Mitt Romney’s Liberty University Commencement Address

Governor Mitt Romney's Commencement Address (FOX)


Governor Romney delivered a powerful commencement address to the graduating students of evangelical Christian Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia earlier today. This speech was historic for many reasons.

Before Governor Romney spoke, Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. addressed the commencement day crowd of approximately 34,000. He reminded the audience that his father, the late Reverend Jerry Falwell, founded the university in 1971 to be for evangelical Christians “what Notre Dame is to young Catholics and Brigham Young is to young Mormons.”

The introduction for Governor Romney begins at 25:27 with remarks from Chancellor Falwell and Mark DeMoss, Chairman of Liberty University. (You don’t want to skip the intros!):

If that video gives you problems, click here to watch the address on Youtube.

By Mitt Romney

For the graduates, this moment marks a clear ending and a clear beginning. The task set before you four years ago is now completed in full. To the class of 2012: Well done, and congratulations.

Some of you may have taken a little longer than four years to complete your studies. One graduate has said that he completed his degree in only two terms: Clinton’s and Bush’s.

In some ways, it is fitting that I share this distinction with Truett Cathy. The Romney campaign comes to a sudden stop when we spot a Chick-fil-A. Your chicken sandwiches were our comfort food through the primary season, and there were days that we needed a lot of comforting. So, Truett, thank you and congratulations on your well-deserved honor today.

There are some people here who are even more pleased than the graduates. Those would be the parents. Their years of prayers, devotion, and investment have added up to this joyful achievement. And with credit to Congressman Dick Armey: The American Dream is not owning your own home, it is getting your kids out of the home you own.

Lately, I’ve found myself thinking about life in four-year stretches. And let’s just say that not everybody has achieved as much in these last four years as you have.

That’s a theme for another day. But two observations. First, even though job opportunities are scarce in this economy, it is not for nothing that you have spent this time preparing. Jerry Falwell, Senior, long ago observed that “You do not determine a man’s greatness by his talent or wealth, as the world does, but rather by what it takes to discourage him.” America needs your skill and talent. If we take the right course, we will see a resurgence in the American economy that will surprise the world, and that will open new doors of opportunity for those who are prepared as you are.

Of course, what the next four years might hold for me is yet to be determined. But I will say that things are looking up, and I take your kind hospitality today as a sign of good things to come.

I consider it a great life honor to address you today. Your generosity of spirit humbles me. The welcoming spirit of Liberty is a tribute to the gracious Christian example of your founder.

In his 73 years of life, Dr. Falwell left a big mark. For nearly five decades he shared that walk with his good wife Macel. It’s wonderful to see her today. The calling Jerry answered was not an easy one. Today we remember him as a courageous and big-hearted minister of the Gospel who never feared an argument, and never hated an adversary. Jerry deserves the tribute he would have treasured most, as a cheerful, confident champion for Christ.

I will always remember his cheerful good humor and selflessness. Several years ago, in my home, my wife and I were posing for a picture together with him. We wanted him to be in the center of the photo, but he insisted that Ann be in the middle, with he and I on the sides. He explained, by pointing to me and himself, “You see, Christ died between two thieves.”

Maybe the most confident step Jerry ever took was to open the doors of this school 41 years ago.

He believed that Liberty might become one of the most respected Christian universities anywhere on earth. And so it is today.

He believed, even when the first graduating class consisted of 13 students, that year after year young Christians would be drawn to such a university in ever-greater numbers. And here you are.

Today, thanks to what you have gained here, you leave Liberty with conviction and confidence as your armor. You know what you believe. You know who you are. And you know Whom you will serve. Not all colleges instill that kind of confidence, but it will be among the most prized qualities from your education here. 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. 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. Each showed, in their own way, the relentless and powerful influence of the message of Jesus Christ. May that be your guide.

You enter a world with civilizations and economies that are far from equal. Harvard historian David Landes devoted his lifelong study to understanding why some civilizations rise, and why others falter. His conclusion: Culture makes all the difference. Not natural resources, not geography, but what people believe and value. Central to America’s rise to global leadership is our Judeo-Christian tradition, with its vision of the goodness and possibilities of every life.

