On January 18, Jerry Falwell, Jr. welcomed Donald Trump to Liberty University to speak in the school’s chapel. As the college president who wrote the “this is not a daycare” article that received so much national attention recently, I have been asked by the media if I would be next: Will I be inviting Mr. Trump to Oklahoma Wesleyan University to speak in our chapel service? My answer has been simple and brief. No, I will not.
In selecting speakers for Oklahoma Wesleyan, party affiliation and political positions do not matter. Personal conduct, public statements, theological integrity and moral consistency do. In short, unless it is an open debate where different sides of the issue will be presented, we choose speakers who generally promote our university’s mission and who do not stand in opposition, either in word or deed, to what we claim to hold dear as a Christian community. I believe I owe it to our students, faculty, staff, board, donors and church to do nothing less— and frankly, Donald Trump simply doesn’t represent OKWU’s behavioral, theological, moral or political ideals.
“But, we need to defeat Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders,” many have said: “Your criticism of Trump only helps them. You need to stop attacking those on ‘our side!’”
Anyone who is pro-abortion is not on my side. Anyone who calls women “pigs,” “ugly,” “fat” and “pieces of a–” is not on my side. Anyone who mocks the handicapped is not on my side. Anyone who has argued the merits of a government takeover of banks, student loans, the auto industry and healthcare is not on my side. Anyone who has been on the cover of Playboy and proud of it, who brags of his sexual history with multiple women and who owns strip clubs in his casinos is not on my side. Anyone who believes the government can wrest control of the definition of marriage from the church is not on my side. Anyone who ignores the separation of powers and boasts of making the executive branch even more imperial is not on my side.
I’m a conservative. I believe in conserving the dignity of life. I believe in conserving respect for women. I believe in conserving the Constitution. I believe in conserving private property, religious liberty and human freedom. I believe in morality more than I do in money. I hold to principles more than I yearn for power. I trust my Creator more than I do human character. I’d like to think that all this, and more, makes me an informed and thoughtful citizen and voter. I’ve read, I’ve listened and I’ve studied and there is NOTHING, absolutely nothing, in this man’s track record that makes Donald Trump “on my side.”
I refuse to let my desire to win “trump” my moral compass. I will not sell my soul or my university’s to a political process that values victory more than virtue.
No, Donald Trump will not be speaking at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
“The conservative…will not surrender to the contagion of mass-opinion or the temptations of…power… [I]f he hopes to conserve anything at all, he must make his stand unflinchingly.” Russell Kirk