Liberty University Backs Down On Favoring Republican Club

Last month there were reports that Liberty University had banned the Democratic Club. Americans United for Separation of Church and State complained to the IRS as Liberty, a tax-exempt institution, was providing funding for the Republican Club. Liberty University has backed down:

Americans United for Separation of Church and State reacted quickly when word spread recently that officials at Liberty University had revoked university recognition of a student Democratic Party club.

AU, noting that recognition and funding were still being extended to a Republican club on campus, asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the matter. Liberty University, as a tax-exempt institution, could not lawfully favor one party over another, Americans United asserted.

Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. went ballistic. He even accused AU of being partisan and ordered his legal lackeys to draft a phony complaint to the IRS.

But now it turns out that Falwell is essentially admitting that we were right all along and agreeing that the university has an obligation to treat both clubs equally.

Falwell has announced a new policy at Liberty. Under its terms, both the Republican and Democratic clubs will be considered “unofficial.” Such clubs can use the university’s name but won’t receive any funding.

The students who run Liberty’s Democratic club say they think the compromise could work. Americans United considers the new policy a big step in the right direction but intends to keep an eye on the situation.

The one thing we’ve learned over the years about the Falwells is that they don’t always keep their word. They are quite capable of saying one thing and doing another, so we’ll remain on alert.

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