The American culture promotes personal responsibility, the dignity of work, the value of education, the merit of service, devotion to a purpose greater than self, and, at the foundation, the pre-eminence of the family.

The power of these values is evidenced by a Brookings Institution study that Senator Rick Santorum brought to my attention. For those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job, and marry before they have their first child, the probability that they will be poor is 2%. But, if those things are absent, 76% will be poor. Culture matters.

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

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.

Religious freedom opens a door for Americans that is closed to too many others around the world. But whether we walk through that door, and what we do with our lives after we do, is up to us.

Someone once observed that the great drama of Christianity is not a crowd shot, following the movements of collectives 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.

And, in the way of lessons learned, by hitting the mark or by falling short, I can tell you this much for sure.

All that you have heard here at Liberty University – about trusting in God and in His purpose for each of us–makes for more than a good sermon. It makes for a good life. So many things compete for our attention and devotion. That doesn’t stop as you get older. We are all prone, at various turns, to treat the trivial things as all-important, the all-important things as trivial, and little by little lose sight of the one thing that endures forever.

No person I have ever met, not even the most righteous or pure of heart, has gone without those times when faith recedes in the busy-ness of life. It’s normal, and sometimes even the smallest glimpses of the Lord’s work in our lives can reawaken our hearts. They bring us back to ourselves – and, better still, to something far greater than ourselves.

What we have, what we wish we had – ambitions fulfilled, ambitions disappointed … investments won, investments lost … elections won, elections lost – these things may occupy our attention, but they do not define us. And each of them is subject to the vagaries and serendipities of life. Our relationship with our Maker, however, depends on none of this. It is entirely in our control, for He is always at the door, and knocks for us. Our worldly successes cannot be guaranteed, but our ability to achieve spiritual success is entirely up to us, thanks to the grace of God. The best advice I know is to give those worldly things your best but never your all, reserving the ultimate hope for the only one who can grant it.

Many a preacher has advised the same, but few as memorably as Martin Luther King, Jr. “As a young man,” he said, “with most of my life ahead of me, I decided early to give my life to something eternal and absolute. Not to these little gods that are here today and gone tomorrow. But to God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

In this life, the commitments that come closest to forever are those of family.

My Dad, George Romney, was a CEO, a governor, and a member of the President’s Cabinet. My wife Ann asked him once, “What was your greatest accomplishment?” Without a moment’s pause, he said, “Raising our four kids.”

Ann and I feel the same way about our family. I have never once regretted missing a business opportunity so that I could be with my children and grandchildren. Among the things in life that can be put off, being there when it matters most isn’t one of them.

As C.S. Lewis is said to have remarked, “The home is the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose, and that is to support the ultimate career.”

Promotions often mark the high points in a career, and I hope I haven’t seen my last. But sometimes the high points come in unexpected ways. I was asked to help rescue the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

I’m embarrassed now to recall that when this opportunity was first presented to me, I dismissed it out of hand. I was busy, I was doing well, and, by the way, my lack of athletic prowess did not make the Olympics a logical step. In fact, after I had accepted the position, my oldest son called me and said, “Dad, I’ve spoken to the brothers. We saw the paper this morning. We want you to know there’s not a circumstance we could have conceived of that would put you on the front page of the sports section.”

The Olympics were not a logical choice, but it was one of the best and most fulfilling choices of my life. Opportunities for you to serve in meaningful ways may come at inconvenient times, but that will make them all the more precious.

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.

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.

At this great Christian institution, you have all learned a thing or two about these gifts and the good purposes they can serve. They are yours to have and yours to share. Sometimes, your Liberty education will set you apart, and always it will help direct your path. And as you now leave, and make for new places near and far, I hope for each one of you that your path will be long and life will be kind.

The ideals that brought you here … the wisdom you gained here … and the friends you found here – may these blessings be with you always, wherever you go.

Thank you all, and God bless you.

Photo - Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Governor Romney’s speech built an inter-faith bridge:

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.

(emphasis added)

Congratulations and best wishes to the graduates!


Gingrich Drops? Shirtless Mitt; Santorum Complains; MSM Hates Mitt; Illinois & Louisiana! (Applebee’s CEO Touts GMR’s Many Strengths — Video)

THANK YOU to all Puerto Rico voters for your overwhelming support of Governor Romney today! — CONGRATULATIONS to you and to Governor Romney!

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There has been one article after another talking about how Gingrich needs to get out of the race to benefit Santorum and to make this a two-man, face-to-face run for the nomination. Often, the implication is that the vast majority of Gingrich voters will swing to Santorum. Even the TV pundits seem to be touting some inherent weakness in Romney that only allows him to garner “one third of all the votes in any given primary” etc.

If you were to believe the MSM (and most passive voters do), you would conclude that Romney is failing miserably and that the perpetual Gingrich ego trip only helps Romney to keep the “anti-Romney” vote splintered — nevermind that Romney is winning in every category! It is simply wishful thinking and has no basis in fact (see Michael Medved’s reasoning as to why the “Major Mainstream Media” hate Mitt Romney at the end of this post).

Let’s look at what happens if Mr. Newt were to walk away from the limelight — behavior that would belie his self-interest. Dante Chinni wrote an outstanding article Friday in The Wall Street Journal, titled, “Politics Counts: Who Benefits If Gingrich Drops Out?”

The most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found the dynamics of the national race would not change dramatically if it were a simple Romney-Santorum showdown. With the four current candidates in the field Mr. Romney leads Mr. Santorum 38% to 32%. If it is just the two of them in the running Mr. Romney still leads 45% to 40%.
[…]
The vast majority of Illinois voters live in the big city Industrial Metropolis of Cook County, home of Chicago, and the wealthy Monied Burb counties that surround it. So the net Newt impact would probably be pretty small. The same would probably true in upcoming primaries in Wisconsin, New York and Connecticut.

Louisiana, which votes Saturday March 24, is a very different story. In Louisiana, 70% of the population lives in Minority Central counties and 18% live in the Boom Towns. In other words, if form follows, the Gingrich vote there could play a very big role in who ultimately wins the state. The same might also be true in states like North Carolina and Kentucky that are still ahead.

[emphasis added]

Also Friday, Gallup published an article that included the latest results of one of its surveys to show categorically who “Gingrich voters” would likely support if he were to exit the race. Do you think we will hear much about this in the MSM? It is highly unlikely! Why? See Michael Medved’s article at the end of this post.

FROM THE GALLUP STUDY:

Republican voters who prefer Newt Gingrich for the party’s 2012 presidential nomination are as likely to name Mitt Romney as their second choice as they are to name Rick Santorum, suggesting the race would not tilt in Santorum’s favor if Gingrich dropped out.
[…]
Some conservative Republicans have called for Gingrich to drop out of the race on the assumption that conservative primary voters would then unite behind Santorum as the conservative alternative to the more moderate Romney. But Gallup data indicate that Gingrich voters would not be likely to coalesce behind Santorum, suggesting that factors other than candidate ideology may be attracting voters to Gingrich, Santorum, and Romney.

Gallup can simulate Republican preferences without Gingrich in the race by removing Gingrich votes and reassigning them to his voters’ second-choice candidate. The results of this procedure suggest that national GOP preferences would change little if Gingrich dropped out. The reconfigured preferences show Romney getting 40% of the vote and Santorum getting 33%. That seven-percentage-point Romney lead is essentially the same as the six-point (34% to 28%) Romney lead in March 8-15 interviewing with Gingrich support included.
[…]
Thus, Santorum may not benefit much from Gingrich dropping out because the most conservative voters already support Santorum to a large degree, and Gingrich’s appeal to this group is not substantially greater than Romney’s.

[Gallup continues below the fold + Medved + Chart + Photos]… (more…)

Open Letter to the All-Powerful Illinois Voters — The Tipping Point is Now!

By Greg Stapley

Much has been said about the faceless “Republican Establishment” that supposedly wants this candidate or that candidate to represent the party in the upcoming presidential election. I don’t know who that is, or if such an Establishment even exists, but the people talking about it ignore one important fact: this thing is in the hands of American voters. And American voters seldom take orders from “establishments.”

