Secular Kid Goes Undercover at Falwell's School

Book about his experience is out now
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2009 1:18 PM CDT
Liberty University students, Stephen Corey, right, a freshman, and his sister Betsey, a senior, photograph a rock painted to honor the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Tuesday, May 15, 2007, in Lynchburg, Va.   (AP Photo/Don Petersen)
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(Newser) – Kevin Roose spent spring break in Florida last year, but instead of boozing with the rest of the college students, he proselytized them. It was all part of the Brown University student’s undercover semester at Jerry Falwell-founded Liberty University, where he “had to follow their 46-page code of conduct: no drinking, no cursing, no hugs lasting longer than three seconds,” he tells Newsweek as he promotes his book about the experience.

Roose, who felt he should get to know the one-third of American teens who are born-again, “had this secular paranoia that they were all plotting abortion-clinic protests or sewing Hillary Clinton voodoo dolls.” Instead, he found that the students are neither “hostile demagogues” nor “a bunch of Beaver Cleavers. They say things like ‘darn’ and ‘crap.’” His book, The Unlikely Disciple, is even for sale at Liberty’s campus bookstore.