Liberty University is a Christian college in Lynchburg, Va., and was founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, who often said the school was "training young champions for Christ."
Today, some of those "young champions for Christ" are learning how to fly drones, which are often used for launching U.S. military strikes.
At Liberty University's School of Aeronautics, more than 600 Christian students are trained to fly planes and operate drones for future U.S. wars, surveillance and domestic law enforcement.
According to Sojourners Magazine, Liberty University added a concentration in Unmanned Aerial Systems, or drones, in the fall of 2011.
The Christian college was one of the first schools to offer this training and calls itself “one of America’s top military-friendly schools.”
Christian students can also take classes in terrorism and counter-terrorism — no word if that includes waterboarding.
While drones are primarily used in U.S. conflicts overseas, they will increasingly be used in local law enforcement.
Congress voted in February to integrate drones into U.S. airspace by September 2015.
“I can understand why some support [them], and I can understand why others don’t support [them]," said Liberty graduate Tim Carentz, who works for the Air Force, to Sojourners Magazine. "Our job is to pray and to understand that things will continue to get worse until Christ returns."
He added: “If there were no Christians in the military, how would they instill love and discipline? There are people pulled right from the ghetto who have nothing and who come into the military. And maybe their first supervisor is a Christian, and he takes them to the foot of the cross and leads them to Christianity, and they share that with their family, and you save generations.”
Source: Sojourners Magazine
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will announce Thursday that the Defense Department will lift its long-standing ban on female ground combat troops. This watershed policy change comes out of the frustrations on behalf of service women in the last few years who have, despite their acts of bravery and the quality of their work, have hit glass ceilings and been unable to get promoted to their positions of choice.
Lifting the ban marks the first time in U.S. history that the military is fully inclusive. On top of that, it opens up around 238,000 ground combat positions that were previously off limits for women, who make up about 14 percent of the armed forces.
Due to the ambiguity of front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan, many women have found themselves caught in direct combat situations — and have excelled in those roles, according to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and other military representatives. It only makes sense to allow the most capable infantry persons to serve in the posts they have earned.
“This is monumental,” said Anu Bhagwati, a former Marine captain and executive director of the Service Women’s Action Network to the Washington Post. “Every time equality is recognized and meritocracy is enforced, it helps everyone, and it will help professionalize the force.”
Critics of this policy change have complained that women serving on the front lines would only promote a sexually charged atmosphere, and that many will not be physically able to perform all tasks involved.
Compared to exclusion, compared to the glass ceiling, and compared to subjugation previously perpetuated by the ban, allowing women to serve in posts they have earned represents, at its core, the heart of the American work ethic.
This policy — which mirrors much of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule — is beyond outdated. It is about time Panetta is recognizing the ban for what it was: discrimination.