Liberty University is in the news again. I wish I could say that they are receiving press for their outstanding commitment to seeing men and women won to faith in Christ or that their academic achievements have blown through the roof, but sadly that's not the case. They made the papers because, once again, they have chosen to stir the pot of controversy.
If you choose to read the article that I will reference, you will see that the leadership at the school has decided to no longer recognize the College Democrat club on their campus. That's right, they will no longer tolerate all 4 of them (I know, bad joke). It seems as if parents, trustees and donors - yes, those who write the checks - have lodged enough complaints about the club that the school felt compelled to take action. In their view, all Democrats support gay rights, abortion, and excessive social programs that enable the poor to live off of handouts. The College Democrats are surely a gnarled appendage of such filthy politics.
Okay, I'll stop pounding the cynical and sarcastic keys on my keyboard. But you can only imagine the heated discussions that this issue has already encouraged (I've had to block at least one Facebook friend because of his strong rhetoric that would have made Jerry Springer blush). This kind of news moves me in several ways and for several reasons, some good and some bad. For the sake of simplicity, I'll list some of them for you.
First, as one who longs to see the gospel of Jesus Christ reach as many as possible, this move hurts. It targets a political group as the enemy while obviously giving the other party (Republicans) a free pass. If you are a Democrat then you are lost but if you are a Republican then you must be saved. I simply don't believe the gospel needs to be placed in the middle of political debate.
Second, it sends a clear message that what the antagonists of Christianity have been screaming for years may be true: we're intolerant. I happen to believe that Christianity is incredibly progressive, accepting, and filled with grace, but much of our culture does not. I've always found it ironic that voices at such places as Cal Berkeley can be heralded as unbiased yet any kind of conservative or faith-filled dialogue there is all but quenched. The last thing we need is to put ammunition in their guns that for years has been shooting blanks.
Third, this issue is one that is divisive within Christian circles. The article reports that it was parents and financial donors who brought this to the forefront, but what of other voices within the Christian community? Is this something that would cause most believers to applaud or cringe? It would be one thing to allow a gay and lesbian club on campus but this was a political club. This kind of takes a little bit of the luster off of the political science degree.
Finally, it damages bridges that are being built to reach our culture for Christ. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 of the importance of reaching beyond what makes us comfortable for the sake of the gospel. This is not selling out or compromise, it's showing grace and love to those who are lost (and no, I'm not saying that all Democrats are going to hell). In case you haven't noticed, the culture around us is rapidly changing and if we are going to reach this culture with the gospel then we've got to be more progressive and visionary than this.
Let me finish this post by reiterating my first point. I want to see people come to Christ, period. If what I do as a believer hurts that cause then I need to reevaluate what I am doing. Perhaps it's time for schools like Liberty to choose different weapons in their battle against good and evil.
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