Custom Search

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mitt Romney Woos Christian Voters & Addresses Gay Marriage At Liberty University: "One Man & One Woman Before God"

Was Mitt Romney wooing Christian Voters today at Liberty University? Of Course! Just as Pres. Obama is wooing Gay Voters by Endorsing Gay Marriage.

And why would Romney mention his Mormon Faith at a Christian University?

Sometimes the Mainstream Media can be so Stupid!

In Liberty Address, Romney Defends Christian Values

In a bid to win over evangelical voters who have been skeptical of his candidacy, Mitt Romney offered a forceful defense of faith and conservative Christian values, including his stance that marriage should be between only a man and a woman.

In highlighting the virtues of American values before graduates of Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell, Mr. Romney said, “As fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of democratic debate.”

“So it is today with the enduring institution of marriage,” he said. “Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.”

Mr. Romney’s closely watched speech comes at an important juncture for the presumptive Republican nominee. Even as he moves to appeal to the general electorate, particularly independent voters, he must also solidify his support among evangelical Christians, an important part of the Republican base, many of whom had supported his rival, Rick Santorum.

Throughout the Republican primary contests, many evangelical Christians were wary of embracing Mr. Romney, citing his Mormon faith and what they saw as his lack of conviction on social issues, like same-sex marriage, abortion and the ability of religious institutions to keep birth control coverage out of their health plans, which is seen as a test of religious freedom.

Mr. Romney made sure to address those issues in his speech to the university’s crowd of 6,000 graduates and 30,000 friends and family members.

“Religious liberty is the first freedom in our Constitution,” he said. “And whether the cause is justice for the persecuted, compassion for the needy and the sick, or mercy for the child waiting to be born, there is no greater force for good in the nation than Christian conscience in action.”

And he added, “It strikes me as odd that the free exercise of religious faith is sometimes treated as a problem, something America is stuck with instead of being blessed with,” he said. “Perhaps religious conscience upsets the designs of those who feel that the highest wisdom and authority comes from government.”

Mr. Romney mentioned historic Christian figures, including Pope John Paul II, the novelist C.S. Lewis, Billy Graham, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Charles Colson, the Nixon enforcer who went on to become an important evangelical leader. And in a nod to his Republican rival, Mr. Romney also cited Mr. Santorum, saying Mr. Santorum had stressed to him that “culture matters,” that marriage, family and work determine success in life.

“What you believe, what you value, how you live, matters,” Mr. Romney said.

Without mentioning his Mormon faith directly, Mr. Romney also tried to assuage those evangelicals who are wary of his church. “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,” Mr. Romney said. “Surely the answer is that we can meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview.”

The reaction from evangelical leaders was generally positive. “I thought it was a really good speech,” said Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, who had backed Mr. Santorum. “He hit on the religious freedom aspect, again recognizing the shared values while acknowledging the theological differences he has with them. I think he made very clear what marriage is, and in the context of his speech he spoke about the importance of marriage and the family, even giving a hat tip to Senator Santorum.”

“I don’t think I could have improved upon the speech,” he added.

Gary L. Bauer, the president of a Christian advocacy group called American Values, who had strongly pushed for Mr. Santorum, said that this speech would help assuage the concerns of Christian evangelicals.

“I thought it was a home run, and I think so will most values voters,” he said. “He also clearly stood for the sanctity of life, clearly stood for the traditional definition of marriage, and I think importantly, encouraged the students to be bold and stand for those kinds of values, too. I think it’s going to be hard for critics to find much in this to criticize.”

Despite concerns about Mr. Romney’s faith, surveys suggest that evangelicals are beginning to rally behind Mr. Romney’s candidacy. In the latest New York Times/CBS News national telephone poll, conducted last month, 59 percent of evangelical voters said they would vote for Mr. Romney if the election was held today, and among white evangelicals, that number was 72 percent.

Before his speech, some Liberty students, expressing distrust of Mr. Romney’s Mormon faith, were upset at his selection as the commencement speaker.

The university’s student newspaper, The Liberty Champion, even offered pro and con commentary on its editorial page, arguing in the “con” column that, “Choosing Romney to speak continues a dangerous and unethical trend.”

