As Liberty University is back in the news I finally ask aloud a question that I have had for years. Why would anyone want to attend Liberty University? What redeeming qualities does Liberty have? How does it better society? Culture? Faith? And more? Why would you want to attend a school that people would immediately think the worse because of Jerry Falwell Jr’s behavior?
“If it doesn’t add value, it’s waste.”
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46:10 NIV
Jerry Falwell Jr.
I was in grad school at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when September 11, 2001 occurred. In the student union they had televisions and students over the next few days watched what was happening in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. At the time I was also a Campus Crusade for Christ leader at Marquette working to plant a chapter. Two days after the destruction of the World Trade Center Jerry Falwell Sr popped up on Pat Robertson’s television show and he blamed all the destruction and the events of September 11, 2001 on atheists, gays, feminists, the ACLU and People for the American Way. When I first heard that I was troubled. I saw it on television and my reaction is did I just hear that? Later on as I worked to plant a Crusade chapter it came up a couple of times, where I was asked if I agree with Jerry Falwell Sr? It was embarrassing and troubling all at the same time. Falwell’s comments made evangelism harder and this was at a campus in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I am sure other evangelicals also struggled with this as well in the United States.
Why Would Anyone Want to Attend Liberty?
Here is a question that has weighed on me for years and I am going to come out and just say it. When you think of some of the evangelical schools – BIOLA, Wheaton, Moody, Trinity International University, Bethel, Fuller, Messiah, etc… why would anyone want to attend Jerry Falwell Jr’s Liberty University? What redeeming factors does Liberty have to offer society? Virginia? And the evangelical world? As atrocious as the comments Jerry Falwell Sr made, I also have to say that the son is far worse. Its almost like Jerry Falwell Jr has a narcissistic personality disorder or some other like minded situation. He is much more divisive than the father was. I would rather hear the purple Teletubby is gay than hear about Jerry Falwell Jr kissing Donald Trump’s ass as a part of flattery.
But why would someone attend Liberty? Why spend all that money on a subpar and shoddy education that doesn’t hold up very well? What does a diploma from Liberty mean? What is it actually worth? How could you study and pursue academia in an environment that is highly censored and controlling? How can one learn anything in that frame of mind? How many human resources personnel or recruiters come across a Liberty University resume and laugh or snicker when they see it? I am asking these questions in all sincerity. People don’t go for Liberty for the education. They go to shelter themselves away from the world. That is the only thing I can come to a conclusion. They obviously think that some of the other Christian schools don’t cut it. But in that frame of mind secular schools like George Mason University or the University of Georgia are out. After all you fear society and the world. Which begs the question what type of faith do you have if you are going to attend Liberty? When you see the garbage that comes out of Liberty it begs the question, is it that much different from Bob Jones University? If I went to Liberty I would feel like I am stunted for life. I would feel like I wasted four years. I would feel like I could not contribute and be responsible to society. Not when you have a degree from that basically has a LOL at the end. I don’t understand why would you go to Liberty?
Before I became a done to evangelicalism I also saw how Liberty affected churches as well here in Virginia. When I think of Liberty sometimes I like to think of it like a syphilis infection inside evangelicalism. Its just harms, is painful and when you think it goes away it comes roaring back. In my final church before saying that’s it, my Bible study leader came from Liberty. In the small group there were a few times he spoke affectionately of Liberty. I would scratch my head and think to myself, “Do you hear what Jerry Falwell Jr says on Twitter?” There seemed to be a disconnect and a lot of Liberty alumni don’t seem to address the behavior of Jerry Falwell Jr. Jerry it seems has a pass to say and do whatever he wants. Many people at Liberty seem to focus on other areas.
I just view Liberty as a toxic cesspool. My deep fear is that one day there will be another Waco or Ruby Ridge situation in Liberty University one day in the future. I don’t know how to say it. For myself I am proud to say that I attended Carroll College in Montana and Marquette University in Milwaukee. If I went to Liberty and graduated from there I would be embarrassed for life to have attended. How is that living? What is the thought process that leads someone to attend Liberty? Thank God the leadership of the educational institutions I attended did not act in the way Jerry Falwell Jr acted. In many ways the alumni of those two schools would revolt. Most with common sense and decency do. But why would someone want to attend Liberty? In the next couple of weeks I want to do a couple of posts about Liberty. But this is one that has been one my mind for years. I just needed to say this and get my thoughts on paper.