Former Charlotte Pastor and Author Banned From Liberty University For Anti-Trump Views

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This past Monday night, a prominent author, public speaker, and former Charlotte pastor was escorted off and indefinitely banned from the campus of Liberty University by armed police while backstage at a Christian concert.

Liberty University is the largest nonprofit university in the nation, and the largest Christian university in the world, according to their website.

Yesterday morning, Jonathan Martin shared a picture of his restraining order from the University, along with an apology to the students who were hoping to pray with him.

His post has already been shared over 750 times and commented on over 200 times;

A little background…

Who is Jonathan Martin?

Jonathan Martin is the former pastor and founder of Charlotte’s Renevatus Church, and a close friend of Elevation Church’s Pastor Steven Furtick;

According to his website, Jonathan Martin is the author of How to Survive a Shipwreck w/ forward by Shauna Niequist and Prototype w/ forward by Steven Furtick. He has a BA from Gardner-Webb University, an MA from the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, and a ThM from Duke University.

Why was he asking students to pray?

According to his social media posts, Jonathan has become increasingly troubled by the “religious right”, and especially those who support alt-right leaders like Steve Bannon;

I’ve read a lot about Steve Bannon these last few months. To be clear, I don’t think he’s the antichrist: the antichrist would surely be more interesting, complex, less one-dimensional. But I am interested in movement-building, even of movements I despise. If you study Bannon hoping for some Sith Lord mystical dark arts s#%*, you’ll be sorely disappointed–evil is mostly self-involved & pedestrian. Neither Mick Jagger or Kanye West made deals with the devil to bring badass music back from the flames of hell, & Bannon is not some dark wizard–that self-aggrandizing mythology is a product we are sold. His understanding of history is juvenile & garbled; his understanding of Catholicism is compartmentalized, fragmented &, in a way, perverse. But two things Bannon did understand well are a) how to tap into people’s most deep, latent, petty resentments & b) the potential of the internet to help create new communities, both online & offline. Before his role in the Trump campaign, Bannon spent time in Hong Kong running the World of Warcraft online gaming empire. He brought that experience together with lessons from Andew Breitbart, who taught him not to pursue “clicks” but “community.” Behind the privacy of a screen, our “real” selves are given vent. Bannon understood the power of these primal connections, & the ways identity can be formed between the pale blue glow of the laptop & the shadows…and brought that enterprise into the mainstream, as part of a collective movement. Could the same sort of savvy be used for good, by people who have some sort of basic moral coherence? That’s the question I’m really interested in.

A post shared by Jonathan Martin (@jonathanamartin) on

When Jerry Falwell Jr. (the head of Liberty University) actively supported Bannon’s recent political actions, Jonathan decided to do something;

What did he want to do?

On October 27th, Jonathan Martin tweeted out that he wanted to organize a time of praise and peaceful protest on the campus of Liberty University;

In future tweets, he gave more reasoning for the meeting;

and continued to stress that the meeting would be focused on prayer and peace;

What was he doing at Liberty when forcefully removed?

The night before his scheduled prayer rally, Jonathan was invited on campus by the Christian band “Johnny Swim”, who was performing at Liberty University as part of their world tour. When Jonathan was hanging out with his friends backstage in the green room, several armed Liberty University police officers came in unannounced and escorted him off campus;

When their show was over, Johnny Swim left Liberty University and reconnected with Jonathan at his Hotel;

The next morning, Jonathan invited the students who wanted to pray with him on campus to pray with him in his hotel lobby;

The response…

Last night, Liberty University issued a public statement on Facebook as to why they escorted Jonathan off campus and gave him an indefinite restraining order;

“Members of the Liberty University community are always welcome to engage in peaceful debate, intellectual inquiry and protest, but for public safety reasons, organized events by outside groups require advance notice and participating in the appropriate application process. Liberty University learned via social media of an attempt by Jonathan Martin to schedule an event on its private campus without any prior authorization or consultation. Mr. Martin is not a student, faculty member or employee of Liberty University. There are facility use protocols for those who are not members of the University community to schedule events on the campus. Those protocols take into account safety and security, as well as schedule conflicts and costs. Absent such pre-planning and authorization, an event promoted to the general public on social media has the potential to be a security risk. Given the late hour of the notice, the only effective way to prevent the unauthorized event from happening this morning was to issue a trespass warning to its organizer, Mr. Martin, last evening. This was done in a professional and matter of fact manner by Liberty University Police Department.”

However, given the fact that Jonathan scheduled his prayer rally for the morning of the 31st, and he was escorted off campus on the night of the 30th, without violating any campus rules, it seems clear that his forced removal had more to do with his anti-Trump views than with his potential “unscheduled meeting”.

Many of responses on social media have been against the actions of Liberty;

While some applauded the University’s actions;

What are your thoughts on Liberty University’s actions?

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