In Welcoming Sanders, Liberty University Shows the Left How to Handle Dissent

Is there something unique at a faith-driven campus that allows people the freedom to debate without recourse to violence and intimidation?

Why is it that conservative Christians are the adults in the room while liberals turn schools into ideologically rigid precincts with safe houses for infantile students? Many of us have observed that liberalism is illiberal and intolerant, often to the point of intimidation or violence. But why is this? Many of us have observed that liberalism is illiberal and intolerant, often to the point of intimidation or violence. But why is this? One answer might be that liberalism is an ideology, and Christianity is not.

 

Most have heard by now that Senator Bernie Sanders spoke at Liberty University yesterday. Liberty, of course, is the university masthead for conservative Christianity and the origin of the Jerry Falwell enterprise. Its influence in merging conservative Christianity with Republicans politics is well known.

Sanders, of course, is the notoriously liberal — nay, socialist — United States senator from Vermont now running a long-shot bid for the presidency. Sanders is an avowed progressive whose views earnestly mimic those of European statists. He’s pro–gay rights, pro–gay marriage, and pro-abortion. On issues near and dear to conservative Christians — life and marriage — Sanders stands as far to the left as is possible in America. As a conservative Christian, I can tell you that the ideological ingredients of Sanders’s campaign are not pleasing to conservative Christians. So the presence of Sanders at Liberty is an odd sight.

But something happened yesterday that is worth noting: All reports indicate that Sanders was received with the utmost warmth, respect, and kindness by the university and its students. Liberty students received no trigger warnings prior to Sanders’s speech.

The media set-up of Sanders’s visit would have one believe that the senator was offering himself as a sacrificial lamb to hordes of intolerant, conservative Christians who would relish humiliating him. But that didn’t happen. Instead, Sanders delivered a speech with no interruptions or mass protest. There was no jeering. No one held up signs denouncing Sanders as a baby-killing progressive. As far as I could tell, Sanders had no need of security guards or police protection.

Moreover, Liberty students received no trigger warnings prior to Sanders’s speech. Nor did the school provide campus “safe spaces” where students could seek calm and coddling after being traumatized by his leftist ideas.

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