“Mitt Romney was announced as Liberty’s 39th commencement speaker, great — but he is a Mormon,” one article said.

Those concerns seemed to have dissipated yesterday. The crowd reacted warmly.

Debbi Bowen, whose daughter graduated from Liberty’s law school on Saturday, said that while Mr. Romney was not the main attraction — “I’m more excited about my daughter’s graduation, to be honest,” she said — she had no problem with him giving the commencement address.

“I’m glad to see there’s a variety and you don’t have to be one type to speak here,” Ms. Bowen said.

Romney builds inter-faith bridge in Liberty U commencement address

Mitt Romney used the commencement address he delivered Saturday at Liberty University to draw lines between the faith of the evangelical university - especially its founder, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell - and his own.

Among the shared values are Romney's view on marriage, which the GOP presidential candidate raised on Saturday for the first time in a speech since President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday that he personally supports same-sex marriages.

"Culture matters. As fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of democratic debate," Romney said. "So it is today with the enduring institution of marriage. Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman."

Romney said that "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."

"Surely the answer is that we can meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview," he continued. “The best case for this is always the example of Christian men and women working and witnessing to carry God's love into every life."

His invitation to keynote the graduation was initially eyed skeptically by some students and others, who took to social media in protest of the Mormon's presence.

But Romney never mentioned his Mormon faith, and both he and the school sought to look past their differences.

The trustee board executive committee chair Mark DeMoss introduced Romney and encouraged the audience to recognize the difference between knowing someone personally, and simply knowing of them.

"You see, you can know about someone simply by reading about him or her," he said. "But you can only know someone by spending time with them."

DeMoss, who is also a senior advisor to Romney's campaign, recounted a meeting between Romney and the late Falwell, whose son is now chancellor of the school, as well as his own support of the candidate, which stretches back to Romney's term as governor of Massachusetts.

Romney offered a tribute to Falwell, who founded Liberty 40 years ago, remembering him as "courageous and big-hearted minister of the Gospel."

He praised the school for instilling "conviction and confidence" in its students, and lauded the graduates' "moral certainty, clear standards, and a commitment to spiritual ideals," which they share with other greats from history.

"Christianity is not the faith of the complacent, the comfortable or of the timid. It demands and creates heroic souls like Wesley, Wilberforce, Bonhoeffer, John Paul the Second, and Billy Graham," he said. "Each showed, in their own way, the relentless and powerful influence of the message of Jesus Christ. May that be your guide."

Some students, such as J.D. Wilkinson, a worship and music studies major from Springfield, Massachusetts, told CNN that they liked that Romney spoke out on the same-sex marriage issue.

"This school has always been about being not politically correct, just saying it, just telling the truth how it is and I thought he did that," Wilkinson said. "I think that's fresh in today's world and I think that's needed."

Another, Michael Kildare, said he doesn't identify strongly with a particular political party but is open to hearing more about Romney after today's speech. Kildare, who is from Orlando, Florida, will return to his home city to take a job as a computer technician.

"I was kind of skeptical at first but he definitely said some things that I have to take into consideration," he said. "He's definitely a good candidate for the presidency and I definitely look forward to his other speeches and other campaign ideas."

Romney did let his politics slip into his remarks, including an apparent jab at President Barack Obama.

"Lately, I've found myself thinking about life in four-year stretches," he told the 6,000 graduates present. "And let's just say that not everybody has achieved as much in these last four years as you have."

In a sign that the heated GOP primaries are behind him, Romney tipped his hat to former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, crediting his one-time rival for sharing statistics which support his own marriage stance. And Romney recalled the challenges of those primaries when he recognized restaurant founder Truett Cathy, who Liberty University recognized for his philanthropic efforts.

"The Romney campaign comes to a sudden stop when we spot a Chick-fil-A," Romney said. "Your chicken sandwiches were our comfort food through the primary season, and heaven knows there were days that we needed a lot of comfort."

Looking out at the graduates, who he noted are entering the job market, the presidential candidate teased about his current occupational hopes.

"Promotions often mark the high points in a career," he said. "I hope I haven't seen the last one of those."

View Larger Map

Sources: CNN, Fox News, NY Times, Washington Post, Youtube, Google Maps

No comments: