Tag Archives: liberty university

Radical religion’s war on education

18 Nov

Today I was listening to the Reasonable Doubts podcast and they had a really interesting segment on the religious right’s attack on education. Here is my summary of what they had to say:

It is a well known fact that on average the more educated a person is the less likely they are to be conservative or religious. (Yes there are highly educated conservative and religious people, but the data shows that these people are anomalies)

Education and exposure to different cultures/people/worldviews has a corrosive effect on religious faith and conservatism. The radical religious right’s response to this fact is to isolate their children from the world with home schooling, while simultaneously working to undermine public education. My non-American readers might be shocked to find out that here in America parents can homeschool their children with little to no qualifications or curriculum standards; in essence they can teach, or not teach, anything they want regardless of their own education level.

Often in the United States you will hear defenders of homeschooling put forth statistics that suggest homeschooled children excel in all areas, especially scholastic aptitude tests. The fact is, all of these statics are bogus and poorly collected. There is an excellent article in the Peabody Journal of Education by Dr. Eric Isenberg titled “What have we learned about homeschooling?” In the article Isenberg examines the quantitative data on homeschooling, how extensive it is, and how it is collected and then goes point by point showing that essentially it is a black hole.

We do not have good data on homeschooling or its effectiveness. Why? Because the religious right fought hard to make sure the government wasn’t allowed to collect such data. They deliberately want to keep it as unclear as possible. If data was accurately collected it would show the appalling low level of education these homeschoolers are receiving.

The conservative religious right has set up a system where homeschooled children can go from their sheltered home “education” straight to private religious fundamentalist “universities” without ever encountering an idea or person who might challenge their faith. These students then graduate from these “schools” and are often hired as government aids to work for conservative officials. This was recently very prominent when Bush was in power. A lot of his aids were from these private religious institutions. He legal defense team was made up of “Liberty” “University” graduates, a “school” 10 minutes from where I went to college. This system and it’s goals of raising up fundamentalist children sheltered from opposing view points has a name and a website, “Generation Joshua.” (There is an interesting NY Times Best Seller book by Michelle Goldberg on this subject titled “Kingdom Coming.”)

Another way these religious fundamentalist schools affect the public is through tax vouchers for private schools. Through tax vouchers, the public has to subsidize families who choose to send their children to private schools instead of public ones. The political spin is that this is about “school choice,” but if you see past the bullshit it’s really about back-door public funding for religious schools. Almost all private schools in the United States are religious. The guys on Reasonable Doubts even pointed out that the even some of the few officially “secular” charter schools are actually very religious in their curriculum while remaining outwardly worldly.

Public education is a blight for the radical religious right. Pat Robertson, infamous televangelist and founder of Regent “University”, had this to say about tax vouchers: “They say vouchers would spell the end of public schools in America. To which we say, so what?” Jerry Falwell (the same as Robertson and also founded his own “school,” “Liberty” “University”) had this to say on the matter: “I hope to live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, there won’t be any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!” Luckily the fat bastard died before that could happen, but his minions are hard at work trying to advance his “vision.”

These institutions are bastions of conservatism and religion. Here students are taught what to think as opposed to how to think, and their curricula are carefully crafted to be as bias and twisted as possible. “Liberty” “University” even went so far as to ban liberals. The fact is that the radical religious right’s worldview cannot survive in the free market of ideas. When exposed to the sunlight of different cultures, people, points of view, and education in general, it shrivels up and dies. To protect their fragile children from reality, the religious right sets up system whereby students are exposed only to “approved” ideas. I find it hilariously ironic that conservatives like to claim liberals are like Maoists and Stalinists while they’re the ones with thought police institutions with portraits of Jesus on the walls.

Atheist resistance

20 Apr

So living in Lynchburg Virginia, home of “9/11 is god’s punishment ” Jerry Falwell and his penitentiary of brainwashing and bullshit, “Liberty” “university”, religious stuff is all over town. Every other car either has a LU sticker, the christian fish magnet, or “Not I, but Christ” sticker. The local stores are also almost entirely owned by the LU octopus. Falwall and his ilk even have their own section in walmart that sells only LU gear, along with religious books.

