Monday, April 26, 2010

What Liberty University Really Stands For

Liberty University, the evangelical Christian college in Virginia founded by Jerry Falwell (and currently run by his son, Jerry Jr.), has invited Glen Beck to give this year's commencement address.

This is more than a little ironic, because as a Mormon, Beck would normally be shunned by most Evangelicals. Jerry Falwell called Mormonism a "cult" on numerous occasions during his lifetime. Beck was even dis-invited to an interview by Focus on the Family after people protested them having a "non-Christian" on their program.

So why would Liberty invite someone to practices what they believe to be a "false religion" to give such a prestigious address to their students?

Clearly Beck has been invited because he hates the same people Liberty hates: namely President Obama. Falwell Jr. claims that inviting Beck is part of "Liberty's long tradition of commencement speakers who are making a positive impact on society in all walks of life."

Don't equate "positive impact on society" with "social justice", though. Beck has told people to leave their churches if they preach social justice, since it's apparently a code word for socialism.

By inviting Glen Beck, Liberty University is proving once again that they value their identity as Americans (at least, their definition of what a "real" American is) more than their identity as Christians. The fact that Beck shares their political orientation trumps the fact that they think he is going to hell because of his religion. But this orientation is probably what led Falwell to name the school "Liberty" in the first place, rather than something more distinctly Christian like "Grace" or "Something Bible College".

Say what you want about them, but at least they're being clear on what is most important to them. The neo-conservative vision of America comes first. Evangelical Christianity comes second.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"It was founded as Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971 by Jerry Falwell who was also the Senior Pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church. The name was changed to Liberty Baptist College in 1976 before settling on its current name in 1984 when it obtained university status."

Do a tad bit of research before making false/ignorant claims. And there's Regent's University, Wheaton University, Biola University, Southeastern University all without "Bible College" in their name but still quite reputable.

Liberty has also had a liberal Jewish leader come speak in return letting Jerry Falwell speak to his crowd. And yes, Mormonism is a cult of Christianity. But "shunning" them because of this isn't Christianity, whether some do it or not. Maybe its an attempt to show that Evangelicals are not as you describe them (shunning anyone who doesn't believe as them) and allowing an open door so as to better share the truth of Christ with. Be in the world, but not of the world.