Mitt Romney: Mormon Candidate at Baptist Liberty University Moves Catholic Editor
or even nations. The drama is always personal, individual, unfolding in one's own life. We're not alone in sensing this. Men and women of every faith, and good people with none at all, sincerely strive to do right and lead a purpose-driven life."
This was a well delivered speech filled with excellent content which the Romney campaign should use more frequently in the campaign ahead. The signal was sent to many who, like me, who are deeply concerned that the moral issues not be separated from the economic issues. It appears that the presumptive Republican candidate has listened.
Governor Romney did not attempt to argue the compatibility of his own religious faith and that of most of the graduates. I was relieved. He told the graduates and their guests, "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. 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 - people like the late Chuck Colson."
"Not long ago, Chuck recounted a story from his days just after leaving prison. He was assured by people of influence that, even with a prison record, a man with his connections and experience could still live very comfortably. They would make some calls, get Chuck situated, and set him up once again as an important man. His choice at that crossroads would make him, instead, a great man."
I will attend Chuck's memorial service this week. He had a great influence on my own life when I was a younger man. I was moved that the Governor included him in the commencement address. Chuck deserved the honor and, frankly, I think he would have approved. What I discovered in this speech and the venue was the importance of our exercise of faithful citizenship at this critical moment in our history as a free people - a Nation conceived in liberty.
The Governor concluded with these remarks: "The call to service is one of the fundamental elements of our national character. It has motivated every great movement of conscience that this hopeful, fair-minded country of ours has ever seen. Sometimes, as Dr. Viktor Frankl observed in a book for the ages, it is not a matter of what we are asking of life, but rather what life is asking of us. How often the answer to our own troubles is to help others with theirs.
"In all of these things - faith, family, work, and service -the choices we make as Americans are, in other places, not choices at all. For so many on this earth, life is filled with orders, not options, right down to where they live, the work they do, and how many children the state will permit them to have. All the more reason to be grateful, this and every day, that we live in America, where the talents God gave us may be used in freedom."
The Romney candidacy raises a certain irony. Here we had a Mormon candidate who went to Liberty University and addressed a crowd which has major disagreement with his religious faith. However, it was this candidate who affirmed the fundamental moral values which inform the foundations of the American experiment in ordered liberty. He did so in a way which even made this Catholic Editor look twice at his candidacy.
I contend that I have more in common theologically with Liberty's Baptists as a Catholic Christian - though I am sure some present in Lynchburg on Saturday would disagree. However, Mitt Romney hit a home run in Lynchburg, Virginia on Saturday. That commencement address was not only a great speech, it also inspired me at an important moment.
Article VI, Paragraph 3 of the US Constitution includes these words, "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."
This Mormon candidate who spoke at that Baptist Liberty University is looking better and better to this Catholic citizen as the fall Presidential race approaches. The future of the American experiment in ordered liberty is at risk.We do indeed share common values which are essential for our future as a free people. Mitt Romney is correct, "we can meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview."
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Mitt Romney, Jerry Falwell, Liberty University, campaign 2012, Mormon, Liberty, life, marriage, family, freedom, Keith A Fournier
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