His new book The Unlikely Disciple looks like an important next step in our collective walk out of the valley of darkness. He dared to transfer for a semester from Brown to Liberty University. Large congrats from someone who’s been reading about this movement, its founder and this campus for a long time but never wanted to set foot there. Neither will I. It’s just better for everyone concerned. Let’s just leave it at that.
Anyway, what I glean from the HuffPo piece herein linked however clumsily http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/22/kevin-roose-infiltrates-l_n_190124.html says he went there with an open mind and willingness to accept that these students might not actually be what he’d imagined. Roose dares to say that Liberty U. students are—human beings, as capable of flaw and self-deception as the rest of us. He also says something that (I should admit) surprised me—the express ostracizing of someone who was out as a homophobe. Of course, we also get the testimony of one student who said the massacre at VT was a drop of blood in the bucket compared to the abortion tally.
So, if you pick up this book, be prepared to meet people who might very will piss you right off, like the Miss USA contestant who referred to “opposite marriage” (she could’ve been a Liberty student, I keep wanting to say, but Roose keeps telling me I’m wrong). But, look: sometimes getting pissed off is still the right response. The Left should’ve been a helluva lot more outraged than it was in ’00; blame it on Y2K fatigue, God alone knows, but no one seemed to have enough balls left for that fight. At the time, a lawful but absolute protest was called for; no one showed.
Anyway, some free props for a book I’ll look foward to reading upon publication. One of the pleasures of aging is the chance to rethink old positions. Falwell’s dead and, perhaps, so is the Christian Right he did so much to support. I can applaud the death of an idea although, as I’ve said here before, not the death of a human being (BTW, we get in Roose’s interview with Falwell, which must be the real gem, more details about the diet that helped to kill him; I only mention it because, hey, he’s not alone—every meal I eat scares me now in that I question every calorie and, like JF, I have a thing for fast food. I’m just sayin’). Not ever. Roose is doing something I couldn’t dream of doing as a writer by immersing himself so thoroughly into the LU culture, to the point of even going to Daytona Beach during Spring Break—to help evangelize the mostly nude, surely inebriated partiers. That’s going far further than I would ever imagine. I’ll have to read it to take that step.