Greg Stapley

This, week one state’s voters have the unique and historic opportunity to seal the decision in what could be the last meaningful contest of this primary season. Illinois voters can determine the course of history by finally picking the opposition candidate to Barack Obama.

We have some great candidates to oppose the current occupant of the White House. Every one of these contenders — Mitt, Rick, Newt, Ron — is a faithful son of the party. Each has substantial electoral credentials, and each of course has a record.

Not one of them is exactly like me or you. Each one is conservative in many things, but none of them has been perfectly consistent in all.

For example, Mitt is an economic conservative, but historically has not been as socially conservative as I am.

Rick is a social conservative, but his repeated earmarking, votes for Davis-Bacon and unbridled debt-limit increases make him anything but an economic conservative.

Ron is a monetary conservative, but he is somewhere to the left of Jane Fonda on national defense and foreign policy.

And Newt is a political conservative, but the danger for political conservatives is that they are political, and sometimes that means they compromise when they shouldn’t, and wind up sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelosi.

Nobody’s perfect.

But this is undeniable: Every single one of them would be miles ahead of Barack Obama in getting our economic house in order, putting America back to work, and restoring the American values that we hold dear.

This too is undeniable: None of them can win the general election alone. It will take all of us unitedly fighting together against the Obama machine to put our nominee over the top. And we need to start now.

The first step, if our opposition nominee is going to win the general, will be for us as voters to pull them all off of the hamster wheel that this primary has become. You know what I’m talking about: the increasingly cruel and counterproductive exercise in which the candidates are forced to constantly run around the country trying to “out-conservative” each other just to get that next block of delegates. It’s wearing all of them (and us) out, and it will ultimately damage our cause in the Fall.

And so without descending into the quagmire of which one is better than the other on this particular issue or that, it seems like it’s time to pull back and look at the big picture. It’s time to finally figure out which one is best positioned to carry the banner for American values and priorities in the upcoming general election. It’s time to put the debate amongst ourselves to rest. [more photos of romance below the fold] (more…)

Barack Obama’s Team Admits Losing to Mitt Romney

In case you missed it, the Obama camp admitted two days ago that it could lose the election for President to Governor Romney. But why go negative? Why not try to convince your supporters with all the positive things your candidate possesses? Check it here:

President Carter / Single-Term President

Friend,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina wrote today, “If the general election were held today, President Obama would lose to Mitt Romney — according to the latest poll from Washington Post-ABC News. Now, many other polls put the President on top, but all point to the same reality: We’re looking at a race that will be tighter than you think,” Messina warned.

Messina didn’t even bother praising the president when he asked for money. “If the idea of a President Romney scares you, it’s time to own a piece of this campaign,” he said before appealing for donations of $3 and up.

Gotta love it! Mark March 13, 2012 on your calendar as the first day the Obama team began its whining. From now until November, we will hear all kinds of whining from Obama, his surrogates, the MSM, union leaders, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, every actor in Hollywood (except the best one there — A TRUE AMERICAN HERO: Gary Sinise), Barbara Streisand, and about 50,000 other celebrities who love throwing money away.

Be sure to watch the video on the next page. (more…)

2012 Cycle: Snapshot / Analysis / Mormonism Fading / Prediction / Video

This is a great snapshot of the race and a good look to the future delegate line-up:

The Wall Street Journal had some good analysis yesterday. The above chart came from this article — here are some of the better quotes:

“The reality of this race from here on out is that any day that Santorum doesn’t cut into Romney’s delegate lead is a day that Romney wins,” said Josh Putnam, a professor who tracks delegate tallies at North Carolina’s Davidson College.
[...]
There are just four winner-take-all contests left: Washington, D.C., on April 3, Delaware on April 24, New Jersey on June 5, and Utah on June 26. Mr. Santorum failed to get on the D.C. ballot.

The Journal also carried an article about Romney’s faith in which it states that it is not as much a factor now as it was in the 2008 cycle.

John Green, a University of Akron political scientist who studies religion and politics, said the Romney religion question has attracted less attention this year in part because it is old news.

“Back in 2007, this was something people didn’t know. Now people know a lot about Mitt Romney,” he said.

