As Josh noted in the previous post, Mitt Romney will be delivering the commencement address tomorrow at Liberty University, the ultra-fundamentalist university founded by the late Jerry Falwell. But what many people may not realize is that Liberty U is also the home of some of the most militant anti-gay activists operating today, who are on staff at Liberty U while simultaneously working for the affiliated Liberty Counsel.
In fact, the two are so intertwined that Mat Staver serves as both Dean of the Liberty U Law School and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, while Rena Lindevaldsen, LU's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Matt Barber, LU's Associate Dean for Career and Professional Development, Shawn Akers, Dean of LU's Helms School of Government, and Deryl Edwards, LU's Director of Institutional Advancement, all hold positions with Liberty Counsel as well.
For years, Liberty Counsel has been at the center of a custody case involving Lisa Miller, an "ex-gay" woman who kidnapped her daughter and fled the country rather than abide by court-ordered custody arrangements with her former partner. Rena Lindevaldsen was Miller's attorney and even wrote a book about the saga while Liberty Counsel continues to insist that it has no knowledge of Miller's whereabouts, despite the fact that she was reportedly living at a home in Nicaragua owned by the father of an administrative assistant working for Staver at Liberty U Law School. Furthermore, Liberty U also taught a class based on the Miller case in which students were reportedly instructed that the "right" thing for a lawyer to do in a case such as this would be to counsel their client that they have an obligation to ignore the law and court orders and instead engage in "civil disobedience" in order to uphold God's law.
While Staver may be the head of Liberty Counsel with a penchant for issuing warnings that President Obama seeks to become a global dictator, his rhetoric pales in comparison to Matt Baber who, in addition to serving as an instructor at Liberty U's Law School, also happens to be one of the most viciously anti-gay bigots operating today, as demonstrated by his view that homosexuality is nothing more than “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love.’”
Just in recent months, Barber has said that marriage equality mocks God and desecrates the Church, declared that the Defense of Marriage Act is necessary to prevent children from becoming gay and getting AIDS, said that gay teens commit suicide because they "know that what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong, [and] immoral," proclaimed gay adoption to be "tragic," "unconscionable," and "reprehensible," and warned that gay activists are seeking to poison the minds of children and are "running interference for the pedophile movement."
But it is not just gays whom Barber attacks on a regular basis, but liberals in general, whom he claims are driven by a hatred of God and are working with radical Islamists to destroy Christianity. He has said that the Obama administration's contraception mandate was no different than being forced to kill your family and that those who support reproductive choice are literally no different than the Nazis. In fact, Barber thinks the Left in general are nothing but a bunch of bullies who just need to be punched in the mouth.
Last year, when Romney spoke at the Values Voter Summit, he publicly called out the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer for his bigotry and declared that "poisonous language does not advance our cause."
Will Romney have the courage this weekend to likewise take a stand against the "poisonous language" and bigotry regularly displayed by the staff at Liberty University/Liberty Counsel?
We won't hold our breaths.