Leftists are now openly asking the IRS to once again threaten the tax exempt status of a non-profit. This time it is Liberty University.
Recently, Senator Ted Cruz announced his candidacy for the Presidency of the United States on twitter. This was the first time twitter was used for such an announcement. This was historic in of itself. Later that day, the Senator’s first public speech after his announcement was at Liberty University. President Falwell of Liberty University clearly stated that Cruz’s appearance was not an endorsement of his candidacy.
This is in keeping with university tradition as well as the law. In recent years, speakers of many persuasions have appeared on campus to challenge students while the doctrinal position of Liberty University has remained abundantly clear.
Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation for Church and State, sent a letter to the IRS recently asking that the IRS initiate an investigation into Liberty University’s tax exempt status.
Barry Lynn’s letter is troubling in its lack of fact, distortions, and omissions:
-Senator Cruz did not announce his candidacy for the Presidency at Liberty University as implied in the IRS letter. He announced it on twitter.
-President Falwell clearly stated Senator Cruz’s appearance at Liberty University was not an endorsement. It was a historical day for the campus, regardless, and many political figures have visited the campus, in and out of election season, along with leaders from the Church, business, sports, the arts, and other venues.
-Barry Lynn rehashed the old lie about students being forced to sit through, specifically, Senator Cruz’s speech when in fact students have been required to attend convocation three times a week since 1971, the year Liberty was founded.
-Barry Lynn mentions an alleged 2010 incident involving the Virginia House of Delegates that he blames on Liberty University and the campus newspaper. There was a special election held in June 2010 for the Virginia House of Delegates but those two seats are far from Liberty University. Further, in June 2010 the campus is largely empty for summer break and the campus newspaper did not, and still does not, print summer semester editions.
-Barry Lynn failed to mention the diversity of Liberty University convocation in that not everyone in the crowd supported Senator Cruz, as is their constitutional and Biblical right. Some even wore shirts supporting another possible Republican candidate. Lynn failed to mention the standing ovations the Senator Cruz received, which were not mandatory, including perhaps the loudest standing ovation that was received for a bipartisan issue; the need to unequivocally support the State of Israel.
Initially, my reaction in reading Barry Lynn’s letter was to discard it with the rest of my junk mail. His past claims against Liberty have been consistently tossed and found without merit. However, coming in the wake of the IRS targeting churches and other conservative organizations, his letter gives pause.
The current IRS audited conservative leaning groups that applied for tax exempt status. Further, this same IRS did not just target conservative organizations that were applying for tax exempt status but already established organizations such as the Leadership Institute, which had to pay over $70,000 in fees in responding to an audit that was for naught. Perhaps most egregiously the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the parent ministry of possibly America’s most respected pastor, was also audited by this IRS, again costing the ministry many thousands of dollars.
It is scary that leftists get more and more brazen about using the government to attack non profits like the Leadership Institute and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. They attack the Church and they have to use the government to achieve their objectives that they cannot achieve in the public square. Now they attack education.
Perhaps this is not surprising as people have hated Christianity and Judaism for thousands of years. Yet, when people actually get to know Liberty University and its people they may change their mind. Liberty is not out there telling other campuses what to do. It leads by example in teaching its students the Christ like values of dignity and respect, even in disagreement.
Never will I forget being in one of the three largest American cities some years ago and the admissions director of a university, that is most decidedly leftist, telling me off record that he wished he had more Liberty students in their programs because Liberty students were honest, hard working, and diligent. He also told me they were respectful saying “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am” to the professors until they were asked to stop because professors weren’t used to it.
You cannot t mandate standing ovations for speakers. It is hard to fake extra thousands of people showing up to convocation when the on campus population of Liberty is 7,700 and the 11,000 seat Liberty University Vines Center was filled beyond capacity as were other viewing locations on campus. It cannot fake the respect that Liberty students have shown to speakers of all political persuasions. Facts cannot be faked so some will try to intimidate, even using the government that is supposed to protect the people; not harm them. The leftists are not interested in compromise. They get ever more progressive with every election. They have to because the end goal is more government power and less people power. If they got everything they wanted in this election, four years later they would be even more progressive and promise more money from our grandchildren to us.
The left will only be satisfied when there is no Liberty University or when the university renounces its Christian roots like so many other once great universities did. This is the goal of leftism. It is not anti religion but rather the religion of eventual, and ultimate, government control. In doing so, they employ the anaconda litigation strategy of trying to strangle entities such as Liberty, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and Little Sisters of the Poor through government mandates and/or civil litigation.
Stand strong for Liberty. Protect the house. To donate to Liberty University, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, or the Leadership Institute go to http://www.liberty.edu/offices/development/ http://billygraham.org/give/give-online/