Polling also suggests the issue is receding. In a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll in October, 57% of Republicans said they felt comfortable with Mr. Romney’s Mormon faith, up from 50% in December, 2007. The share who said they didn’t feel comfortable dropped to 14% from the 21% of late 2007.

The WSJ Op-Ed page carried this article about Santorum’s success Tuesday in the South. Reference is also made to Gingrich:

[... ] His goal increasingly seems to be to stay in the race to win enough delegates to deny Mr. Romney a majority and force a brokered convention.

Even in that event, however, Mr. Gingrich won’t be the man the GOP turns to. His negative ratings are too high, even among Republicans. His weekend comments that the U.S. mission in Afghanistan may no longer be “doable” may not hurt him with a war-weary public. But the remarks had the air of political opportunism as he grasps for any issue to re-ignite his campaign. The Georgian needs to look hard at whether his continued candidacy divides conservatives enough to deny Mr. Santorum a better chance at the nomination.

Finally, are your discussions of politics costing you friends? Maybe they are and you don’t know it. I found this both interesting and amusing for those who are political junkies (video clip) ——–> THE FIVE

Prediction: Ron Paul will drop out of the race soon after Newt Gingrich does.

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THE SOUTH: Resistance — Obstacles — Head Winds — Impediments — Contention — SUCCESS IN SPITE OF…

********** This Site is Worth Setting in Favorites **********

For those of you seeking additional insight beyond the mere political, I highly recommend the writing of our friends over at Article 6 Blog. Their research is second to none and their writing is intellectually stimulating as they bring to light those who attempt to obfuscate or otherwise distract from truth. Their exposure of the ignorant I find to be refreshing; even cathartic. Frankly, I am inspired by their tireless efforts to promote the most qualified presidential candidate this country has presented in decades — these three men, Lowell, Reynolds, and Schroeder provide an invaluable service to America as they inform us and denounce the ignorant among us.

Craig and Dad

Many of you leave comments in the published posts here at Mitt Romney Central referring to overt bigotry you have discovered in your research of those who support candidates opposing Governor Romney or you ask why Governor Romney does not seem “to connect” to many in the South. Keeping up on the work of Lowell, Reynolds, and Schroeder will help you understand that Governor Romney’s remarkable success to date is all the more impressive when you understand who opposes him out of ignorance, fear, or bigoted agenda.

The kind of resistance we are seeing right now against Governor Romney in the underground is nothing compared to what is brewing in the Obama camp.

Lowell, Reynolds, and Schroeder often refer to “The Question” — What is it? —-> CLICK

Who are these guys? What drives them? ——> CLICK

Two Recent Samples from Article 6 Blog:

HUMOR: Related to Obama Having No Flaws or Weaknesses

Or this recent post by John Schroeder about a Santorum surrogate, soon to become an Obama surrogate:

THINGS ARE ABOUT TO GET REALLY INTERESTING

As a frequent visitor to MRC, you may have wondered why we generally do not write about or report on the obvious religious undertones that “reporters” touch on in their coded missives. Maybe you have considered us ignorant to the obvious — we are not. Maybe you have considered us shy on the subject — we are not.

An important guiding principle of the MRC contributors is to promote Governor Romney’s candidacy with fact, truth, the record, and light. In part, we feel confident in doing so because we know our candidate will overcome the unseemly no matter how passionate his opponents are in promoting the dark side. Additionally, we are confident that others more qualified than we will handle the subject — they are Article 6 Blog.

Mitt Romney Speaks Candidly of “Pastoring People” in his Congregation — Without Pay

MY PHOTOGRAPH OF THE WEEK. I love shots like this one!

Playing games with the kids

My wife and I often discuss how it is frustrating that so many people have the entirely wrong image and impression of Governor Romney. One of my goals as a contributor here at MRC is to reveal more of “the real” Mitt Romney so that Americans can make a more informed decision (it is why I include photographs of him with his family at home or at play — as above). Our frustration is expressed from time to time by others on the campaign trail. Just yesterday in Ohio a Romney supporter was anxious to ask Gov. Romney a question to prompt him to speak about his “heart.”

