- Deseret News - Saturday, October 31, 2015

At the world’s largest Christian university, “The Liberty Way” molds students’ experiences in and out of the classroom.

The handbook of Virginia’s Liberty University preserves a purpose of the campus community “obtaining a superior education in fidelity to the Christian faith,” its website states.

Alexandra Markovich wrote for The Washington Post that “The Liberty Way” stipulates what the university’s student population can and can’t do — such as watch R-rated movies and hug for longer than three seconds, in the 2014 edition — based on Christian principles.

And these rules, compounded with its founding by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, have made it one of the most notable faith-based institutions: Newsmax named it No. 1 on its list of the “Top 100 Evangelical Christian Colleges.”

Liberty University, the pride and joy of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, is one of the fastest-rising universities in American education,” according to Newsmax.

“…Firebrand Texas Sen. Ted Cruz chose Liberty’s weekly convocation to launch his presidential campaign. And just to prove that faith transcends political fault lines, liberal Democratic standard-bearer Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke there as well.”

Mr. Cruz meshed religious themes and his family’s personal stories, Ryan Teague Beckwith wrote for Time.

“God has blessed America from the very beginning of this nation, and I believe God isn’t done with America yet,” Time quoted Mr. Cruz as saying at his campaign’s launch in March.

According to Time, Mr. Cruz went on to discuss abolishing the IRS, repealing the Affordable Care Act, and asking what would happen if millions of people went out to the polls and voted their values.

However, Mr. Sanders’ appearance at Liberty marked a stark contrast, CNN indicated.

Mr. Sanders acknowledged he and the university’s crowd disagreed on some issues — same-sex marriage and abortion included. But CNN reported the surprise speech by the self-described socialist from Vermont at the conservative university went well.

Ms. Markovich linked the event to another shift made by Liberty: revisions to “the Liberty Way” for the 2015 edition.

“Change is in the air at Liberty University: couples can now do more than hold hands in public without fear of fine, men can wear ponytails, and students can watch R-rated movies (with “caution”),” Ms. Markovich wrote. “Liberty, the largest Christian university in the world, has relaxed its rules this semester to give its students more freedom.”

Announcing simplification to “The Liberty Way” just before the fall semester’s start, Liberty dropped other codes like witchcraft practiced among students garnering a $500 fine, Ms. Markovich noted. In addition, the university’s students previously had to attend all convocations but can now miss one; Mr. Cruz’s spring visit “sparked a media firestorm” when students were forced to attend his speech.

Kevin Roose wrote for Fusion that Liberty’s revisions represent larger moves made by faith-based schools recently.

Young evangelicals, in particular, don’t hold quite as conservative values as their parents — so adaptation to “the changing times” in some regards is necessary, according to Fusion.

“Liberty, like many other evangelical colleges and universities, is (very) gradually starting to resemble its secular counterparts,” Fusion’s report read.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide