Politics

Romney hits home run at Liberty University

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Presidential candidate Mitt Romney traveled to Liberty University’s commencement on Saturday to woo evangelicals offering hope under his leadership and addressed concerns about his Mormon faith.  His overtly religious speech was a home run for values voters.

Evangelicals are a significant percentage of the electorate and the most reliable Republican voting bloc.  George W. Bush received 78 percent of the evangelical vote in 2004, John McCain won 74 percent in 2008 but evangelicals were cold to Romney during the 2012 primaries.  Therefore, the Romney campaign went to Liberty over the weekend hoping to garner more evangelical support in preparation for the bruising campaign ahead.

Romney’s 20-minute commencement speech at the world’s largest Christian university, founded 41 years ago by evangelical leader Dr. Jerry Falwell, was a forceful endorsement of America’s Judeo-Christian values and included his commitment to fix our troubled economy if elected. 

“If we take the right course, we will see a resurgence in the American economy,” Romney told the over 6,000 job-seeking graduates seated in the university’s football stadium filled with 34,000 family members and friends.  He promised that under his leadership America will “open new doors of opportunity” that “will surprise the world.”

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee spoke mostly about faith and values to the packed stadium.  He cited Harvard historian David Landes who said civilizations rise and fall based on culture which “makes all the difference.”  Then Romney outlined his views about our troubled culture without mentioning President Barack Obama’s many anti-Judeo-Christian policies.

Romney said the tenets of traditional American culture include personal responsibility, the dignity of work, the value of education, the merit of service and the pre-eminence of the family.  He referenced a Brookings Institution study to illustrate the importance of these tenets in the culture, an idea borrowed from presidential opponent former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. 

The study, according to Romney, found “those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job, and marry before they have their first child, the probability that they will be poor is 2 percent.”  But when those things are absent, “76 percent will be poor.”  Romney concluded, “Culture matters.”

The former governor said cultural issues are openly debated today such as “the enduring institution of marriage” which he defined as “a relationship between one man and one woman.”  That comment drew a standing ovation from the Christian audience and comes days after Obama endorsed homosexual marriage.

Romney emphasized the importance of parenting over career priorities by citing the example of his father, George Romney, a former CEO, a governor, and member of the president’s cabinet.  Romney senior said his greatest accomplishment was “Raising our four kids” and then Mitt Romney told the Liberty audience “Ann [his wife] and I feel the same way about our family.”  The Romneys have five grown sons.

Faith is under attack in our culture, another Romney theme.  “Your values will not always be the object of public admiration” but “Christianity is not the faith of the complacent,” the former governor observed.  He cited examples of heroic Christians like Charles Wesley, the 18th century theologian, and William Wilberforce, the British politician who led the movement to abolish the slave trade.

Romney said like these men the graduates must show “the relentless and powerful influence of the message of Jesus Christ.”  But “religious freedom has also become a matter of debate” in our culture even though Christian conscience calls for justice for the persecuted, compassion for the needy and “mercy for the child waiting to be born.”

Romney encouraged the graduates to “live a purpose driven life,” possibly a reference to Dr. Rick Warren’s popular book by the same title.  He told them “our worldly successes cannot be guaranteed, but our ability to achieve spiritual success is entirely up to us.”  He quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who chose the spiritual path: “I decided early to give my life to something eternal and absolute.” 

Romney concluded his commencement address by appealing to evangelicals to understand “we can meet in common purpose, when there are so many differences in creed and theology,” a clear reference to the doctrinal differences between evangelicals and Mormons, Romney’s faith.  Though Romney never explicitly mentioned his Mormon faith he argued that “surely the answer is that we can meet in service.”

The former governor persuasively argued “in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview” that we can work together.   Then Romney said “the call to service is one of the fundamental elements of our national character.”   Romney will make history as the first Mormon presidential nominee if tapped by the Republican Party this August in Tampa, Florida.

Romney rallied Liberty’s 39th commencement by concluding “In all of these things – faith, family, work, and service – the choices we make as Americans are, in other places, not choices at all.”  Then he said, “All the more reason to be grateful, this and every day, that we live in America.”

The Liberty crowd expressed its approval with repeated applause and standing ovations.  This writer spoke with many in the audience after the commencement ceremony and found them positive about Romney which anecdotally confirms the results of a new survey that found evangelical Christians flocking to Romney.

Romney has the support of 68 percent of white evangelical voters compared to just 19 percent who favor Obama, according to a May 2-6 PRRI/RNS Religion News Survey.   Romney’s favorability among white evangelicals increased 27 percent from a previous poll in October 2011.

Gov. Mitt Romney’s speech at Liberty University will help him among evangelicals.  But that community is already heavily on his team and not because they are necessarily enthusiastic about his candidacy but because they are opposed to President Obama’s record on moral issues like abortion and homosexual marriage and the fact that he is the most intensely anti-Christian president in America’s history.

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  • Ed_USA

    “His overtly religious speech was a home run for values voters.”
     
    Just as long as their values don’t include condemning heresy. Mormons have a strict code of morality, and most of them seem to stick to it. Mitt’s trouble with evangelicals comes not from his morals, but from his theology. The entire Mormon story of Jesus of Upstate New York and of their latter day saints is, from a strict Christian standpoint, heretical. The issue for evangelicals, particularly when Mitt is making his campaign “overtly religious”, is whether they want to vote for a heretic.

  • Borghesius

    Mitt is trying to pick up voters, Catholics and evangelicals.  No harm in a little reference, as long as he actually got the quote from him.  

  • 1LonesomeDove1

    A religious test for public office is un-Constitutional, and Christians know this even if you don’t.

    And I believe his overtly religious campaign is far more honest and open than your O’Savior’s ambiguously religious one.

  • Borghesius

    Since ( with only a very few exceptions) we actually are not interested in a theocracy, most religion considering voters will overlook doctrinal points as long as the overall common public policy issues are in line.  And in comparison to the opposition….

  • 1LonesomeDove1

    Exactly!

    This nonsense is but an effort to drive a religious wedge between Mitt and other faiths with the hope of robbing him of their votes.

  • Ed_USA

    Then I would have to suppose that it’s fair to ask just why Romney’s speech focused so heavily on the theme of religion.

    Religion cannot be an official criterion for holding office. This does not, however, mean that individual voters may not take a candidate’s religion into account in their decision. For instance, if Romney were a Scientologist or a Unification Church “Moonie”, then I’d expect voters to wonder whether his membership in what most people regard as cults might leave him open to undue influence. One might also worry that his rather incredible theology could indicate some flaw in his rationality or judgement.

    The Constitution says that a person may not be excluded from holding office because of religion, but it doesn’t say that you have to vote for him.

  • Danish0072001

     Family values, standing up for what you believe, and generally doing good isn’t necessarily religion.  Of course, Obama and you liberals think the only people who can do good is government and with your emphasis on killing or eliminating babies, family values aren’t on the top of your list.

  • 1LonesomeDove1

    “Then I would have to suppose that it’s fair to ask just why Romney’s speech focused so heavily on the theme of religion.”

    Ummmmmm, because he gave it at Liberty University?

    Voters may, or may not take a candidate’s religion into account, but they don’t need your help, and they don’t need you to decide for them what they’re gonna do before they even vote.

    And as far as his influence goes, he never said he was gonna stand on the side of a particular religion like your O’Savior did, and he has 500+ people in Washington to deal with anyway……before he can force anything on fear mongers like you.

  • Ed_USA

    Romney was speaking at a religious school in an attempt to win over religious voters. He said things like

    “People of different faiths, like yours and mine, sometimes wonder where we can meet in common purpose, when there are so many differences in creed and theology,”

    and heavily emphasized the word “Christian”. I don’t think you can blame anyone but Mitt for making religion the topic here.

  • Dustoff

     HAHAHAHA, yeah Ed. Let’s talk about Romney religion. Yet totally ignore O-dumbers.

    Hey Rev Wright and GD American and his Black liberation. 

  • Danish0072001

    I’m glad he did. Oh, by the way did you know Obama offered Rev Wright cash to go away. Of course, he should be ashamed of that hateful religion. Of course, the only reason he joined a “Christian” church was for political reasons. Certainly he has no core values.

  • Dustoff

     Romney was speaking at a religious school in an attempt to win over religious voters.
    *************************

    But O-dumber never has, or say FLIPPING about Gay marriage.
    For votes!

    Really ed, are you that stupid?

  • Dustoff

     Psssss, hey LD.  
    Can we say Rev Wright and Black liberation.   (-:

  • ohin

    True. I prefer Romney’s cult of Mormonism to Obama’s cult of atheism or his apparent faith of Islam. His rhetoric and actions seem to say that his “slip of the tongue” comment in 2008 to Stephanopolous  about his “muslim faith” was not a slip of the tongue.

    One’s religion or lack of it shape their worldview and directly impact how they will govern. While I disagree with Romney’s theology, the morals and values that arise out of it are consistent with my own which make it an easy choice between him and Obama. The most important job right now is to get that devil out of office.

