Jerry Falwell

Remembering The Religious Right's Attacks On Nelson Mandela

The news today of Nelson Mandela’s passing is also time to reflect on the complicated relationship between Mandela and his anti-apartheid African National Congress (ANC) with the US, which did not always support the anti-apartheid struggle. In fact, American conservatives lobbied the federal government in the 1980s to withhold support from the anti-apartheid movement.

President Reagan added the ANC to the US terrorism watch list, a designation not removed until 2008, and unsuccessfully vetoed sanctions against the apartheid regime. Many Republican lawmakers did break with the Reagan administration’s stance, but “all 21 [Senate] votes to sustain the veto were cast by Republicans.”

Mandela faced criticism from Republican leaders including Dick Cheney, who described Mandela’s ANC as a “terrorist organization,” and Jesse Helms, who “turned his back during Mandela’s visit to the U.S. Capitol.” Even in 1998, Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly lumped Mandela together with notorious dictators.

The late Jerry Falwell urged [PDF] his supporters to write their congressmen and senators to tell them to oppose sanctions against the apartheid regime. “The liberal media has for too long suppressed the other side of the story in South Africa,” he said. “It is very important that we stay close enough to South Africa so that it does not fall prey to the clutches of Communism.”

“South Africa is torn by civil unrest, instigated primarily by Communist-sponsored people who are capitalizing on the many legitimate grievances created by apartheid, unemployment and policy confrontations,” Falwell continued.

Finally, we should, if possible, invest in South Africa, because this inevitably improves the standard of living for nonwhites there.

Now is not the time to turn our backs on South Africa. The world has witnessed the Soviets capture nation after nation. They have been particularly aggressive in Africa. South Africa must not be the next victim!

David John Marley notes in Pat Robertson: An American Life that Robertson criticized the ANC because it was “led by communists and was hostile to Israel” and “far too radical an element to ever work with,” while “his campaign literature made similar claims for the need to support the white government.”

The televangelist regularly spoke ill of Mandela’s group and his Christian Broadcasting Network ran segments critical of sanctions against the apartheid government as Congress debated sanctions.

In 1986 The 700 Club did a series of reports on South Africa and the white government’s struggle against the African National Congress. While many socially liberal religious leaders decried the apartheid regime, Robertson openly supported it because he felt that it was a bastion against communism. For Robertson, everything else was secondary to defeating what he saw as the enemies of God. Robertson sent a copy of The 700 Club program to Freedom Council’s Dick Thompson to have it forwarded to Pat Buchanan, who in turn promised to show it to the president. Reagan’s attitude toward South Africa was one of his most controversial foreign policy stands, and Robertson was one of Reagan’s few allies on the policy.

Sam Kleiner mentions that now-Sen. Jeff Flake, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff were also active in lobbying against the anti-apartheid movement:

Jack Abramoff, now a disgraced former lobbyist convicted of fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion, got much of his start from his work with South Africa. Abramoff visited the country following his term as National Chair of the College Republicans in 1983 and met with pro-apartheid student groups linked to the South Africa’s Bureau of Security Services. In 1986, he opened the International Freedom Foundation. Ostensibly a think tank, it was later revealed as a front group for the South African Army as part of “Operation Babushka” meant to undermine Nelson Mandela’s international approval. The group had over “30 young ideologues in offices on G Street in Washington, Johannesburg, London and Brussels” working on propaganda in support of the South African government.



Like Abramoff, GOP tax guru Grover Norquist became enamored with the conflict in South Africa and went there to extend his support. Norquist ran College Republicans from 1981 to 1983 and went to South Africa in 1985 for a “Youth for Freedom Conference” sponsored by South African businesses. While other college students, such as Barack Obama, had been active in anti-apartheid work, this conference was seeking to bring American and South African conservatives together to end that movement. In his speech there, Norquist said, “The left has no other issue [but apartheid] on campus. Economic issues are losers for them. There are no sexy Soviet colonies anymore.” A few months after the conference, Norquist went to Angola to work with Jonas Savimbi, the rebel leader that Abramoff valorized in his film. Norquist became a ghost-writer for Savimbi’s essay in Policy Review. When he returned to Washington, he was greeted in conservative circles as a “freedom fighter,” and he proudly placed an “I’d rather be killing commies” bumper sticker on his brief case.

A few years later and much further along in the anti-apartheid movement, a young Jeff Flake (now a senator from Arizona) became active in lobbying for South African mining interests in the late 1980s and early ’90s, after returning from his Mormon mission to South Africa. As a graduate student at Brigham Young University, he testified against an anti-apartheid resolution in the Utah State Senate and then became a lobbyist in Washington for Smoak, Shipley and Henry, a lobbying firm specializing in representing the South African mining industry. Flake went on to personally represent the Rossing Uranium plant in Namibia, which had been a major target of anti-apartheid activists for its discriminatory and unsafe practices.

Decades later, these Republican leaders would prefer not to have their adventures in South Africa mentioned. While Abramoff went down in a corruption scandal, Norquist went on to remake himself into a libertarian anti-tax activist, and Flake moved back to Arizona. The anti-communism that motivated the Republican allegiance to South Africa fizzled with the end of the Cold War, but the history of the Republican entanglement with South Africa remains one of the party’s darker episodes.

President Obama can proudly talk about how his first political act was in response to apartheid. While a few Republicans stood against apartheid, much of the Republican Party has nothing to offer about its position at the time but silence. I wouldn’t expect any reflections on apartheid from Abramoff, Flake or Norquist anytime soon.

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.

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.

Franklin Graham: Americans 'Turned our Back on God' by Re-Electing Obama; Marriage Equality 'Takes the Family Away'

After warning that the re-election of Obama will bring God’s judgment and ultimate destruction, Franklin Graham while speaking to David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network asserted that Obama’s second term will “usher in the largest changes in our society since the Civil War.” He later maintained that Obama’s re-election is proof that Americans have “turned our back on God,” and said that “we need someone like a Jerry Falwell to come back and resurrect the Moral Majority movement.”

Graham also told Brody that same-sex marriage puts society in jeopardy because it “takes the family away and there is no way you can have a family with two females or two males, if you just think biologically how God made us our plumbing is completely different.” “There is no room for us to consider gay marriage or same-sex marriage,” Graham continued, “that is redefining what God gave us.”

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

 

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:

 

What Has the Right Been Up to for the Past 25 Years?

A shorthand look at the rise of the Religious Right from political obscurity to the corridors of power.

Back to School with the Religious Right

The Religious Right continues to target public schools in a variety of ways that disrupt education and threaten religious liberty, according to a report released by People For the American Way Foundation (PFAWF). The report provides an in-depth analysis of the struggle over the future of our public education system by focusing on six categories: creationism; textbook controversies; sexuality education; religion and public schools; anti-gay activity and censorship.

Martin Sheen on Church/State Separation

Martin Sheen narrates this video, produced by People For the American Way, about the history of separation of church & state and efforts by the Religious Right to undermine it.
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