I found this article as a tip from an MRC “chatter” with the call sign: “WookieOnline” — THANKS Wookie!

NOTE: Be sure to click on the link (“The Note“) and scroll to the bottom of the article to watch the video to see Gov. Romney’s unusually candid comments about his service as his congregations pastor.

ABC News published this article and video here under THE NOTE.

David Muir reported on “World News with Diane Sawyer” a town hall in Bexley, Ohio provided to be a surprisingly candid moment for the candidate.

During the question and answer portion of the campaign event supporter Greg Davis took his turn at the microphone to share his frustration with how his candidate of choice is being portrayed.

“We have seen that you are very successful. It seems like the media portrays you like you don’t have a heart. I’d like you to share with all the American citizens what you have done in your life, where you have received no compensation, to show the American people that you have a lot of heart and you love Americans,” Davis told Romney.

“One of the challenges in a presidential campaign is that most people just see you in the debates,” Romney replied. “And in settings like that, people don’t get to know you very well. And in settings like this, with questions like that, you can get to know me a little better. By far the most important thing in my life is my wife Ann and I fell in love young, we’re still in love. We have a marriage still filled with love.”

As Muir reported on “World News” Romney went on to talk about his sons and grandsons, and then in a rare moment Romney brought up his Mormon faith, something he rarely discussed on the campaign trail.

“My religion is an unusual one in a number of respects, but one in particular, we don’t have a paid ministry in our church. So we don’t have a minister that is full time. And instead, the church head quarters asks certain members to serve as pastor of the congregation. So I was asked to do that for a certain period of time. And of course that is done without compensation. It would be around 20-40 hours a week. So on top of my job, I was pasturing people in my congregation,” explained Romney.

Many political observers looking to the weeks, and possibly months, ahead in this campaign say that this type of candor and emotion is exactly what Romney needs to better relate to voters.

[emphasis added]

Note: Governor Romney has spent much of his career in positions in which he served without pay. In addition to his serving in several unpaid church leadership positions, he took the Olympics out of $400 million in debt over three years without pay; he served four years as governor without pay; well after he left Bain, it had financial troubles and he was asked to come back and lead it out out of trouble, which he did without pay.

“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan…” — Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address — March 4, 1865

Mitt Romney: “The Best…Most Qualified Candidate…Will be an Outstanding President” (guest post)

I LOVE THIS SHOT!

Another great photograph telling a great story!

Occasionally, we will publish opinions submitted to us by visitors that have studied Governor Romney over many years. Gary Chidester is a frequent visitor to MRC and he provided this powerful endorsement of Governor Romney. He informs us that he is a retired Iowa school teacher. This particular opinion carries some additional weight in my mind because Chidester personally spoke to all four candidates while they campaigned in Iowa.

Mr. Chidester’s Op-Ed below nails it! I wish to add that Governor Romney is far superior to any of the remaining candidates in so many ways; but as an executive leader, the other three don’t even come close. Governor Romney has worked most of his career as a chief executive of major organizations. Even if you combined the careers of Santorum, Gingrich, and Paul (~100 years), there is no comparison to the years of executive experience of Governor Romney! Think about it.

By Gary Chester

I have been a Romney Republican, since 2007. He is the BEST candidate we have had in decades! When his issues and vision for America were shown to my friends, (as from Candidate X), almost everyone agreed that ‘this’ was the candidate they would support. When I told them that Gov. Romney was the candidate, nearly everyone started to fudge about their decision.

I am, however, surprised and saddened that some of my dear Iowa Republican friends are still playing the ‘religion’ card. For such an enlightened State, I’m ashamed that this one issue is the Achilles’ heel of the general mindset. Sadly, most Americans are the same way. If Gov. Romney would have been a Methodist or a Baptist, he probably would have been the Republican nominee in 2008 and would have won the election that Fall. (more…)

Texas Ranch Meeting: About Conservatism or Religion? The Obvious Truth

Over the last 10 days or so, much as been reported about a meeting or conference of evangelical leaders to be held at the ranch of a judge in Texas. That meeting happened yesterday. There have been literally dozens of newspaper and online articles published leading up to the meeting, and afterward, with all of the accompanying speculation and anticipation. Their goal? To decide upon the “conservative alternative” to Mitt Romney. Really? They must think all Americans are completely ignorant.

