PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Kevin Roose managed to blend in during his single semester at Liberty University, attending lectures on the myth of evolution and the sin of homosexuality, and joining fellow students on a mission trip to evangelize partyers on spring break.
Roose had transferred to the Virginia campus from Brown University in Providence, a famously liberal member of the Ivy League. His Liberty classmates knew about the switch, but he kept something more important hidden: He planned to write a book about his experience at the school founded by fundamentalist preacher Jerry Falwell.
Roose explains the reason for his infiltration:
"As a responsible American citizen, I couldn't just ignore the fact that there are a lot of Christian college students out there," said Roose, 21, now a Brown senior. "If I wanted my education to be well-rounded, I had to branch out and include these people that I just really had no exposure to."
We have to give Roose credit here. Unlike most liberals, he actually opened himself up to contrary ideas. Something his parents found hard to understand:
Roose's parents, liberal Quakers who once worked for Ralph Nader, were nervous about their son being exposed to Falwell's views. Still, Roose transferred to Liberty for the spring 2007 semester.
He was determined to not mock the school, thinking it would be too easy _ and unfair. He aimed to immerse himself in the culture, examine what conservative Christians believe and see if he could find some common ground. He had less weighty questions too: How did they spend Friday nights? Did they use Facebook? Did they go on dates? Did they watch "Gossip Girl?"
Did they Twitter? Did they use electricity? Did they eat with utensils?
He lined up a publisher _ Grand Central Publishing _ and arrived at the Lynchburg campus prepared for "hostile ideologues who spent all their time plotting abortion clinic protests and sewing Hillary Clinton voodoo dolls."
Instead, he found that "not only are they not that, but they're rigorously normal."
GASP! But how can that be? Haven't all good liberals been taught that Liberty University students are a bunch of ignorant hateful yahoos foaming at the mouth? Kevin Roose appeared to have strayed dangerously from the Party Line.
He met students who use Bible class to score dates, apply to top law schools and fret about their futures, and who enjoy gossip, hip-hop and R-rated movies _ albeit in a locked dorm room.
Stop! You're making the LU students sound too normal!
A roommate he depicts as aggressively anti-gay _ all names are changed in the book _ is an outcast on the hall, not a role model.
But...but where's all the hate?
Roose researched the school by joining as many activites as possible. He accompanied classmates on a spring break missionary trip to Daytona Beach. He visited a campus support group for chronic masturbators, where students were taught to curb impure thoughts. And he joined the choir at Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church.
Roose scored an interview with the preacher for the school newspaper, right before Falwell died in May of that year. Roose decided against confronting him over his views on liberals, gays and other hot-button topics, and instead learned about the man himself, discovering among other things that the pastor loved diet peach Snapple and the TV show "24."
You mean Falwell wasn't consumed with hate 24/7 as all good liberals "know" as absolute fact?
And now something that will really disturb the "tolerant" liberals:
Once ambivalent about faith, Roose now prays to God regularly _ for his own well-being and on behalf of others. He said he owns several translations of the Bible and has recently been rereading meditations from the letters of John on using love and compassion to solve cultural conflicts.
He's even considering joining a church.
This latter must be very upsetting to liberals including his own parents. Sonny Boy! Where did we go wrong? To see just how upset the liberals are over this book, just read a few examples of intolerace in the Huffington Post comments section:
Wow, that must be a pretty good brainwashing program they've got there. That or this guy is weak sauce. You wouldn't catch me praying to some magic sky daddy if I spent a THOUSAND years at Liberty "University."
He should have gone to a deprogrammer to complete the experience.
I wish he'd done an MRI before and after. It appears he's been brainwashed. Long periods of time with cults will do that.
I hope he's been debriefed and re-socialized into the real world. Never visit the darkside.
So it turns out that Kevin Roose did discover intolerance due to spending a semester at Liberty University and, as we can see from these comments, it is now coming from the left.
Welcome to the Brave New World of ironic reality, Kevin.