Gov. Romney’s Powerful Remarks to the Graduates of Liberty University

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-Life Mitt Romney delivering commencement address at Liberty University.

I am not entirely sure which was the superior message: Mitt Romney’s address to the graduates of Liberty University or Ann Romney’s op-ed written in anticipation of Mother’s Day for USA Today (“Three Seasons of Motherhood,” found at www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/story/2012-05-10/ann-romney-mitt-stay-home-work-mom-grandkids/54862378/1). Both were absolutely terrific—extremely well-written, thoughtful, and evidence of a couple who place family and country first.

Let me make a few comments about a speech the Associated Press headlined, “Romney Tells Liberty Grads What Really Matters.”

As I listened, I couldn’t help contrasting it with a commencement address I had heard in person the week before, delivered by a local pro-abortion NPR talk host. Her very brief remarks bordered on the narcissistic.

The graduates were merely props for her to lament this, that, and the other thing, the core of which is we don’t listen to one another enough. (In other words, she trashed Facebook, Twitter, and other examples of the new social media.) Nary a word of encouragement. Her speech was as dull as it was perfunctory and self-absorbed.

Gov. Romney’s speech was the exact opposite, an example of that over-used and often misused term “self-deprecatory.” He was genuinely funny and his remarks were barb-free. Gov. Romney, properly, did not see the occasion as an opportunity to wallop opponents, but rather to gentle distinguish points of view.

The speech was for the graduates and was book-ended by tributes to the founder of Liberty University, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, and the late Chuck Colson, both of whom were fiercely but engagingly pro-life. Let me offer just one quotation.

It combines an allusion to the Obama Administration’s mandate requiring religious institutions and individuals of conscience to pay for health insurance plans that cover medical procedures and drugs contrary to their religious beliefs and consciences with a defense of the unborn. Romney told the graduates,

“The protection of religious freedom has also become a matter of debate.  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 blessed with.  Perhaps religious conscience upsets the designs of those who feel that the highest wisdom and authority comes from government.

“But from the beginning, this nation trusted in God, not man.  Religious liberty is the first freedom in our Constitution.  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.”

In the middle of his address, Mr. Romney offered this keen observation which speaks to what you are doing:

“Moral certainty, clear standards, and a commitment to spiritual ideals will set you apart in a world that searches for meaning. That said, your values will not always be the object of public admiration.  In fact, the more you live by your beliefs, the more you will endure the censure of the world.”

Pro-lifers are very familiar with this. How many times have we been told that when it comes to abortion to not be so absolutist, to just live and let live, so to speak.

But if we choose to be silent, to stand idly, the result will not be “live and let live” for 1.2 million unborn babies each and every year.

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