Bernie Sanders’s Liberty University speech, annotated

"You are a school which, as all of us in our own way, tries to understand the meaning of morality. What does is mean to live a moral life?"

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Aaron Blumer's picture

While we're harvesting babies for research and actively opposing marriage the most immoral thing he can find to complain about is income inequality.

(And as usual with his tribe, doesn't bother to explain why we should expect people to have equal incomes)

jimcarwest's picture

In the desire to be open-minded, Liberty allows those who are the enemies of the basic values of Christianity as well as the opponents of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" to be treated with credibility.  What a travesty!  Sanders tries to equate four religions of the world on some quasi-moral grounds of the "Golden Rule." By including Islam, he perpetrates the lie it practices by ordering the taxation and killing of opponents to that religion.  Apparently, judging by the favorable applause/yells, there are many at this so-called Christian university that are in agreement with Sanders on the subject of abortion and gay marriage.  I should think that Jerry Falwell might have rolled over in his grave.  Is Liberty U. so hard-pressed for funds and notoriety that it has to moderate its convictions to gain a good press?  Very disappointing!

Aaron Blumer's picture

I actually wouldn't begrudge LU having a liberal speaker in. It can be done well or done poorly, but academic institutions do well to give students some variety. You can always deconstruct the thing in class afterwards, which I hope happened a good bit in this case... to the degree it was even necessary.

But given the trends, I'm not confident. Sound economic theory and coherent political philosophy have been so widely neglected for so long.

jimcarwest's picture

Unless some spokesman at Liberty makes a comment to the press about Liberty's rejection of Sander's point of view, it can appear that Liberty considers his liberal point of view tolerable, especially when a sizeable number of students applaud wholly un-bliblical and morally objectionable points of view.  Liberty students can easily research on line what Sanders thinks.  They don't need to have the school exposing them to ideas that are foreign to biblical thinking.  As a Christian institution, Liberty should teach the Christian point of view and compare all other ideas to that frame of reference.  It's the idea of identifying the counterfeit by exposure to the genuine.  

DLCreed's picture

Carwest... "They don't need to have the school exposing them to ideas that are foreign to biblical thinking. "

Yes...because intellectual isolationism has worked so well for Fundamentalism in the past.

 Carwest... "As a Christian institution, Liberty should teach the Christian point of view and compare all other ideas to that frame of reference. "

Which is exactly what they do.

Someone should probably note that there is a difference between being a Socialist and a being Heretic.  You can be both or you can be neither or you can be one or the other.  But having a liberal arts Christian college educate their students about an "unAmerican" system of government is hardly the equivalent of inviting a heretic to join their faculty.  Apples meet oranges.

I'm always stunned that the default setting of many is that we have done such a poor job rearing and teaching and discipling our children that the first time they get exposed to something unBiblical they will abandon all their training and rush to embrace the dark side.  I've always found when having lunch or coffee or a conversation with someone who is my polar opposite that I have the opportunity to educate THEM to a Biblical worldview and what drives my philosophy.  But then, that assumes that one can actually believe a Biblical worldview sufficiently to interact with the pagans.

I just know I'm going to regret not listening to my inner voice to just sit this thread out...

GregH's picture

DLCreed wrote:

Carwest... "They don't need to have the school exposing them to ideas that are foreign to biblical thinking. "

Yes...because intellectual isolationism has worked so well for Fundamentalism in the past.

 Carwest... "As a Christian institution, Liberty should teach the Christian point of view and compare all other ideas to that frame of reference. "

Which is exactly what they do.

Someone should probably note that there is a difference between being a Socialist and a being Heretic.  You can be both or you can be neither or you can be one or the other.  But having a liberal arts Christian college educate their students about an "unAmerican" system of government is hardly the equivalent of inviting a heretic to join their faculty.  Apples meet oranges.

I'm always stunned that the default setting of many is that we have done such a poor job rearing and teaching and discipling our children that the first time they get exposed to something unBiblical they will abandon all their training and rush to embrace the dark side.  I've always found when having lunch or coffee or a conversation with someone who is my polar opposite that I have the opportunity to educate THEM to a Biblical worldview and what drives my philosophy.  But then, that assumes that one can actually believe a Biblical worldview sufficiently to interact with the pagans.