So as a way to stay sane and get some cheap thrills, I engage in a little Atheist resistance. First up is my car. When you’re stopped at a red light, that’s your 30 second chance to get a message out to the three cars behind you. (Assuming you’re in the middle lane)

I love these things. I change them out every so often, depending on what’s pissing me off that week. Sometimes it’s political, like pro-choice signs (which are a real hit in the area ~_^), but most of the time it’s religious. Currently I’m blasting the catholic church for their 2000 yr + child pedophilia scandal.

I figure the “liberty” kids in Lynchburg are constantly confined to their nice little clean bubble of rich, white, conservative christian fanatics, it’d be nice to jar them out of their comfort zone and make them realize they’re not the only game in town. If I have to sit in traffic and put up with their stupid signs, they can suffer my 1st amendment rights to mine. Yeah, some could argue that it might look a little trashy, but if nobody stands up and says something, they’ll think that everyone is just like them, and thus their beliefs will be all the further reinforced.

Secondly is pamphlets. In Lynchburg there are pamphlets all around. The LU kids stuff them inside beer cases, leave them in shops, in mailboxes, on dining tables, under your windshield wipers, everywhere. I’ve put a few of them up here on my blog, and they all say the same thing: You’re a rotten person that’s going to burn in hell forever unless you buy our product. So I decided to make my own. Here is one that I’m currently circulating:

Outside:

Inside:

I can’t make the picture any bigger, so incase you can’t read it, the outside when you first open it just says something like “Hey, you’re ok the way you are, you’re not a sinner, nor are you damned to some eternal punishment.” Then it goes on about how the pamphlet isn’t trying to get them to join anything, or give any money, unlike other religious pamphlets. The inside just asks 20 simple questions to get people thinking about their faith critically.

I get a real rush putting out these pamphlets. I have to be all ninja like so I don’t get caught. Sometimes I’ll sit down at a table with my stuff, wait a few minutes, and get up, conveniently forgetting to take the pamphlet with me. I love to put these in the religious books sections of book stores, there I can really hit my target audience.

The bumper stickers in the car give me a bit of a thrill, but not so much as sneaking around with pamphlets. I guess I just feel safer with a physical barrier between me and them. Though I have been honked at, shouted at, and flicked off before while sitting at a red light. (How christian, eh?) There have been times when I’ve nervously expected a bullet to come through the glass behind me and kill me, or for my car to be rammed, or for someone to throw something at my windshield. That’s all a thrill too, though it does make me wonder about my opponents when I have to worry about being physically attacked and they don’t. What do you think that says about them?

Exam time at “Liberty” “University”

14 Dec

So the other day my girlfriend and I decided to go down to Panera bread to get lunch, and the place was swamped with “Liberty” students studying for exams.

I could not help but laugh. What’s the point? Nobody is going to take your degree seriously unless you’re applying for a ministry position. The “university” is not a university. It’s a religious joke school that brainwashes their students.

Higher education depends on constantly asking questions, challanging the status quo, and exploring new ideas. This is not encouraged at “Liberty” “University”. An LU student once told me when asked why they chose LU “I wanted to be told what to believe”. WOW! Really? Well you went to the right place.

There was once a secular speaker that came to Lynchburg College to give a lecture on religion and Atheism, and after the lecture I noticed an entire group of LU students had gathered around their “teachers” who were trying to un-teach everything the lecturer had talked about.
The kids were given no chance to think about the subject matter on their own.

The school even banned democrats! Now I can understand not agreeing with a political party or ideology, but shouldn’t ideas stand on their own merit without the arbitrary intervention of the administration?

So here were all these preppy conservative christian kids with their apple notebooks pretending to be going to a real university, studying for their exams. The one that blew me away the most was the kids who were studying for biology exams. “Liberty” “University” doesn’t even accept the fact of evolution! How can you have biology without evolution!?!?!? These people think the world is 6,000 years old and that man walked with dinosaurs, and they’re trying to teach biology. I’d like to get my hands on their biology book and see what page Noah’s ark is on.

