in many ways drive our culture, they decide what’s going to be in a movie, we see all the portrayals, homosexuals are the most positively portrayed in the movies and on TV, Christians are often negatively portrayed and stereotyped. In many ways, in fact Judith you are Jewish, I think you’re starting to see Hollywood what they’re doing to Christians and to people of faith who actually adhere to traditional values, they’re demonizing them like the Nazis used to do to the Jews. They would compare Jews to rats and we see these vicious, ugly caricatures of Christians coming out of Hollywood. How did we go from that in such a short amount of time to homosexuality being deviant conduct which wasn’t spoken about to now driving our culture?

Reisman: You answered it. I mean it’s not that much time when you think that Germany, Hitler’s Germany, I think was twenty years that went from a basically conservative German culture to the films being controlled by—I forgot which one—and the films being made that described what you are now describing for Christians well that was what they were doing for Jews and actually they included Christians in there quite often too, and the schools were taken over by the fascist government and the children were told that their parents, who were old-fashioned, were old-fashioned and you know you don’t have to tell your parents, you mustn’t tell your parents, what you’re learning here in school. They gutted the libraries of anything that was Christian in belief and they pulled down the Ten Commandments. You had the Ten Commandments all over the walls of the schools in Germany, just like we had in the United States of America, and so they had removed all the Ten Commandments and they put up of course Hitler. Well here in the United States we removed the Ten Commandments but we didn’t put up Hitler we put up the AIDS posters, which is just as telling, isn’t it?

Kirk Cameron: Left Tried to ‘Crucify Me’ with New ‘Blasphemy Laws’

Kirk Cameron, who compared the backlash to the anti-gay statements he made on Piers Morgan Tonight to the persecution of Puritans in England and being “drug out to the public square and stoned so to speak,” told Liberty University students last week that “blasphemy laws are still alive and well in America” and that his critics tried to “crucify me” because he had “blasphemed the God of Political Correctness.” He said conservative Christians shouldn’t be “wussing out” when confronted by questions about homosexuality and should deliver a message of “truth in love” in order to “see people in a right relationship with God, helped and healed and whole.”

Watch:

Later in his speech, Cameron promoted his movie about the Puritans who settled in Massachusetts Bay and claimed they supported “limiting the powers of government” and “religious and political freedom, freedom of speech.” Unfortunately for the students at Liberty University, founded as Liberty Baptist College, they didn’t learn that under the Colony’s law those who “openly condemne or oppose the baptizing of infants,” and a central doctrine of the Baptists is the rejection of infant baptism, “shall be sentenced to banishment.”

So while Cameron holds the Massachusetts Bay Colony as a model for the contemporary U.S., the colony’s Puritan government held that “Idolatry, blasphemy, heresy . . . are to be restrained and punished by the civil authority.”

Right Wing Leftovers - 10/3/12

  • Focus on the Family has spent over $50,000 on behalf of Todd Akin's run for Senate.
  • Kirk Cameron will be speaking at Liberty University's Convocation on Friday.
  • Speaking of Liberty U, Jerry Falwell, Jr. continues to defend Donald Trump's recent speech there, saying it was all a part of the "free exchange of ideas." Because everyone knows that LU is all about free speech and diversity.
  • The organizers of the America for Jesus rally need your help in paying off the $98,000 deficit they now face.
  •  Finally, Matt Barber declares that President Obama is "a white-hating racist."

Right Wing Leftovers - 10/2/12

  • Gary Bauer declares that "it's time to go all-in for Akin."
  • Liberty University continues the legal fight against health care reform.
  • Michael Brown is outraged by the California legislation outlawing "ex-gay" reparative therapy for minors and proclaims "we need a revolution."
  • Bryan Fischer says the election will "determine whether America has a future under God’s blessing or under God’s judgment."
  • Finally, a new survey finds that nearly 90 percent of pastors believe they shouldn't endorse candidates for public office from the pulpit. That cannot be good news for the Pulpit Freedom effort.

Falwell Jr. Says Trump's Convocation was 'Probably the Best one in the History of the School'

As we have noted over the last few days, there has been a bit of confusion over the remarks that Donald Trump recently delivered at Liberty University when he told the students at this Christian university: "Don't let people take advantage; get even!"

Trump, of course, is standing by his remarks and so is Liberty University, as chancellor and president Jerry Falwell Jr. told Newsmax that Trump's Convocation speech was "probably the best one in the history of the school" and that his message of "get even" was not "contrary to what Jesus taught at all":

The excitement was palpable in the room and the students were just so enthusiastic and excited about Mr. Trump's visit. And it was probably the best Convocation - we have three Convocation's a week here; have for years - probably the best one in the history of the school and I've heard that from literally hundreds of students that feel the same way and it was really a great day for Liberty University and we've made a great new friend in Donald Trump.

...

You know, Jesus ... the Associated Press article quoted where Jesus said turn the other cheek, but Jesus also ran the money-changers out of the temple in anger with a whip. And so there is a time to be tough, there's a time to, I wouldn't necessarily say get even, but there's a time to look out for yourself and for your family and for your country and to defend yourself and I don't think that's contrary to what Jesus taught at all.  

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. […]

 

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