I just know I'm going to regret not listening to my inner voice to just sit this thread out...

Exactly right. You actually can be a Christian and a socialist you know. There really is room under the tent of Christianity for people who disagree on economic theory. I don't know how we have gotten to the point where we all have to be capitalists to be good Christians.

Greg Long's picture

I'm not sure that's really the point, Greg. I don't believe Liberty allowed Sanders to speak because they have any notion of agreeing with anything he says or that it is in any way Christian, but because they simply (if I'm not mistaken) have a standing invitation for all presidential candidates to speak at convocation, liberal or conservative.

I'm really not sure how someone can defend socialism biblically, although many try. Socialism misses one important biblical truth--the doctrine of the depravity of man (when it places its faith in government to solve all our problems).

But Aaron Blumer has said and can say much more to this point than I can.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

RickyHorton's picture

jimcarwest wrote:

Apparently, judging by the favorable applause/yells, there are many at this so-called Christian university that are in agreement with Sanders on the subject of abortion and gay marriage.  I should think that Jerry Falwell might have rolled over in his grave.  Is Liberty U. so hard-pressed for funds and notoriety that it has to moderate its convictions to gain a good press?  Very disappointing!

Are you sure those were students applauding the views on abortion and gay marriage?  Was it open to the public as well?  I'd have to know the answers to those questions before I could criticize.  Even then, you could only criticize the students...Liberty is very outspoken about their stance on abortion and gay marriage. 

Larry Nelson's picture

 

RickyHorton wrote:

Are you sure those were students applauding the views on abortion and gay marriage?  Was it open to the public as well?  I'd have to know the answers to those questions before I could criticize.  Even then, you could only criticize the students...Liberty is very outspoken about their stance on abortion and gay marriage. 

 

"Throughout his speech, Sanders was met with loud applause from a pocket of supporters seated near the stage, many unaffiliated with the university. The reaction from the students was generally less enthusiastic, but still positive. His biggest applause lines came when he quoted the Bible and praised the school for being a proudly religious institution."

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"Not surprisingly, judging by their applause, most of the student audience didn’t agree with Sanders. The biggest applause line didn't come from the candidate but from Nasser, who asked Sanders about protecting “children in the womb.” Several students said they were leaning toward supporting Republican Ben Carson, Sanders's political polar opposite, for president.

Still, the students lived up to the idea that the convocation should serve as a platform for ideas, and that even the ones they don't like should be heard. There were moments when the audience murmured in obvious disagreement—including when Sanders praised President Barack Obama—but there wasn't the kind of loud booing that such a clash of ideology might be expected to inspire."

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-09-14/bernie-sanders-and...

Mark_Smith's picture

Christian students at Liberty to behave well with Bernie Sanders, a presidential candidate, speaking to them. Even if you disagree vehemently, you still respect him during his talk, rather than booing constantly.

Joel Shaffer's picture

I'm really not sure how someone can defend socialism biblically, although many try. Socialism misses one important biblical truth--the doctrine of the depravity of man (when it places its faith in government to solve all our problems).

I do know a few people that are conservative evangelicals from other countries (England, Sweden) that hold to the doctrine of depravity that lean socialist in their political-economic views.  They also see the doctrine of depravity among the private sector as well and prefer more government intervention to deal with the sins of individual and society.  I sharply disagree with them, because I see many more unintended negative consequences taking place with more government intervention.   

Ron Bean's picture

What scares me the most is that the students whose faith is weak may be lured to abandon what they believe and become pro-abortion socialists or at the least Democrats or Libertarians.

(I pass on my usual temptation to make a "Village" reference.)

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Dan Miller's picture

12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy [1] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

A Tree and Its Fruit

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

I Never Knew You

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Larry Nelson's picture

 

"You know, that ranting, old loon makes a lot of sense.   I think I'll go organize a worker's collective at my part-time, on-campus job---before I quit my job, of course.  Next, I'll join the nearest Occupy  protest---I've always wanted to sleep in a gutter and not bathe for two weeks.  Those capitalist pig one-percenters really must learn their place!   Hmmm......I wonder if the school's library has any books by Noam Chomsky on the shelves?..........."

