Censorship is one of the most dangerous tools used by those determined to undermine democracy and freedom.

As long as opinions are not inciting dangerous practices, violence, or hatred against anyone, any effort to inhibit the free flow of ideas sets a dangerous precedent.

For the leader of an institution of higher education to interfere in that institution’s freedom to publish a harmless expression of opinion simply because it is not in harmony with that leader’s personal but highly public political stance is reprehensible.

Joel Schmieg is the sports editor for Liberty University’s official newspaper the Liberty Champion. Schmieg writes a regular column in the paper.  Recently, the president of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell Jr. blocked the publication of Schmieg’s column.

What could Mr. Schmieg possibly have written that might cause the president of his college to feel that the words he wrote were so dangerous that the students of Liberty (ironic name) University must be protected from the opinions expressed by their sports editor?

Of course it is not possible to know exactly what the scary words Mr. Schmieg wrote might have been since his editorial never appeared in public; it disappeared on Mr. Falwell Jr.’s desk.

But, according to, The Richmond Times-Dispatch what Schmieg

The column that did not run addresses the 2005 tape in which Trump talks in vulgar terms about how he has groped women he finds beautiful.

As a former athlete, Schmieg wrote in the column that he knows “exactly what high school guys talk about when they think they are alone. It absolutely can be vulgar and objectifying to women. But here’s the thing — I have never in my life heard guys casually talk about preying on women in a sexual manner.”

Schmieg writes that “when an adult in his late 50s says things like ‘when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,’ that should be a major red flag.” He then quotes Luke 6:45: “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

He says that Trump may have apologized for his comments, “but the fact that he can brush them off with a description of ‘locker room talk,’ tells me that he does not believe what he said is truly bad.”

He continues, “Ladies, please hear me when I say the words spoken by Trump are not normal. That is not what decent men talk about. Not even in high school. You mean so much more than that, and you deserve so much better than that.”

Mr. Falwell Jr.’s rationale for withdrawing the column is apparently
because the column was redundant of a letter written by a student that ran in the same edition.
How could it possibly be “redundant” for a Christian paper to say over and over and over that “the words spoken by Trump are not normal”? Why would any publication not want to shout from the rooftops that what Donald Trump said to Billy Bush is “not what decent men talk about”? What Christian college would not want to say to women in every possible way that “You mean so much more than that, and you deserve so much better than that”?
And for Falwell Jr. to dismiss the reporting at the Daily Beast that broke the story of his heavy-handed censorship saying,
 It’s all just a joke that it got any attention whatsoever
shows the depths of his failure to understand the pillars of a democratic society and the importance of freedom of speech and the right of the media to conduct itself independently of interference from those who hold institutional positions of power.
fawell-and-trump
Keep in mind that Falwell Jr. is famous for having endorsed Donald Trump as the best candidate to be the president of the United States. He remains by far the most visible supporter of Trump’s run for the presidency. He has twisted and turned in his tortured attempt to justify his stand in public. Falwell Jr. has created a small firestorm on his own campus and has been vilified for the blatant hypocrisy that as a “family values” advocate, he supports a man whose attitudes, words, and actions so clearly contradict the most basic values of adult civilized behaviour.
Falwell Jr. has exercised censorship against his own university’s newspaper. He has demonstrated that he is not qualified to stand at the head of an institution of higher learning. One can only hope that faculty and students will respond by abandoning Mr. Falwell Jr.’s college in droves.
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Here is the Daily Beast article that Falwell Jr. labels “a joke”:
The hypocrisy of Falwell Jr. pointed out by Mr. Schmieg, is devastating:

Schmieg called Falwell’s actions with his column “definitely very hypocritical.”

“In a recent statement from Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, on students speaking their minds for Donald Trump, Jerry said, ‘It is a testament to the fact that Liberty University promotes the free expression of ideas unlike many major universities where political correctness prevents conservative students from speaking out,’” Schmieg wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

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