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Can a Conservative Christian Setting Have Style and Culture?

By Andy Alexander

Diving into the recent Post travel story touting Lynchburg, Va., as “the perfect place to get away for a long weekend,” a reader from Charlottesville said she was stopped cold by the second paragraph.

What makes Lynchburg "so wonderful,” the story said, is that “[f]ew people go there expecting much. It’s out of the way, seen as a poor relation to posh Charlottesville, an hour to the north, and genteel Lexington, an hour northwest.” Then came this sentence:

“Its reputation as home to conservative Christian-oriented Liberty University and the late Jerry Falwell hardly bodes well for style, culture and night life.”

“Well, why not?” the reader e-mailed me. To her, the sentence implies that style, culture and night life cannot exist in a conservative Christian setting.

She’s correct to object, and interim Travel editor Nancy McKeon readily agrees.

“Mea culpa,” she said.

McKeon said that in editing the story she “focused on the ‘night life’ part and I thought, well, that’s probably fair and not just an opinion, that a conservative university wouldn’t like to be seen as giving rise to nightclubs and drinking parties.”

She added that she may have been influenced by her perspective as a resident of Georgetown, where crowds -- including many students from nearby Georgetown and George Washington universities -- frequent lively restaurants and noisy bars.

By Andy Alexander  | May 26, 2009; 2:30 PM ET
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