Monday, January 31, 2011

Is Liberty America's Most Discriminatory Law School?

I recently had a conversation with a prospective law student who was applying to schools in his home state of Virginia.  He didn't score too well on his LSAT so he resigned himself to looking for a good fourth tier law school.  He asked me for my thoughts on Liberty Law. 

While I had heard of Liberty University, I did not realize they added a law school.  If you are not familiar with the school, Liberty is a private Evangelical Christian University founded by the late Jerry Falwell.  In his waning years, Falwell gained some notoriety with his condemnations of a Teletubby who he perceived as being gay. You may also recall his infamous fights with Larry Flynt over a distasteful parody.  The latter culminated in a 1988 Supreme Court ruling which held that public figures cannot circumvent First Amendment protections by attempting to recover damages based on emotional distress suffered from a parody. The decision strengthened free speech rights and the ability to make parodies of public figures in the United States.

I had first heard of Liberty University after reading about the school's efforts to thwart a college Democrat club from forming on campus. Apparently, a group of Liberty students were banned from using the university's name, holding meetings on campus, using university funds, or advertising any Democratic club events.  Mark Hine, the Vice President of Academic Affairs, issued an email stating "The Democratic Party platform is contrary to the mission of Liberty University and to Christian doctrine (supports abortion, federal funding of abortion, advocates repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, promotes the “LGBT” agenda, hate crimes, which include sexual orientation and gender identity, socialism, etc.)"  But let bygones be bygones. A review of the site indicates that there is now an official College Democrats club, an Ultimate Frisbee society even a Wedding Planners club. 

Which brings us to the aforementioned Liberty Law School.  Founded in 2004, the school recently received full ABA accreditation.  The institution has a distinguished faculty that includes a handful of  judges and boasts a 98.4% pass rate for student's taking the Virginia Bar. In 2008, the National Jurist ranked the school third in student financial aid.  (Editors note: According to the law school's Wikipedia entry, the 98.4% Virginia passage rate number actually reflects only 18 takers of the exam.  To be fair, students also did very well in other jurisdictions.)    

Now the downside. If you think Liberty might dislike Democrats, it's a virtual love fest considering how they feel about homosexuals.  That whole thing about loving your neighbor.  Not so much.  In the school's ironically named Notice of Nondiscrimination, it is the law school's policy that it "does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation but does discriminate on the basis of sexual misconduct, including, but not limited to, non-marital sexual relations or the encouragement or advocacy of any form of sexual behavior that would undermine the Christian identity or faith mission of the University."  Talk about your lawyer double speak.

Considering working for the law school?  "[The] School of Law does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, but does discriminate on the basis of sexual misconduct, including, but not limited to, non-marital sexual misconduct, homosexual conduct, or the encouragement or advocacy of any form of sexual behavior that would undermine the Christian identity or faith mission of the University."  It makes sense.  After all, you can't have a gay person teaching a class on contracts.  Imagine a divorced man with girlfriend teaching property.  The students would never learn anything.  Besides, couldn't the school look into other ways to be more inclusive.  Maybe separate water fountains for adulterers? 

The curriculum includes your standard fare along with a unique course created by the School's Associate Dean for Career Development.  (More on Dean Barber later in the article)
LAW 765    Sexual Behavior and the Law (2)
A survey of the relationship between various types of human sexual behavior and law, including employment law, education law, criminal law, family law, civil rights legislation, and the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and freedom of religion, speech, and association. The course will explore sexual behavior and notions of sexual morality through a biblical, historical, and anthropological prism and consider how the law, public policy, and culture approaches the sexual choices that people make.

On a radio program, Barber explained the course he created:

LaBarbera: So you're teaching a class there. What's the class about, real quickly ...
Barber: Yeah, I designed the curriculum and it's really an answer to the homosexual activist courses that we see at Harvard and Yale and Georgetown and other places. They call their class "Sexual Orientation and The Law"[and] they're basically just classes in which they indoctrinate kids; it's pure homosexual propaganda.
I teach a class, I designed the curriculum, and I taught it for the first time in the fall semester of this year title "Sexual Behavior and The Law" because that's what it really is is behavior. And I actually delve into the truth about how we have arrived where we are in the law today, we address public policy issues, legal issues and so forth from a Judeo-Christian perspective and looking at our true legal history and the true history of public policy in this country.
Liberty's current Dean is Matthew D. Staver, the chairman of the non-affiliated but similarly named Liberty Counsel, a national non-profit litigation, education and policy organization that supports a hodge podge agenda of anti abortion and anti gay issues. 
When GoProud, a group made up of gay conservatives, joined the  Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the Dean withdrew the school as an event co-sponsor after CPAC refused to remove Go Proud from the event.  No word if Go Proud attempted revenge on the crusty old Dean's attempt to kick them off campus as required by the Animal House, Revenge of the Nerds or Old School doctrines of most college themed movies.

