Letter Explains Mitt Romney for Commencement Speaker at Liberty University

Mitt Romney at Liberty University

Every since Liberty University announced that Mitt Romney was going to be the Commencement Speaker (see also the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, the CBS News, and even the POLITICO) for this year’s graduation class [some] people have been in an uproar (so says the Daily Kos anyway, the people I know had no problem with it at all). Most of the uproar comes in the form of the fact that Romney is a Mormon, and doesn’t align with Liberty’s theological vision, which is correct, he is, and he doesn’t.

Yesterday, the Office of the Chancellor, or Jerry Falwell, Jr. addressed concerns with the statements below. I guess at some level an explanation was needed, but the one presented below is a great example why this is no different than any other speaker Liberty has had in the past. I for one am glad that they have such a wide variety of speakers at Liberty. I’m sure there are those who can shred the theological explanation below, but it’s good enough for me, and it goes beyond just the criticism of having a Mormon speak at graduation, the letter explains why Liberty’s mission statement, to train Champions for Christ, includes welcoming Mitt Romney, regardless of his faith or politics.

Dear Students,

My office has received hundreds of messages from students and 2012 graduates who are thrilled and honored that the presumptive Republican nominee for president of the United States will be our Commencement speaker. Some graduates have also inquired about Liberty’s policies regarding the doctrinal beliefs of graduation speakers. These same questions seem to surface every spring and I am writing you in response to those inquiries.

First of all, it is important to remember that Liberty actually has two Commencement speakers each year. Long ago, most universities ceased their practice of including a Baccalaureate service during their Commencement weekend, but we have insisted on keeping this service as a demonstration of our Christian commitment to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.

This year our Baccalaureate speaker is Luis Palau. Dr. Palau is an evangelist who has preached the Gospel to a billion people. Palau is often considered second only to Billy Graham in his influence for the Gospel, and, as is our tradition, he will be clearly delivering the Gospel at Baccalaureate.

For twenty-five years Liberty has traditionally had leaders from the worlds of politics, business, and entertainment speak during the Commencement ceremony on Saturday. Most of these leaders have not traditionally shared Liberty’s doctrinal convictions. In the last few years, our Commencement speakers have included an evangelical filmmaker (Randall Wallace), a Mormon commentator (Glenn Beck), a Jewish economist (Ben Stein), an evangelical actor and athlete (Chuck Norris), an evangelical – now Catholic – politician (Newt Gingrich), a Catholic commentator (Sean Hannity), a Southern Baptist senator (John McCain), and an Episcopalian chief of staff to President Bush (Karl Rove). In all, at least 20 of Liberty’s 38 Commencement speakers have fit in this category.

My father’s vision for Liberty University was both a theological and a cultural vision. Theologically, it was to found the world’s preeminent Christian university where every faculty member professed faith in Jesus Christ, agreed with our doctrinal statement, and sought to fulfill the Great Commission and live the Great Commandment. Culturally, it was to found a university that held in high regard our nation’s founding principles of limited government, the free enterprise system, and individual liberty. Liberty’s tradition has been to focus on the first part of this vision during the Friday night ceremony and the second part on Saturday morning.

Liberty’s commitment to an annual Baccalaureate service has ensured that we have never held a Commencement that did not include a strong gospel message from an evangelical leader.

I am sure that members of the Liberty University community will treat Gov. Romney with the respect he deserves, regardless of whether they agree with his religious or political beliefs.

When my father traveled the nation speaking at many secular universities, he was often met with boos and hisses by those who held different theological beliefs than he. I am so proud that Liberty students have gained a reputation for treating those whose beliefs are different than their own in a Christ-like manner. You have shown respect to speakers as divergent from Liberty’s worldview as Ted Kennedy, Bob Beckel, and Tim Kaine.

Gov. Romney is a man who has excelled in business, governed a state, and even managed the Olympic games. He has been faithfully married to his wife, Ann, for 43 years, and they have 5 sons and 16 grandchildren. Gov. Romney is a leader of global significance, who might eventually be the leader of the free world, and we are honored that he accepted our invitation.

An invitation to speak at Commencement is not an ad-hoc endorsement of a presidential candidate or even of that particular speaker’s religious or political views. The ultimate purpose of having a prominent Commencement speaker is not to promote the speaker or his views but rather to inspire and challenge the graduates and showcase Liberty and its mission.

My prayer is that having the presumptive Republican nominee as our speaker will cause many who have never heard of Liberty to take notice of what Liberty is doing to train a generation of Champions for Christ. Perhaps, many of them will consider a Christian education over the secular alternative.

Sincerely,

Jerry Falwell, Jr.
Chancellor and President

That explanation won’t cut it for some, but for many, no explanation would suffice at all.