Here, check this excerpt out from their biology department page:

“The biology faculty at Liberty University are committed to academic excellence and to training students to represent Christ in the fields of medicine, scientific research, and teaching…”

So basically, they already have their conclusions in Christ, so whatever the science tells them they must either ignore, distort, or misrepresent.

“However, our faculty are not only concerned about our student’s academic and professional preparation, but are equally concerned about the personal and spiritual well-being of every student.”

Read as “Don’t worry parents, we’ll make sure not to contaminate your children with actual science”

Give me a break, this “school” is a joke.

Alcohol

30 Aug

Alcohol; I have no interest in it. I’ve never been drunk in my life, and I really don’t see the appeal of being drunk. When I told my friend that I was helping my girlfriend throw an alcohol free party he replied “I don’t see why people say they can have fun without alcohol. It makes you able to have more fun! Trying to have fun at a party without alcohol is like trying to start a fire with flint and steel. Why use flint and steel when they’ve invented the lighter?” To which I quickly replied: “Yes, but how many people have accidentally burned down their house with flint and steel?”

I’m in my senior year at Lynchburg College. Last year I had a house with 5 other guys, and the place was party central. After watching last year unfold, I can safely say that nothing good came out of  the drinking that took place in my house. We had people mixing their medication with their drinks, people throwing up, relationship drama, and had to call 9-11 on several occasions.

When you drink your ability to make good judgments goes down, that’s a fact. It’s like people here get drunk so they can fuck each other and make bad decisions and blame it on the alcohol. If they really regretted making bad decisions while drunk, they would stop drinking. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see the appeal of not being in control. I want to be able to control my actions and be able to make good decisions. I guess it’s called responsibility.

I’ve always been the responsible one. Last year I would drive crying drunk girls home, I would clean up if something happened, I would make sure the house didn’t burn down. I also had to talk to the emergency services whenever there was a problem because I was the only person not inebriated.  Eventually I got really fucking sick and tired of having to clean up after the irresponsible.

The first weekend back a “Liberty” “University” student came over to our apartment to party. “Liberty” “University” students often come over to my college campus to drink and party because their evangelical christian school bans all parties and alcohol. This student, a 19 year old girl, drank way too much and mixed her medication. Next thing we know she’s passed out on my friend’s bed in a giant pool of vomit, not responding. My housemates had to call 9-11….again…. I came out of my room to socialize only to find an emergency happening in my apartment.

“Liberty” “University” continues the tyranny

23 May

I must say, this does not surprise me in the least. “Liberty” “University” has banned democrats from their campus, sighting “moral” reasons. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that all the parts about Jesus teaching love and tolerance in the bible were the parts he didn’t want taken literally…..

Rachel Maddow interviewed the president of the now shut down Liberty University Democrats club:

It really must be some kind of dark joke naming the place “Liberty”. You can have all the liberty you want as long as you agree with our narrow minded bigoted positions.

What I find really interesting is that the school recieved a lot of complaints from the parents of some of the students attending about the mere existence of a democrats club. The parents want to send their adult children to an institution that treats them like they are seven, and they want the students to be shielded from people who have different views. How is this supposed to educate them? How are they supposed to interact in the real worl where not everyone is a religious bigot who thinks the world is 6,000 years old? By shutting down this club the school is saying “you can’t be a christian and a democrat at the same time”.  Really?

1. Jesus owned nothing. 2. Jesus argued for the dissolution of the family and the establishment of communes. 3. Jesus loved all people regardless of ethnicity or class. 4. Jesus revolted against the imperial government, established religion and finance capitalism (usury). 5. Jesus taught that we should act as one body, one blood. 6. Jesus taught that his kingdom (ie nation state) is in the heart and not below the feet. 7. Jesus taught that we should fight for Justice and ‘turn the other cheek’ to petty morality. 8. Jesus was a laborer and a teacher. 9. Jesus practiced healing and forgiveness. 10. Jesus taught that you can’t be an imperialist and a disciple at the same time.