Artist Rendering
Of course, Dean Staver is not the school's most colorful character. That distinction belongs to the school's current Associate Dean for Career and Professional Development, a guy named James Matt Barber.  Barber is a former boxer who used to fight under the moniker Bam Bam.  (No affiliation to the Flintstones. I am sure the administration would frown on any cartoon that promotes having a "gay old time.")

According to the Illinois Department for Employment Security records, J. Matt Barber was fired from All State Insurance in 2005 after an outside organization complained he was posting various anti-gay articles.  It was alleged his writings were done on company time.  Barber claimed he was fired for his beliefs.   The episode made Barber a cause célèbre among conservatives. Despite the episode, Liberty Law School offered him employment.

Since then, J. Matt Barber continues his torrid affair with the written word. He has become a contributor to various publications including the kooky World Net Daily News, a favorite of birthers, conspiracy theorists and shut ins. His articles touch on a variety subjects including whether Supreme Court Justice Kagan is a lesbian, whether the Southern Poverty Law Center is a hate group, as well as his insightful thoughts on gay penguins.  I was taken aback that the law school would actually tout the World Net Daily on its official website as among Barber's published works.  Imagine a professor at Yale Law listing  he is a contributor to a publication that claimed soy makes people gay and that the President is an anti-Christ actually born in Kenya.   I can only assume the standard the World Net Daily uses to select articles involves some sort of spinning wheel contraption and a set of throwing knives.

Liberty has a faculty with decent credentials.  Barber's background just doesn't seem to fit in with these academics.   So why pick on Barber? I mention this because Dean Barber has become a public figure appearing on a variety of national media outlets.  He continues in his narrow minded online rants against various groups. In his defense, he is a former boxer.  I can only assume he has taken several major blows to the head.  Why else would he anoint Michelle Bachmann as the next Ronald Reagan? (Editors note: Ironically Bachmann campaigned for Carter, hence against Reagan.)

I decided to check out Dean Barber on Twitter as any student might. While most law professors tweet reminders about class, many of Professor Barber's 140 character tirades focus on a strange over the top obsession with homosexuals as he constantly posts on various lesbian and gay hashtags.  (Although he proclaims himself to be an Attorney, I could not find him on the current rolls of either Illinois or Virginia State bars.  That is not to say he is not duly admitted). The self proclaimed "non-practicing attorney" refers to gays as homofascists, democrats as communists, and feminists as cute when they're angry. He has referred to the Pulitzer prize winning play "Angels in America" as gay racist porn. He also refers to "Where's Bambo?" I will give the Dean the benefit of the doubt, but he should be aware that this play on President Obama's name and the racially insensitive "Sambo" is popular among racists.  A sampling of his "tweets" last week or so:
Matt Barber

Commies, Fascists and Perverts, Oh My! 

 Matt Barber 

 if u take time away from aborting black babies 2 help child sex traffickers cover-up their crimes

Bag: $27. Explosives: $500. Blowing ur Burka cvrd Jihadist (shut ur mouth) to paradise with an early txt msg? Priceless

IJE: "[L]ife expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men.”

CDC: 64% of all syphilis cases are "gay" men (who acct for 1-3 of population). Epidemic numbers.The wages of sin...

Feminists miffed over Toy Story III. They're so cute when they're angry!

Gay Deathstyle: CDC: 1 in 5 gay men hve HIV/AIDS. Unnatural behaviors beget natural consequences

Anyone really surprised we're playing "Where's Bambo" today?

"[G]ay comunity shld B running interference 4 NAMBLA."~Harry Hay. "One of the people tht's always inspired me is Harry Hay."~Kevin Jennings
Our struggle is against the rulers, the authorities, the powers of a dark world and the spiritual forces of evil.
@The entire multi-billion $$ abortion industry is based on eugenics & white supremacy. Remains so today.

OK, now that we're done with Snuggle-palooza, can we please get back to the "incendiary rhetoric"? (aka exposing Obamunism

Soldiers, does your foxhole buddy have your back or want to rub it?

