I’m not sure whether to laugh at him for being surprised, sneer at him for treating Christians as if they’re some lost civilization worthy of anthropological study, or congratulate him for what seems to have been a genuinely earnest effort to understand. It’s like that ABC set-up to “prove” that sports fans are homophobic — but in a good way.
He was determined to not mock the school, thinking it would be too easy — and unfair. He aimed to immerse himself in the culture, examine what conservative Christians believe and see if he could find some common ground. He had less weighty questions too: How did they spend Friday nights? Did they use Facebook? Did they go on dates? Did they watch “Gossip Girl?”…
He lined up a publisher — Grand Central Publishing — and arrived at the Lynchburg campus prepared for “hostile ideologues who spent all their time plotting abortion clinic protests and sewing Hillary Clinton voodoo dolls.”
Instead, he found that “not only are they not that, but they’re rigorously normal.”…
A roommate he depicts as aggressively anti-gay — all names are changed in the book — is an outcast on the hall, not a role model.
How earnest was he?
Once ambivalent about faith, Roose now prays to God regularly — for his own well-being and on behalf of others. He said he owns several translations of the Bible and has recently been rereading meditations from the letters of John on using love and compassion to solve cultural conflicts.
He’s even considering joining a church.
He interviewed Falwell before he died, too, again in what sounds like good faith. It’s actually a brilliant idea for a book: No matter which way the experiment turned out, he knew he had a built-in audience waiting for him. If Liberty turned out to be as grotesque as the left’s caricature of it, the nutroots would have snapped it up. As it is, he’ll end up on Hannity’s show talking about how believers are people too. Well played, sir.