The BS idea of “secular society” in America

24 Feb

I hear the phrase “secular society” thrown around a lot. Usually the people I hear using it are saying it with a tone of disgust in their voice, as if the secular society was keeping their religion from breathing easy, free from scrutiny or any kind of restraints.

So what exactly is a secular society? Well when I asked google to define it, all it did was point me to ” Consumer Behavior: Building Marketing Strategy“, a textbook. According to the textbook, a secular society is

“A society where the educational system, government, and political process are not controlled by a religious group, and most people’s daily behaviors are not guided by strict religious guidelines.”

So does America fit that profile? Sorta. Currently the educational system in this country is under attack by the “Intelligunt [sic] Design” people, or christian creationists in wolves’ clothing. Instead of teaching our children critical thinking skills, they rather have them stop questioning, give up, and say “god did it.” They purposely misuse the word “theory” and have no testable hypothesis of their own….but I digress….

As for the government and the political process, while they aren’t official theocracies like Iran, religion plays a big role, especially since the days of the Reagan administration. While Article VI section 3 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States” none the less, religious tests specifically baring Atheists were written into the state constitutions of Arkansas, Maryland, Texas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.  While the 14th amendment to the Constitution also prohibits these, it is damn near impossible for an Atheist to get elected to public office if they are open about their Atheism. (Only 1 congressman is openly Atheist, Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) and I doubt he was openly Atheist when he was running)

According to a study done by the University of Minnesota in 2006, Atheists are the least trusted group in American society…..our “secular society”…. Perhaps the bible should read “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for an Atheist to to get elected in America.

The funny thing about this “secular society” is that the majority of the people who make up society aren’t secular. According to the CIA World Fact Book , 84% of the country is religious, and of that 84%, 78.5% is christian! Of that 78.5%, over a full third go to church every Sunday!

The scary thing is that the Republican Party has been taken over by the christian right. Slowly ever since the Reagan years the christian right has infiltrated the party, moving it farther and farther into the right. We just go over 8 years of an Evangelical christian president, arguably one of the worst presidents in history. Just this past election season Gov. Sarah Palin, another christian fundamentalist, ran for vice president. Had McCain been elected, she would have been a heart beat away from running the most powerful nation on earth……this coming from a person who doesn’t believe in evolution, thinks the world is only 6,000 years old, and that the Iraq war is “God’s will“…. Even scarier, this woman, if you can call her that (her view’s about a woman’s rights are atrocious) isn’t going away any time soon. Something tells me she’ll be back. “Huckabee/Palin 2012″…..*shudders*

So what is “secular” in this “secular society”? Well the courts perhaps. They do require empirical evidence before they convict someone of a crime, and until then the people making the charge/claim have the burden of proof….so I guess that’s secular. You can’t really just walk in as say “I have faith that the defendant is guilty!” That type of reasoning might work with the religious, but not in the real world. Unfortunately, the same christian right that has taken over the Republican party has slowly been working to “infiltrate the profession [of lawyers and judges]” as the bigot Jerry Falwell pointed out when talking about “liberty” “university’s” “law” “school”.

The same logic and reasoning behind requiring observable evidence is the cornerstone of science, so I guess that makes science secular too. (But not if the ID idiots have their way) Science is everywhere in our society…well almost. It’s given you everything you use, from the computer you’re reading this on, to the fiber in your clothes, to your car, house, electricity, and medicine that makes you feel better and can even save your life. Yet nobody remembers that when they’re trashing our “secular society.”

“Liberty” “University” is neither…

10 Feb

The other day my girlfriend and I were driving down to the mall, passing “liberty” “university” when at a stop light a group of liberty students started angrily honking at me. They saw my atheist bumper sticker and gave me the finger. How christian of them. Who would Jesus flick off? I gave them the finger back as a knee-jerk reaction but instantly wished I had been more witty and given them the peace sign instead…

“Liberty” “university” is a sore on Lynchburg. Jerry Falwell, after being expelled from Lynchburg College for alcoholism, eventually established this christian extremist “school” and went about buying up as much of the town as he could. He also strong armed local businesses to conform to his will. A local movie theater was moved to be closer to LU in order so the students there could go see a movie and be back before their 11’oclock curfew.