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(Well, maybe nobody  at Liberty actually said this........)    =)

KD Merrill's picture

At the risk of sounding like a fundamentalist, I'm having trouble remembering all the times in the OT when the Israelites had foreign leaders in to address the good people of Jerusalem.  Seems like anytime the Jews were "open-minded" and listened to those opposed God, they ran into trouble.   Not that they should serve as an example or we could learn anything from the OT, mind you, because you all are probably much smarter than them due to the academic diversity that's apparently the new standard.   

It's not enough for students to be exposed to a humanistic worldview on their own, schools who claim to be "Christian" now need to ensure that if there are any who still haven't been infected, they are obliged to place it front and center so that it has maximum impact, front and center, because, ya know, the wisdom of the world is so much more powerful and effective than the message of the cross.

After having said all that, I'm still having trouble for some reason picturing Jehoshaphat having Ahab down to Jerusalem to give a speech espousing his debased worldview.  Probably due to that funny mentalist Paul who thought we could learn something from the OT.  I should pay more attention to you guys...

Greg Long's picture

Thanks to you, KD, I realize I've made a big mistake when I've taught my "Exploring Other Faiths" class at our church, where we go to the Hindu temple, Buddhist temple, Catholic basilica, Jewish synagogue, and Islamic mosque to hear them each tell us first person what they believe.

What's really strange, though, is that I have yet to have any of my students convert to one of those religions. In fact, they've all said they've been strengthened in their own faith and more informed about how to reach out to people of other faiths. Weird, huh?

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Aaron Blumer's picture

I'm not sure why the concept is difficult... I mean, if I were running a school, would I have Sanders in to speak? Doesn't feel likely. But an academic institution exists to give students experiences they would not have on their own. You are supposed to be exposed to ideas you disagree with, people you disagree with, etc. 

And there is no substitute for in-person interaction w/people you disagree with. You can read American left ideas anywhere, but it's not like talking with and listening to someone who holds to these convictions--especially someone well informed and mature who holds to them. 

  1. It's far more interesting... but you have to be interested in people and ideas to benefit from that.
  2. It's more sympathetic... real human beings hold these ideas--not just the caricatures (or maybe straw men) that are so commonly erected by those who disagree with them (often from a vast distance)
  3. It's more empowering...  I've tried to make this point before and it's still hard to articulate to my own satisfaction. Maybe I've said it well enough. Another go: there is never anything to lose from genuinely understanding and deeply understanding ideas we disagree with, and there is much to gain. Counterarguments against misunderstood positions miss their mark, even if only slightly (but usually widely). When we don't understand the motives involved, unsympathetic pushback tends to win no one--and is least effective when aimed at those who stand the most to gain from it (usually third parties)

I guess I do have to qualify in one way... If effort to understand faulty views isn't accompanied by (a) a strong commitment to truth and/or (b) an adequate understand of the truth, understanding can lead to confusion. But there is never any growing in your thinking or your apologia without taking that risk.

As for me, there are few things I've found more interesting than a thoughtful, humane, well-informed person who disagrees with me in substantial ways, especially if they've got arguments I haven't heard before.

 

OK, long post but back to the topic... I have serious doubts that political speeches by candidates is the best way to achieve what I've described. Much better as panel discussions, small groups, or one-on-one conversation.

KD Merrill's picture

I should have seen that coming.  The infallible Word of Pragmatism has been introduced to the discussion.  

I was apparently under the misguided assumption that we should rely on Scriptural commands, principles and examples with regard to conducting ourselves.  I forgot that human experience is a much more sound guide.  If it works, it must be right!  

How foolish of me.

"O wise Galatians!  Great job giving the Judaizers your full attention!  Now you'll be able to make an educated decision about Christ and the law."   ~ Galatians 3:1  (NPV) 

Kevin Miller's picture

KD Merrill wrote:

I should have seen that coming.  The infallible Word of Pragmatism has been introduced to the discussion.  

I was apparently under the misguided assumption that we should rely on Scriptural commands, principles and examples with regard to conducting ourselves.  I forgot that human experience is a much more sound guide.  If it works, it must be right!  

