May 22, 2009
Let me be clear from the outset: it’s a private school, it can do whatever it wants. It’s perfectly legal, constitutional, and within their discretion to have done it. But it’s fucking stupid. Not “typing ‘there’ when you meant ‘their’ because you’re emailing in a rush” stupid. More like “believes the world is 6,000 years old and Adam and Eve hung out with vegetarian T-Rexes” stupid.
With me? Ok:
Liberty “University” has withdrawn its official recognition of its student Democratic Party, telling members that convening as a club can result in their expulsion. If you’re not familiar with that school, it was founded in 1971 by Jerry Falwell. Located in Lynchburg, VA, its 20,000+ undergraduate and graduate students make it the largest evangelical school in the world.
Founded sometime around 1792 by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, the Democratic Party came to national prominence when Jefferson won the presidential election of 1800. Since then, it has given us, among others, Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Bill Clinton, and incumbent Barack Obama. Though it was historically linked to Southern racism, President Lyndon Johnson’s passage of the Civil Rights Act effectively freed the Democratic Party from that association. It is a champion of organized labor and the environment. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a Democrat. While many of my political views are closely aligned to the party’s, I find it to be undisciplined, ineffectual, and led by buffoons.
In a May 15 email to the student Democrats, Vice President for Student Affairs Mark Hine said, “The Democratic Party platform is contrary to the mission of LU and to Christian doctrine (supports abortion, federal funding of abortion, advocates repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, promotes the ‘LGBT’ agenda, Hate Crimes, which include sexual orientation and gender identity, socialism, etc).” The Liberty Democrats explicitly disavowed gay rights and abortion in their charter. I really have no idea where the allegation of socialism comes from, nor can I say for certain why socialism would run contrary to Christian doctrine, so I can’t really speak to that issue. I think it’s important, though; of the issues Hine mentioned, it’s the only one that the student group hadn’t rejected in its founding document.
I am pretty sure that Hine’s use of the word “socialism” came from that fringe “where’s the birth certificate, Barack Hussein Obama?”, tea party-attending, crazy right wing trope.
It’s well within the school’s rights to have done this. But it’s well within my rights to join the Ku Klux Klan, so maybe we should evaluate this in terms other than “can” and “can’t”. Essentially, the school is telling its students to give up on the party, not to try to change it from within. Given this country’s two-party system and the school’s continued endorsement of student Republicans, the dissolution of the Democrats is tantamount to an endorsement of the G.O.P. Furthermore, it is enforcing a decidedly un-American policy of hegemony over debate. It’s not an unexpected move from a fundamentalist Christian institution, but it certainly belies the absurdity of the school’s adoption of the name “Liberty.”
I abhor in principle the school’s stance against homosexual enfranchisement and civil rights, and I also note that Liberty does not seem to have a policy of working against the civil rights of divorcees and other groups living in clear defiance of New Testament teachings. And before I let them off the hook, the Liberty Democrats are assholes, too. Their very existence smacks of the cognitive dissonance built into groups like the Log Cabin Republicans. Speaking of Log Cabin Republicans, the Liberty Democrats are a group whose charter espouses the ol’ “no civil rights for the faggots” line so warmly embraced by miserable pieces of shit all around the country. Fuck them. I have already wasted too many words in support of these assholes.
You know what? Forget anything I may have said that makes you feel for the plight of the “Liberty” “University” “Democrats”.