Naming the “school” liberty” is some kind of Orwellian double speak joke. One look at “The liberty way” (their student hand book) shows that liberty has nothing to do with it. (I posted a link to another site that has the list, their website PDF is down at the time being) Here are some excerpts

1 Reprimand

Curfew violation (1 additional reprimand for each half-hour late until 2:00 a.m.)

4 Reprimands + Written Warning

Absence from required meeting

Disturbance/non-participation during Convocation

Dress/hair code violation: male or female

Horseplay (plus financial restitution)

Improper personal contact (anything beyond hand-holding)

Improper sign out

Missing Convocation

Music code violation

Outside residence hall after curfew

Unauthorized borrowing (plus financial restitution)

6 Reprimands + $35 Fine

Attendance at a dance [WTF?!?!]

Direct disobedience/disrespect

Gambling

Improper social behavior

Possession and/or use of tobacco

Visiting residence lobby or entryway of opposite sex on campus or allowing the same

12 Reprimands + $70 Fine

Attendance at, possession or viewing of, an “R,” “NC-17” or “X”-rated movie

Deception

Entering the space above ceiling tiles [happen often?]

Obscene, profane or abusive language or behavior

Out of residence hall overnight or substantial portion of the night without permission (after 2:00 a.m.)

Participation in an unauthorized petition or demonstration [1st Amendment rights? WTF.]

Possession and/or viewing of pornography

Students of the opposite sex visiting alone at an off-campus residence

Visiting the residence hallway of the opposite sex

18 Reprimands + $100 Fine

(regardless of previously paid fines) + 18 hours Disciplinary Community Service + 50% Scholarship Reduction

Association with those consuming alcohol

Failure to properly identify oneself

Racial harassment

Sexual harassment (i.e., unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other conduct or comments of a sexual nature)

Sexual misconduct and/or any state of undress

Visiting bedroom of the opposite sex on/off campus or allowing the same

30 Reprimands + $150 Fine

(regardless of previously paid fines) + 30 hours Disciplinary Community Service + possible Administrative Withdrawal and/or possible 100% Scholarship Reduction. NOTE: For each accumulation of six (6) or more reprimands after 30, an additional $150 fine will be assessed.

Abortion [wow….]

Failure of three (3) Christian/Community Services without reconciliation

Immorality [meaning what?]

Involvement with witchcraft, seances or other satanic or demonic activity [Hahahahaha! This is hilarious!]

Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages

Spending the night with a person of the opposite sex

Two or more individuals of the opposite sex together in motel room

“Liberty” alright….wow….just wow. They’re really big on the no sex thing. The ironic twist is that a lot of parents send their poor kids to this jesus freak “school” to “pray the gay away” and the kids are locked up in dorms with all the same sex…..priceless.

As for the “university” part. The “school’s” biology department denies evolution. How the hell can you have biology without evolution? You can’t! Modern medicine and science are built upon the idea of evolution. The scary thing is I’ve heard they want to try and create a medical doctor program….A doctor that doesn’t believe your disease will evolve if you don’t take all your medication, and that if you die under his care you’ll go to a better place……wow.

The “school” also claims to have dinosaur bones that are 3,ooo years old….That’s a disgrace to science and education. You can see Dawkins go off when he hears about this here. The place is disgusting. Founded by the son of a bootlegger who shot his brother, Jerry Falwell is a horrendous bigot. He even went on to say that 9/11 was god’s will. The scary thing is Falwell told Legal Affairs magazine that the LU “school” of law is “training lawyers to infiltrate the profession to return the country to a Judeo-Christian model.”

The “school” also leaves a physical scare on the town of Lynchburg. They cut down a huge section of trees on a local hill to put up a tacky “LU” on the mountain top:

The sad thing is, the school gets their students to change their address to Lynchburg so they can vote in local elections. The influx of about 25,000 more votes gives the school a lot of power to shape elections in the small town. I’m not sure if they currently have control of city council through their own chosen alums, but if they do then the council and zoning powers become a rubber-stamp for this extremist group.