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God, Country and McCain

An evangelical youth movement at Liberty University -- a fundamentalist Baptist institution founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell -- has mobilized to support John McCain's presidential candidacy. Given McCain's clashes with religious conservatives during his 2000 campaign for president, the support he's receiving from conservative-minded students is significant.

"Has anyone watched the British version?" Allen asks. "It's way more ha-larious and way more out of bounds."

"Hey, Meghan?" a student says.

"Yeah, babe?" Allen says. Just then, Tom Metallo, an associate professor at Liberty's Helms School of Government, calls the class to order. He opens with a prayer: "Father, we thank you for the rich heritage you've given us. As we approach this election season, we pray that you give us the wisdom as we choose the next representatives of our government, some for four years, some for two years. We pray that they serve the general interests and not the special interests."

Metallo says he has a treat for the culturally deprived. A recent "Saturday Night Live" clip featuring Sarah Palin, the GOP vice presidential nominee, as a guest, with cast member Amy Poehler filling in on a caribou-rap number when the Alaska governor demurs.

How you feel, Eskimo?

Ice cold!

All the mavericks in the house put your hands up!

Students laugh; some wave their hands.

When I say Obama

You say Ayers

"I love that part," says Allen.

Metallo takes the class through Britain's government structure, at one point explaining how voting rights were gradually widened, and not always for good. "The expansion of the electoral franchise led to the growth of the welfare state," the professor says. "People are able to vote money out of your pocket and into their own." Before dismissing the class, Metallo invites everyone to his house over homecoming weekend for coffee and dessert.


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