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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We won't hold our breaths.

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

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

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

 

The First Amendment Doesn’t Apply at Liberty University

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Bryan Fischer's Two Rules For Saving America

During his radio program yesterday,  Bryan Fischer was adding his voice to the chorus of Right Wing outrage over President Obama's support for marriage equality, and doing so in typical Bryan Fischer manner:  by accusing Obama of lying when he said his decision was prompted, at least in part, by "members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships" because, as Fischer claims, "homosexual monogamy is a myth."

And so Fischer dedicated an entire segment of his program to attacking the idea that gay couples can and do establish monogamous relationships.  But since that is something Fischer has been saying for years, it wasn't really worth posting. 

But that rant prompted Fischer to eventually set forth two simple "abiding truths" for our public policy and culture that he knows will solve a lot of our problems if embraced and acted upon: 1) homosexuality is not a benign alternative to heterosexuality and 2) Islam is not a benign alternative to Christianity:

Right Wing Round-Up - 5/10/12

Right Wing Leftovers - 5/10/12

  • Liberty University says the late Jerry Falwell would be "proud" that Mitt Romney will be speaking at this weekend's graduation ceremony.
  • Michele Bachmann has already withdrawn her Swiss citizenship.
  • Al Mohler calls President Obama's support for marriage equality "a sad day for America."
  • The National Organization for Marriage says it "will cost Obama [his] re-election bid."
  • And finally, FRC has responded to Obama's announcement by posting the organization's "The Problem with Same-Sex Marriage" program on YouTube, which is heavily focused on promoting ex-gay therapy:

Taco-Protesting White Supremacist Burns Cross, Runs for Sheriff in Idaho

Shaun Winkler, a Republican candidate for sheriff in Kootenai County, Idaho, showed off a slice of his family life last Friday. After clearing it with friends and family, Winkler allowed reporters to attend a monthly get-together at his compound. Winkler, a member of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and a former staffer for the Aryan Nations, was hosting an old-fashioned cross-burning.

Cameron Rasmusson of the nearby Coeur d'Alene Press attended the family get-together and filed this report
The evening began like many a family picnic elsewhere in the country. Group members barbecued and enjoyed a congenial meal with one another. Afterward, Winkler called everyone's attention to speak for about a half-hour on the racial, political and social groups they opposed. Finally, once darkness fell, the evening concluded by setting a wooden cross afire. 
Winkler is competing for the Republican nomination for sheriff in a May 15th primary. He’s expected to lose badly, but in the meantime he’s participating in candidate forums and clarifying his anti-Jew, anti-“negro,” anti-sex crime platform. Rasmusson reports:
On Monday, he participated in a candidates forum at the Blanchard Community Center. He continued to insist his Ku Klux Klan ties would not impact his performance as sheriff or make him susceptible to racial profiling. Instead, he would focus on tough stances regarding drugs and alcohol.
 
"Most people don't know that we don't just oppose the Jews and the negroes," he said. "We also oppose sexual predators and drugs of any kind."
 
Winkler added that if he had his way, perpetrators of sexual crimes would be hung immediately.
Winkler has previously made a name for himself by picketing a Martin Luther King Day celebration in January, and according to Reuters, last year “Winkler and a handful of followers demonstrated at taco stands to target Latinos in Coeur d'Alene.” Officials and residents of Kootenai County worry that Winkler “will hamper efforts to dispel an image that the northern Idaho region is a haven for hate groups and extremists.” After all, Northern Idaho has traditionally been a hotbed of radical white supremacist activity, and Winkler worked for the man long at the center of it, Richard Butler.
 
Janice Schoonover, owner of a local vacation spot, complained to Reuters that Winkler’s campaign “just stirs the pot and makes us seem like something we're not, complaining that the area hadn’t “been able to shake that stereotype of white supremacists, and it's really unfortunate and unfair.”
 
But that’s probably premature. Winkler isn’t operating alone, and the Kootenai County Constitution Party recently protested a sculpture of Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu deity, calling it “an abomination.”

