Bernie Sanders to speak at Liberty U!

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Liberty University seal

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Liberty University seal

Liberty University seal

Liberty University seal

Yesterday Liberty University announced that Bernie Sanders is going to speak at one of its weekly Convocations September 14. You heard that right. Brooklyn-born, Vermont-representing, socialist, secular Jewish, Independent, would-be Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is going to speak at the mother ship of the religious right. I for one couldn’t be more excited.

Now you might have thought that Liberty would restrict its speakers to like-minded Christian souls. And indeed, this Fall line-up is pretty darned along those lines, featuring such luminaries as Christian recording artist David Crowder, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Fox News Anchor Gretchen Carlson, and the Heritage Foundation’s Jim DeMint.

But it’s important to recognize the country’s largest evangelical Christian university (if you include the 100,000 online students) is not all about, well, Christians. The line-up also includes former Education Secrectary William J. Bennett, who’s Catholic, and neurosurgeon/president-wannabe Ben Carson, who was disinvited from a Southern Baptist pastors meeting this year because he’s Seventh-Day Adventist. And that’s not to mention Orthodox Jewish rabbi and talk-show host Daniel Lapin.

But Mark, you’re saying, those non-Christians are nothing if not like-minded. Well, then, I give you Virginia Democratic governor and Clinton pal Terry McAuliffe, who accepted a Convocation invitation for last March 23. Unfortunately, that pesky Ted Cruz showed up at Liberty to announce his candidacy for president that very day and McAuliffe pulled out.

Now you’re thinking: The Sanders invitation is all about tweaking Hillary, as well as perhaps assuring Liberty’s non-profit tax exemption by demonstrating that it is no partisan outfit. Whatever, I’ll concede that Bernie is something of a Convocation anomaly. What’s for sure is that he’ll have a big audience, and not just because he’ll be quite the object of curiosity. All students in residence at Liberty are required to attend Convocation. So on Sept. 14 he will face the largest captive audience of the least like-minded folks he’ll address this election season.

I’d advise him to use his time to explain why he’s keeping the flame alive for single-payer health coverage, and why he supports President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran as well as his climate change initiative. It may be the first time the students have heard such things. It will be great to see how they react.

  • drwho13

    He will bring them the truth; and as they themselves say, “the truth Will Set You Free!”

  • Pingback: How did Vermont become America’s heroin capital, Bernie? | SPIR()

  • Jack

    Actually, Mark Silk is not saying that this is all about tweaking Hillary…..change the headline, RNS.

  • drwho13

    So Bernie is responsible for the problem? Get real.

  • Larry

    I bet the school won’t fine the students for failing to attend Bernie Sanders speech like they did for Ted Cruz. 🙂

  • Chris

    Yes they will. Convocation is a required event three times a week for residential students at Liberty. Cruz just announced during Convocation, the same event Sanders will be speaking at, so we will be required to attend Sanders speech just as much as we were required to attend Ted Cruz’s speech.

  • Larry

    Ouch. Nothing like coerced participation in political events to show the joys of being part of the democratic process. 🙂

  • dmj76

    congratulations on having such a great debate team – even liberals have heard how good it is.

  • Be Brave

    Bernie is my pick for President. A truly honest man that is a genuine as it gets. (Unlike Scott Walker) He is gaining in popularity simply because the content of his character is good. Remember what “good” actually is? IF, he is allowed by the “corporate media” any decent amount of air time, he will be the next President.

    Yes, yes, I am a conservative Christian. Yup, I am the same person that always writes as “Be Brave.” I will vote for Bernie Sanders IF allowed the privilege.

  • Doc Anthony

    Ooops! Looks like Larry got corrected. Thanks Chris.

  • Larry

    Not really. The point was to show that students are forced to attend these events.

    The smiley emoticon was there to show I was not being serious.

  • drwho13

    I was referring to the article that was taken down; it addressed the heroin problem in Vermont.

  • While Gibson and RNS scratch their heads and wonder how this came about, here’s a hint:

    Both Bernie Sanders and Liberty University apparently share an interest in getting away from the media’s drooling obsession with sexual issues.

    Good for them.

  • just john

    Think of Liberty’s mandatory convocation attendance as a class with mandatory lectures to be attended. No difference. It is part of the education experience with a wide breadth of “lecturers”. Students know the deal before they go and have the liberty of attending the university or not.

  • Patricia Fish
    Liberty University received half a billion dollars in federal aid money in 2011.
    It seems logical that a candidate for POTUS would be graciously welcomed at Liberty University.

  • Peace

    Liberty University is the No. 1 recipient of Pell grant money in the state of Virginia. A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid.
    Many Liberty U students use Pell grants to pay for tuition, room and board and other expenses.

    Im not sure other speakers were aware of these facts. Cruz calls social justice a cancer