'Birthers' have become respectable: Exclusive: Joseph Farah lauds 2 media men who helped catapult eligibility story 

I am sure I will be labeled a communist for scolding Liberty Law School.  As a disclaimer, I am sure the majority of Liberty Law graduates will go on to fine legal careers.  I would imagine most don't share the odd beliefs of Dean Barber.  It is not my intention to discredit them or the faculty of the school.  As a further disclaimer, I am a happily married practicing Christian living in a house with a white picket fence.  I am not a member of the Communist party.  I am not a Kenyan born Muslim.  I am an American citizen.  I love Apple Pie.  My favorite comic book heroes were Captain America and Superman (well technically Superman might be considered an illegal alien).  I support my local Republican mayor.  Heck, I even supported Reagan and like David Limbaugh.  It is my belief that the Constitution entitles Dean Barber to his opinions, no matter how reprehensible, goofy or outlandish.  The constitution guarantees you the right to be a jackass, just don't yell fire in the movies.  He is entitled to his opinions.  I am entitled to mine.  For me it is a matter of common sense.  

As a Law School Dean at an ABA accredited institution.....heck as a member of normal society, you would expect someone to have a little more civility and class in a public forum. ( Especially if you are the guy responsible for finding these law grads jobs).  I have an excuse.  I am in private practice.  I am expected to be a jerk.  

I take this opportunity to remind Dean Barber's students that the ABA's Model Rules of Professional Conduct maintain that lawyers are subject to discipline when they violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct.  In regards to maintaining the integrity of the profession, Rule 8.4 (3)  states " A lawyer who, in the course of representing a client, knowingly manifests by words or conduct, bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, violates paragraph (d) when such actions are prejudicial to the administration of justice.

So is Liberty America's most discriminatory law school?  I would like to hear your opinion.

(special thanks to twitter account politicalbaron for the tip)


Anonymous said...

What a disservice to the graduates of this law school. Our national firm represents people and corporations of all walks of life. I would think a degree from a law school with such narrow minded views would be a hindrance to one's job prospects.

Mike Smeed said...

Is it 2011? Just checking

Anonymous said...

How could this school possibly get approved by the ABA?

Barber Rocks said...

You stupid liberal troll. Barber is an American hero. He has done more for family values than you can ever imagine. Homos are ruining this nation. Why don't you take your Messiah Obama Bin Laden and go back to Kenya with all of your commie lawyer friends.

Anonymous said...

As a REALTOR I can not discriminate real estate work based on sexual grounds.I'd loose my license and some lawyer would be out there wanting to cash in. Why can a certified law school do this and get away with it?

Anonymous said...

I doubt this Barber guy would be hired by any other law school. He doesn't have the credentials.

Anonymous said...

I stop whenever I come across a post that begins "you stupid liberal troll." Kremlin - pre-1986 comes to mind - codified insults designed to beat around a poorly cobbled rationale that is invariably against some common sense notion. Ah, the human mind - beautiful and terrifying all at once.

A Real Patriot said...

You are the Kremlin commie. Typical socialist propaganda. Professor Barber is a actual real law professor, not like Obama who only taught Alinsky methods at his Chicago Ayers Law School. That socialist is constitutionally eneligible to be president. . Read the constitution stupid. 14th Amendment.

And how dare you post that picture of the American eagle and flag. You know not what it stands for. You probably support terrorists like Francis Fox Piven.

Anonymous said...

From what I gather, I think the majority of Liberty Law students think Barber is off his rocker and an embarrassment to their degrees. With the great financial aid, attending Liberty Law is a means to an end.

Either way, the polices don't seem very Christian at all.

Anonymous said...

You can learn the truth from Glenn Beck University. You can learn socialist lies from school.

Anonymous said...

And I thought my law school dean was an idiot. I need to send her an apology card.

Jake said...

Wonder when this Barber will stop fighting his demons and realize that he is gay. Obsessed with the issue is right.

Jim Swanson said...

I guess in Virginia, you can discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

Loved the Animal House reference. Adding you to my Google reader.

"The constitution guarantees you the right to be a jackass, just don't yell fire in the movies." Quote of the day

Anonymous said...

This Dean is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. A little decorum for God's sake

Anonymous said...

I'm currently picking out an dress for his coming out party. It will, without a doubt, be a blast!

Anonymous said...

This guy is a law dean?! What an embarrassment to the law school and the faculty. You are entitled to your beliefs, but the tone of his twitter posts are inappropriate and highly unprofessional. He is doing more harm than good to his cause. He makes people opposed to same sex marriage look like fringe dolts.

Jim Stegman said...

How do you know that God, who created the world out of chaos and darkness, was a lawyer? Because he made chaos and darkness first.

- S. Turow

Rajmund said...

Wow what an unprofessional law professor. Those tweets are more reminiscent of an angry teenager than an articulate and polite person.

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