  • 1LonesomeDove1

    He was talking to a religious body. “That” topic was religious, and logically so.

    But he’s not making the campaign a religious issue like you are here, so the blame lies on you.

  • 1LonesomeDove1

    ed obviously can’t.

  • Borghesius

    “Religion cannot be an official criterion for holding office. This does not, however, mean that individual voters may not take a candidate’s religion into account in their decision.”
    He was speaking at Liberty University, and by extension, to the evangelical community. You answered your own question.

    “One might also worry that his rather incredible theology could indicate some flaw in his rationality or judgement.”

    Yes, I’ve thought that, but if you have grown up in a system, it forms your thinking, and it seems normal. It doesn’t seem to have affected his ability to function in society or business.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VQ3FNIRT3ATHXVBSNVFZB2SG3U c s

    …yawn…

  • Franklyfreedom

    Out of the heart the mouth speaketh. Therefore we should be discerning which of our leaders and candidates are wicked and which ones are truthful. The oath of office says something like, I solemnly swear to uphold the US Constitution and to defend America against both foreign and domestic enemies.”

    How many of our leaders, Obama included, have taken that oath and lied? We need a method to impeach such hypocrites. The Senate majority has denied freedom of debate and ruined the Constitutional political process, the balanced budget and literally ruined America with trillions of dollars in debt. They would also stand in the way of such an impeachment effort. But what I believe is that the people of this country deserve to hear the impeachment debate even if it is not successful. Let their dirty deeds be exposed. Let the public outcry rattle these liberal Senators to fear loss of position and loss of respect.

    Eventually we need a Constitutional Amendment to keep one of our governmental branches from having this kind of power. Our morals are so bad, the Senate votes along party lines and political favors, not on the right and best thing for the country.

    I am mad the American people let themselves be duped by a community organizer that has proven he  should be jailed for treason.

  • Ed_USA

    Article VI paragraph 3:

    “…but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4ZACERDJCMA7BDPYEVSMKPXBAU Marcy Harris

    Ed–Huh?  Jesus of Upstate NY????  Don’t you think sir that Jesus Christ is a better judge than you of who is and is not Christian.  It still amazes me that Evangelicals who are overtly anti-Papist/Catholic still stick to the creeds of the First Catholic Council of Nicea in their interpretation of the definition of God and rule Mormons out because they do not.  Do they realize that that creed is not at all in agreement with first century writings and art not to mention the New Testament itself.  So who sire is a heretic?  I fear you are complaining about a mote in your Mormon neighbor’s eye while you have the Nicean Beam in your own!

    Mitt Romney reads the Bible regularly and, by what I see of his family, he does a pretty darn good job of living as he says he believes.  Can you say the same of yourself?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4ZACERDJCMA7BDPYEVSMKPXBAU Marcy Harris

    Chuck–of course you can have any test you want.  Better be careful with our judgment there.  If you sit this one out it is a vote for Obama and we know his beliefs from his Black Liberation Theology (communism) mingled with Islam (as they sell Islamic books in their store and gave Farakhan a big award).  Mitt Romney is a great man who will make a great president if you leave our bigotry at the door.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4ZACERDJCMA7BDPYEVSMKPXBAU Marcy Harris

    He was speaking at a religious university–hence the tenor of his speech was appropriate in the setting.  He spoke at MIcrosoft and wowed them with his sophistocated power point– The man researches his audiences and makes his remarks appropriate to the audience.  That is smart.  He will research diligently on foreign affairs matters before important meetings.  Don’t see O doing that and as a result his insults to foreign dignitaries are legendary (unless they are Muslim–then all he has to do is bow and kiss their ring–or whatever he is kissing this time).

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4ZACERDJCMA7BDPYEVSMKPXBAU Marcy Harris

    Dear concerned,

    See you there!  In hell that is.  Or maybe I won’t see you there but you might kinda lonely there all by yourself when your judgment of others keeps you out of the pearly gates.  Might be a good idea to let Jesus Christ our Lord determine who is Christian and who is not.

    Marcy

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JKYECDK63I2B3CFZHKW2VRAAA Richard

    Not to brag, BUT about three months ago I suggested and posted we may be pleasantly surprised by Romney.  He might be a Reagan lite.
    I took the heat for the post from the various primary opponents supporters.
    Now we have to see that he carries “57″ states.

  • Ed_USA

    Don’t want to talk seriously, eh? OK. Bye.

  • CORMAC___NJ

    I too have expressed that sentiment. I didn’t get rebuffed, but that’s probably more because I’m known to mercilessly attack those who go after me. (I should probably consider a more forgiving approach in future).