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If I Were President, and Now I Am :: Video

Noticed I filed this post under “political” so if you don’t like political stuff, just move on to my next post (and coming up I will post a photo shoot I did yesterday).  Until then, I came across this site, If I Were President from 247 Town Hall, a while back during the election and forgot about it until now when I saw something similar on another blog.  This site was a “get out the vote” type video site, filled with tons of well made videos from high profile, almost all left wing liberal celebrities.  Always great that no matter what the message now, you know you can package something to look so good and tasty that it just has to be a good thing.

Everything now is hope, hope, hope, we have hope for change, we can change change to a new change and hope change can bring about a new kind of hope and change.  I love it.  Now that we actually do have change on Pennsylvania Avenue I think this video is a pretty good monologue of what kind of change we are in for.

http://services.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f8/1640183418

Some of it is pretty funny, and I don’t totally disagree with all of it, there was one person who said they wanted to legalize marijuana (think that has basically already been done), Deb would go for the ban on Asparagus, and another to ban all hummers and buy everyone a bike.  I already have a bike and can’t afford a hummer.  I will say this has probably been one of the most difficult first few weeks in a new office but the job is for 4 years so there is a long way to go.  Tonight when Mr Obama speaks to Congress we should get a better glimpse into what is coming up.  More doom and gloom or pumping up an economy in the tanks right now.

Either way, I bet not a whole lot of people watch the address to congress as much as I am guessing that many reading this didn’t even know he was going to speak tonight, and wouldn’t until they see that he has interrupted American Idol.  Perhaps Mr O should play this video below to make people feel better?

Obama Inauguration is $150 Million Appeasement Party

I don’t do many political type posts, but that is all that is going on in the news today.  I can never remember when an inauguration got so much coverage.  It is well deserved, but nothing has stacked up to this $150 million party that Obama is throwing that finalizes tomorrow.  Obama has managed to create this show of shows by outspending Bush ($40 million) and even Clinton ($33 million) by bringing out all the biggest names in Hollywood and making such a spectacle of the whole thing and I will be glad when it is finally over and we can collectively get back to the work of the country.

This particular inauguration is turning out to be the ultimate part of appeasement for Obama.  He and has been playing both sides and there is no better example than what John Piper gave on a recent blog post How Barack Obama Will Make Christ a Minister of Condemnation.  From Gene Robinson, an openly non-celibate homosexual bishop in the Episcopal Church who will deliver the invocation to Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California scheduled for Tuesday, back to Bruce Springsteen standing on the same stage with Garth Brooks (although Rick Warren and Garth Brooks do seem to be the exceptions).

Does anyone remember from back in highschool when you tried to date two girls at the same time?  It never worked and more times than not you would lose both girls in the process.  That may be a bad analogy, but I hope that doesn’t happen to Obama and he ends up loosing both sides.  All he will be left with are the ultra moderates who can’t ever make a decision about anything.  Nothing worse in my book than indecision and luke warm.  Even scriptures talk about being against Christ is better than not having an opinion at all.

The discussion in our house lately has been if we want to see Obama succeed as president or not (a question Mr Bill has posed on his show lately).  I do in fact want to see America become stronger, more prosperous, better educated, and succeed in general (of course that has different meaning to everyone).  If it takes Obama to do that, great.  No matter if we voted for him or not, he is our President now, we should get behind him, even if we disagree with him.

Some Totally Random Thoughts About Politics on January 19th

  • The word “Obama” is NOT in the wordpress spell check database
  • I am sick of hearing the news ask someone if they thought they would ever see a woman or African-American as President, I DON’T CARE.  I want to see the most qualified person for the job, ANY job, and I don’t care what race, nationality, or genger the person is.  If Bill Lester is the best person to put in a race car GREAT, if he can’t win races, get someone else in there.
  • What is the reason we have to spend $150 million on a party and not think about how this translates into his Presidency?
  • Thoughts on #2 :: Bail-out?  Auto industry, economy, people out of work, consumer confidence?
  • Bush put everything he had into his job over the last 8 years, we should be glad someone kept us safe
  • Pelosi and Reed should be totally ashamed at everything they have tried to do in prosecuting Bush administration officials
  • I am waiting for my check in the mail from the Obama administration (never got one from Bush)
  • Keith Olbermann is possibly the worst excuse for a journalist that MSNBC has ever hired (and they have a lot who fit in that category)
  • OBAMA IS NOT ABRAHAM LINCOLN, he is Obama.
  • I personally don’t deserve said check from #8, I didn’t pay any taxes over the last few years because I didn’t make enough money

I wish the Obama administration well, and I hope they can keep American safe while turing around the economy, but most of all, I will be glad when this $150 million party you paid for is over and people can get back to work.