The Corner

The Liberty Campaign

I spent Thursday morning at a Catholic prayer breakfast, but the big news of the day was in the Evangelical world.

Liberty University announced that Mitt Romney will be their commencement speaker this year. That’s important for Romney, for Liberty, for political ecumenism on the right.

Romney was invited by Liberty, and I can imagine some made the case to the former governor of Massachusetts that he shouldn’t accept. It’s just about the general election now, move on from trying to make Evangelical Christians happy, I imagine he very easily may have been told by some.

But he accepted. And with that acceptance, he sends a signal: It’s not breaking news that Mitt Romney considers religion a good thing and the practice of faith in the world worth defending — he’s been active in his church, he has a record of defending religious liberty, and he delivered an important speech on the issue the last time he ran in a Republican primary. But that he said “yes” is significant: He’s not moving left; he’s not bitter toward Evangelicals who preferred Rick Santorum; he’s not ashamed of an important part of the GOP base.

And it doesn’t hurt that in a general election where liberty is the most significant issue, he is speaking at a place called Liberty.

Mark DeMoss, a Romney adviser who graduated from Liberty and serves as a trustee there, predicts that the commencement will be “the largest live audience he will address in the entire campaign prior to accepting the nomination in Tampa” — over 30,000, from across the country. “Liberty has become an important stop for conservative candidates for a number of years now [from Reagan in 1980 to Perry in 2011] and the timing turned out to be perfect in light of how the campaign season has developed,” DeMoss notes.

“It’s both gratifying and unsurprising,” David French, co-founder of Evangelicals for Mitt and longtime supporter says. “It’s gratifying to see Mitt and a key Evangelical institution connecting.  It’s unsurprising because the differences between Mitt and, say, Rick Santorum were dramatically over-hyped in the Evangelical community during the primaries. Romney, Santorum, and Liberty (Mormon, Catholic, Protestant) share core moral and cultural values — values that the Obama administration often directly attacks.”

Romney has blasted this administration’s erosion of religious liberty, including in an interview with our own Bob Costa.

This November, Americans face an election that will decide the future of our nation. Is the first freedom, religious liberty, worthy of protection? Romney’s a standard-bearer here. And Liberty isn’t a bad place for him to articulate that.

Most Popular

Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More