Friday, May 22, 2009

Falwell's Liberty U Not So Dedicated to, Uh, Liberty for Democratic Students

If you're a Democratic student who loves liberty, you might want to avoid the late Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

Here's the sadly ironic story from USA Today.
Liberty University, the university founded by the late Christian evangelist Rev. Jerry Falwell, has revoked its recognition of the campus Democratic Party club, saying “we are unable to lend support to a club whose parent organization stands against the moral principles held by” the university, The News & Advance, of Lynchburg, Va, reports.

“It kind of happened out of nowhere,” said Brian Diaz, president of the student Democratic Party organization that the school had formally recognized in October.

Diaz, the paper reports, said he got the news May 15 in an e-mail from Mark Hine, vice president of student affairs.

According to the e-mail, the club must stop using the university’s name, holding meetings on campus, or advertising events, the newspaper reports.

Hine said late Thursday that the university could not sanction an official club that supported Democratic candidates, the newspaper reports, but stresses that "we are in no way attempting to stifle free speech.”


Tulsan said...

Carrying on Falwell's legacy...

crevo said...

Actually, Falwell reached out to both parties. It just happened that the Republican party, at the time when Falwell was most active, was the only one who reached back.

Interestingly, however, with the election of Obama, the inclusion of religious discussion in politics has now become part of Democratic party politics as well.

Tulsan said...

"The Moral Majority was a political organization of the United States which had an agenda of evangelical Christian-oriented political lobbying. It was founded in 1979 and dissolved in the late 1980s.

"The origins of the Moral Majority can be traced to 1976 when Jerry Falwell embarked on a series of 'I Love America' rallies across the country to raise awareness of social issues important to Falwell. These rallies were an extension of Falwell’s decision to go against the traditional Baptist principle of separating religion and politics, a change of heart Falwell says he had when he perceived the decay of the nation’s morality. Through hosting these rallies, Falwell was able to gauge national support for a formal organization and also raise his profile as a leader.

[Jimmy] Carter did not share the Moral Majority’s political imperative to unify personal and political positions and would instead support the positions of his own party, the Democratic Party, that were at odds with his personal religious stances. In particular, Carter did not actively oppose his party’s general pro-choice platform on abortion, nor did Carter work to bridge the church-state divide, both factors in the Moral Majority’s decision to support Ronald Reagan’s candidacy in 1980."

Tulsan said...

Also of interest from the same source:

"The Moral Majority maintained their support for Reagan’s 1984 reelection campaign and, alongside other Christian Right organizations, influenced the Republican platform for the election, shaping the party’s campaign stances on school prayer and abortion. The nation’s political climate, however, had changed since Reagan’s first campaign. Although Reagan won reelection, the role of the Moral Majority in the victory had changed since 1980. A study of voters in the 1984 election showed that more anti-Moral Majority voters voted for Walter Mondale than pro-Moral Majority voters voted for Reagan, suggesting the Moral Majority may have actually had a negative affect on Reagan’s campaign.

"1988 was the last presidential election for which the Moral Majority was an active organization. Reagan having reached his two-term limit, the Republican nomination was open to a variety of primary contenders. The evangelical minister and televangelist Rev. Pat Robertson sought the Republican nomination and would have been, at first glance, a natural choice for the Moral Majority’s support. Although Robertson’s political platforms were extremely similar to the ones the Moral Majority supported, Falwell gave his organization’s endorsement to contender George H. W. Bush instead. Falwell’s decision highlighted the rivalry between Falwell and Robertson as televangelists but also revealed the deep-seeded tension that still persisted between competing evangelical traditions – Falwell’s fundamentalist tradition was at odds with Robertson’s charismatic tradition.

"The Moral Majority experienced friction with other evangelical leaders and organizations as well as liberal leaders and organizations. For example, Bob Jones particularly sought to challenge the public position of the Moral Majority and was known to make public statements that the Moral Majority was an instrument of Satan. Such rivalries affected the Moral Majority’s grassroots efforts, like in South Carolina where the Moral Majority had no presence because Bob Jones University’s religious network had already organized the state’s independent Baptists."

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