    Really, Romney may have been wise to allow a certain amount of media distortion, portraying him as a moderate, to go on. His primary victory has long appeared more certain than a general-election win, and being thought of as a moderate helps innoculate him from Democrats’ accusations of being a right-wing extremist.
    It doesn’t take a psychic to predict that Obama’s re-election strategy will be to focus all their energy on making Romney look bad. Drawing ANY attention to Obama isn’t good for them.

    As the parties and media become increasingly polarized, independents will gravitate towards someone who appears to rise above the ideology and focusses on the American people. Romney’s having avoided hard-right rhetoric will allow him to take that role, without constraining conservative governance once in office.

    It may have required more self-discipline than we realize to remain silent while being accused of being a lefty. Or, maybe the accusations were true. But no matter how much of a RINO Romney might or might not be, he is still nowhere near the Communist revolutionary that Barrack Obama is.

    That’s the most important thing about the coming election.

  • ohin

    While our morals and values arise out of our religion, not all theologies or doctrines are the same. That is not to say that some common morals and values do not arise out of differing theologies.

    I’m not a Buddhist, but I recognize that while they believe in “Thou shalt not murder”, they have their faith in the wrong God, which will have eternal consequences. That doesn’t make them a liar, it makes them someone who needs to be told the truth with love and respect. Ditto Mormons.

    A lie is saying something that you know to be untrue, often but not always, with malicious intent. Saying or teaching something that you believe to be true, even if it is actually untrue, does not make you a liar, it makes you wrong.

    You are trying to make the case that since Romney is a Mormon, and many tenants of the Mormon faith are untrue, that Romney is a liar. Unless you know for a fact that Romney does not actually believe his professed faith, that does not logically follow.

    To state a preference for Obama, who has been proven to have lied repeatedly throughout his time in public office is ludicrous. I stand by what I said. While I don’t know him personally, those who do say that Romney is a good family man who shares many of the morals and values that I have.

    Obama is said to be a good family man, and maybe he is towards his own family, but he is also a liar and an avowed Communist which makes him completely unacceptable as my president. The fact that Romney is a Mormon who holds to good morals and values not only doesn’t disqualify him for president, but makes him a preferable choice to Obama.

    Having said all that, I don’t trust ANY politician any farther than I can throw them. So we have to make the best choice, watch them like a hawk, and then vote them out at the next opportunity if they don’t do as they say.

  • rebelyell4

    I get it now. Those of us who know better are now “required” to do the lesser evil of two?

    Not again . Never again. Evil is evil. I will not vote for either of them. Just because you figure that this will elect Obama does not make me regressive at all.

    I am going to find this ballot and check out the rest. If I find someone qualified on my ballot, I will vote for him. To vote for evil incarnate just because the rest of you are of the mistaken belief that the other evil is worse is simply not an answer and nowhere have I ever heard or read that electing evil,is what we need to do.

    Compromise is not the answer.

  • rebelyell4

    Ohin. At least leave a chance for a reply. No rocks. First things first. Lay off the Buddhists. It is an actual and real religion. Not one manufactured by a lie such as the founder or inventor of the mormon fairy tale came up with.

    No you fool. The mormons actually teach their socalled flock that lying is just fine. I am not coming up with some roundabout horse hockey about the whole thing. The mormons actually teach all their flock that it’s just fine to lie. It’s as simple as that.

    You are the one changing the meaning of what I wrote. A typical mormon thing to do. What is it you don’t wish the world to understand about being a liar. The mormons are told to do it anytime they feel the need. Apparently you feel the need.

  • 1LonesomeDove1

    You have every right to not vote if you so choose, and I have every right to choose the same.

    I never called you a regressive. Not once, so this shows clearly that you’re not exactly one of those “who know better”, because in order to know better, you have to be able to comprehend better, and you read things that were never written.

    A man’s being evil incarnate is a harsh judgement, seeing as how I know of only the anti-Christ being given that honor, but if you know something the rest of us don’t know, then please inform us all, because God hasn’t revealed that person yet, and I doubt that He’s revealed him to you alone.

    If I knew for a solid fact that Romney was that man of perdition, I would not vote either, but unless he is revealed as such by more than you, who can’t read a post, I will participate in the political process, and I doubt that God will condemn me to Hell for doing it.

    You can check off whomever you want, but there’s only one of two men who stand a chance.

  • CORMAC___NJ

    I don’t know, what are those stations’ formats?

    If, like most profitable stations, they play some flavor of popular music, I would say they’re irrelevent.

    Maybe they play more Donny and Marie than other pop stations, I’d need some details…