How foolish of me.

"O wise Galatians!  Great job giving the Judaizers your full attention!  Now you'll be able to make an educated decision about Christ and the law."   ~ Galatians 3:1  (NPV) 

If we are going to look at "Scriptural commands, principles and examples," then wouldn't sending kids off to a Bible College be a pragmatic thing in the first place? We have Biblical principles of teaching the younger generation, but the examples are within the family or the church, not some far-flung school that you need to pay for.

Greg Long's picture

So it's a bad thing to do something that is intended to get people to think through their beliefs and be strengthened in their faith? You would rather they not do those things? Color me confused.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

jimcarwest's picture

The Bible is quite plain about our giving audience to evil thinkers.  "What communion has light with darkness?  What fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness?  What concord has Christ with Belial?  What part has he that believes with an infidel?"  That pretty well spells it out.  Our Christian youth don't need to be subjected to the falsehood and nonsense of ungodly, liberal thinking men and women.  Evil thinking has a certain appeal that those weak in the faith do not easily detect.  They can find out all they need to know by reading and researching.  

Falwell was wrong to invite Kennedy to speak.  Liberty has consistently exposed impressionable students to false teachers.  Jerry Falwell did it in the beginning years to gain the notoriety of a school that he bragged would one day compete in sports with the Big 10.  Accreditation was the god of Liberty along with many other schools, and they wanted to be recognized by the secular world on a par with other universities.  This will be their eventual undoing, I fear.

KD Merrill's picture

Greg Long wrote:

So it's a bad thing to do something that is intended to get people to think through their beliefs and be strengthened in their faith? You would rather they not do those things? Color me confused.

Did I say that?  Did I even imply that?  C'mon, Greg.  That's just a thoughtless, knee-jerk response.

Of course, Christians need to be ready to give an answer for the reason of the hope that lies within us.  They need to be so acquainted with the truth that they can spot a counterfeit a mile away.  They need to have the dangers of other false religions/worldviews pointed out by mature, experienced Godly believers so that they can avoid being caught up by them (as Paul did with the Galatians, as John did with his audience).  Do you argue that as the Biblical model?

Greg Long's picture

My answer was simply in kind to your original sarcastic posts.

Are you saying that you are certain that Sanders speech was not evaluated by professors at liberty in classes, helping students think through what he said from a biblical worldview?

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

KD Merrill's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

KD Merrill wrote:

 

I should have seen that coming.  The infallible Word of Pragmatism has been introduced to the discussion.  

I was apparently under the misguided assumption that we should rely on Scriptural commands, principles and examples with regard to conducting ourselves.  I forgot that human experience is a much more sound guide.  If it works, it must be right!  

How foolish of me.

"O wise Galatians!  Great job giving the Judaizers your full attention!  Now you'll be able to make an educated decision about Christ and the law."   ~ Galatians 3:1  (NPV) 

 

 

If we are going to look at "Scriptural commands, principles and examples," then wouldn't sending kids off to a Bible College be a pragmatic thing in the first place? We have Biblical principles of teaching the younger generation, but the examples are within the family or the church, not some far-flung school that you need to pay for.

By no means would I argue that the Biblical primary teaching role belongs in the home and church.  Having said that, there appears to be some Scriptural precedent for other means of education, i.e. the schools of the prophets in the OT.  Wouldn't you agree?

 

KD Merrill's picture

Greg Long wrote:

My answer was simply in kind to your original sarcastic posts.

LOL.  No.  No, it really wasn't.  There's a big difference between the two.  One of them directly addressed the argument put forth by some within this thread, while the other invented a straw man to conveniently ignore the counterpoint.  One of them is grounded in Biblical precedent, the other in pragmatism.

Greg Long wrote:

Are you saying that you are certain that Sanders speech was not evaluated by professors at liberty in classes, helping students think through what he said from a biblical worldview?

No.  Did you see that at all in my posts?  I'm saying that Sanders shouldn't have been invited there to spew forth his humanistic dogma.  

"OK, everyone, lay down your spears and shovels.  Please give Sanballat and Tobiah your rapt attention and afterward, your elders will help point out the flaws in their speech," said Nehemiah never.

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