 

 

Religious Right Outcry on Marriage Equality Intensifies with Denunciations of Obama and the Gay Community

Enraged and energized by President Obama’s support for marriage equality, conservatives have begun to speak out not only against Obama but also against anti-discrimination laws, not just marriage, for gays and lesbians. Terry Jeffrey of CNSNews, an outfit of the Media Research Center, told American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon and the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins on Today’s Issues that anti-gay discrimination is not “morally wrong” and asking people not to discriminate against gays would violate natural law:

Jeffrey: It’s worth noting that the Obama Justice Department has gone out into the courts and taken the position that discrimination against homosexuals is identical or ought to be identical in law to racial discrimination. Fact of the matter is, racial discrimination is morally wrong, I think Tony you were mentioning the natural law before. Racial discrimination is a violation of natural law, that was the point Martin Luther King made, it goes against the very principle laid out in the Declaration of Independence. The fact is, homosexual behavior goes against the natural law, as well as being specifically condemned in Scripture.

So if you have a federal government that is going to force Americans to treat homosexual behavior as if it’s a moral right, you basically have a federal government that is asking the American people to overturn the entire moral order on which our society depends. Personally, I believe people who stand up and fight for that and articulate the truth are going to have the r argument resonate with people because quite frankly God wrote the law on people’s hearts and people know that’s true.

James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, weighed in on Obama’s remarks by arguing that he is defying God and lamenting that America is emulating Sodom and Gomorrah:

Dobson: I can just tell you from my point of view I will be praying even harder about this upcoming election because there is so much at stake. Marriage must be maintained, it’s been in existence on every continent on earth since the Garden of Eden, not just in Christian countries but wherever mankind has taken root, marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman has been honored in law and in practice. Obviously homosexuality has flourished in many places, in Rome, in Greece, in Sodom and Gomorrah, but it has been relationships between one man and one woman because we’re made that way, we’re designed that way. To throw it on the ash heap of history at this stage of our existence and defy the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which I believe this does, has got to be considered by all of us.

Talk show host Janet Parshall responded to the news by blaming the “Father of Lies” (Satan) and describing it as man “raising his fist” at God:

Yesterday, Janet Mefferd even said that because of Obama, the country is “swirling down into the sewer”:

Perkins told Mefferd today that marriage equality is “not about rights” but “fundamentally changing America,” even suggesting that “nobody lost any rights” as a result of North Carolina passing Amendment One, even though unmarried couples, both gay and straight, could lose partnership rights. Perkins later lamented that Obama’s support for LGBT equality is “beyond comprehension”:

Perkins: This is not about rights. Nobody lost any rights when North Carolina amended their constitution on Tuesday. What was preserved was the ability of parents the way they want to, the ability of religious organizations to associate based upon their shared faith and not be forced to change that because of someone’s sexual orientation, public accommodations are not wide open to whoever wants them based upon what gender they feel like for the day. This issue as it’s beginning to unfold now not theoretically but in very practical ways as people are losing jobs, churches are being forced into certain things, people realize this is not about two people living together and loving each other, it’s about fundamentally changing America.



The administration when George Bush was president, it did not deal with the marriage issue and the social policies surrounding homosexuality I would say not even, maybe ten percent, a tenth of what this administration has done on it. It is every day it is some new revelation. It is beyond comprehension.

Barton Continues to Peddle the Myth of Raymond Raines

Just last week David Barton was on The Daily Show where he trotted out a nearly twenty year old piece of right-wing mythology about some poor public school student who was reportedly yanked out of his chair and yelled at by a teacher merely for praying before eating his lunch in the school cafeteria.

As we pointed out, this incident took place way back in 1994 and involved a student named Raymond Raines who, contrary to Barton's claims, was not yelled at for praying before lunch, but rather for fighting in the cafeteria.

But just because something might be demonstrably untrue, that is not going to stop Barton from repeating it, which he did again today on "WallBuilders Live":

Here's a good one: [In] St Louis, Missouri, an elementary student was praying over his lunch; a school official jerked him out of his seat - lifted him up physically out of his seat - reprimanded him in front of the other students for praying over his lunch and took him to the principal who ordered him to stop praying over his lunch. Can you believe that?

No, as a matter of fact, we cannot believe that ... because it is not true. 

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