Friday, May 22, 2009

Liberty University Bans College Democrats Club

It appears as though the extreme right is getting scared of the fact that many religious faithful are also members of the Democratic Party. At Liberty University, a private Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia, the school's administration decided to ban a College Democrats club from the campus. According to the News and Advance, the administration apparently told students that the club is in violation of the University's goals because you cannot be a Christian and a Democrat.
Jan Dervish, secretary of the club, and Maria Childress, its staff adviser, said they met with Hine after the revocation and asked for a further explanation.

“He said it wasn’t us. It was the national Democratic Party,” which the campus club’s constitution supports, Dervish said. The campus club also opposes abortion and supports the traditional view of marriage, Dervish said.

“His bottom line was, ‘You can’t be a Democrat and be a Christian and be a university representative,’” Childress said.
Setting aside the fact that the university has a nonprofit status and therefore shouldn't be acting in a partisan manner, this move is an utter shame. In my opinion, neither party should have a claim to being the party of the faithful. The Democratic Party, for instance, is generally the party that believes we should stand up for those in need which is a policy that most religions also promote. Based upon the campus club's constitution, it also appears as though these are the Democratic priorities that the club focused on and they even drew some distinctions between themselves on the issues of abortion and same sex marriage (though I still believe you can be a good Christian and agree with the Democratic Party's platform on those issues too).

The overall lesson that can be taken from this situation is the fact that some on the extreme right are so nervous about the advances the Democratic Party have made in recent years and they'll do whatever it takes to stifle free speech. In the long run, however, I believe this simply causes more and more people to be alienated from the Republican Party which gives more people the opportunity to see that the Democratic Party is promoting commonsense ideas that are in the best interests of the general public.

As much as I'd like to see more progress candidates elected to office, I also believe our political process thrives on having an opportunity for a productive discussion to take place. I therefore hope that moderate Republicans take a stand against the extreme right wing of their party and let it be known that religion shouldn't be used to stifle the free speech that our democratic process depends upon. If the administration at Liberty University gives any clue as to what the leaders of the conservative movement are thinking, however, it doesn't look like moderate Republicans will be given an opportunity to succeed in the party any time soon.

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