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The school unquestionably remains a hub of fervent religious and political conservatism.
The student code of conduct is explicit about its goal of helping students become “more Christ-like.” It bans gambling, “horseplay” and attendance at a dance.
Speaking to large and sometimes skeptical audiences is what presidential candidates do.
And Sanders, who’ll be speaking from the most left-leaning end of the political spectrum, probably has more trouble reaching audiences like Liberty’s than almost anyone else.
Six years later, David Nasser, Liberty’s senior vice president for spiritual development, set about booking guest speakers for the school’s “convocations,” the semiweekly school assemblies that evolved from chapel services.
And Liberty has become a near-mandatory stop on the campaign route for conservative candidates.“It is very easy for a candidate to speak to people who hold the same views,” Sanders said Wednesday in comments relayed by a spokesman.“It’s harder but important to reach out to others who look at the world differently.” What’s less clear is why Liberty, a school that has made its name as a pilgrimage site for the country’s top conservatives, would offer him their soapbox. Jerry Falwell, a televangelist and icon of the religious right.Those rules appealed to some students — “Christians are supposed to be different,” 18-year-old Michelle Brown, a freshman in 1985, told The Washington Post at the time — but they were often at odds with Falwell’s ambitions for expansion.In 1993, the school agreed to drop many of its most stringent religious requirements in order to keep receiving state tuition assistance grants. Kennedy gave a famous speech on religious tolerance at a convocation more than 40 years ago.