Senator Rick Santorum (Photo credit: AP)


Saturday in The Dallas Morning News, Robert Jeffress (yes, that one) was quoted:

“The fat lady hasn’t sung yet, but she’s in the green room warming up. It looks like Gov. Romney is going to win the nomination,” said Jeffress, who was not at the meeting but made headlines last year when he warned that Mormonism is a cult.

Jeffress cautioned that while some say evangelicals will have no choice but to vote for Romney, millions could stay home as they did in 2008 unless the former Massachusetts governor gives Christian conservatives a reason to turn out for him. He suggested that Romney, should he become the nominee, strongly promise that he will appoint anti-abortion judges to the U.S. Supreme Court.

From the many reports I read about the meeting of over 150 leaders, they cast votes (more than one time) to choose one of the “not-Mitt” candidates still remaining. Their selection was Rick Santorum, to the chagrin of Mr. Gingrich (I wonder why they decided against Newt? — a real head scratcher!).

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council says conservatives are looking for a candidate who will repeal the nation’s health care law, fight for pro family values and address the national debt.

Governor Romney was the first to declare he would seek to repeal ObamaCare — and forcefully. Which other candidate has better family values than Governor Romney?

This National Journal piece gives a good sense of the jockeying:

“We have been successful as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney,” Santorum told reporters in Mount Pleasant, S.C. Later, he said in a statement that every candidate had “coveted” the endorsement. “It is time to coalesce behind the full spectrum conservative in this race who will fight for their values and won’t waiver when times get tough,” Santorum said. That was a reference to himself. The next sentence was a reference to Romney: “Now is the time to stop a moderate from becoming our party’s nominee.”

Newt Gingrich and his camp disputed Santorum’s interpretation of the results. Former congressman J.C. Watts, Gingrich’s national campaign co-chairman, said Santorum and Gingrich were separated by only nine votes on the first ballot. “It is clear that 100% of those attending are not for Governor Romney, but in fact are splintered in whether to support Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum,” Watts said in a statement. He called it “misleading” for the Santorum campaign to claim an endorsement from all 150 leaders at the meeting.

[emphasis added]

A SIMPLE TEST OF LOGIC:

Facts First: Any person that does a small amount of research, and dives below the soundbite images painted by Gingrich, Perry, and Santorum regarding Governor Romney, discovers that he governed as a conservative in every way. One of the best examples is regarding his pro-life record. In every decision he made or action he took as governor, was always on the side of life. Proof ——> HERE. There are many examples of Governor Romney’s proven conservatism, not least of which are the numerous Tea Party leaders and organizations that have enthusiastically endorsed him over all other presidential candidates.

Now the Logic: Ask yourself this question — If Mitt Romney were an Evangelical, would that meeting have been convened? Take your time as you contemplate your answer to this simple question. Remember, Mr. Newt Gingrich was included as a possible choice by these evangelical leaders — a serial adulterer whose last affair lasted in secret for six years during the time Gingrich publicly scolded President Clinton for his extramarital relations. In fact, Mr. Gingrich came in second in the voting at this ranch meeting!

Again, would that meeting have been convened at all by 150+ evangelical leaders had Mitt Romney’s religion been Evangelical? The obvious answer is clearly “no” it would not have even been considered.

What if Mitt Romney were Evangelical and had won both Iowa and New Hampshire? I can tell you this: Had Governor Romney been Evangelical, he would have won Iowa by tens of thousands more votes than the 8-vote margin he received. Santorum only came close because of the clarion call “to preach Santorum” from the pulpits the Sunday prior (ala Huckabee 2008 surprise). Interesting, is it not, that the IRS let those instances alone?

Conclusion: If GMR were Evangelical, he would have won Iowa by a HUGE margin. If GMR were Evangelical, the Texas ranch meeting of 150+ evangelical leaders would never have happened. If GMR were Evangelical, the primary race would be effectively sealed after his winning two unprecedented states.

If this logic is anywhere near the truth, then what was yesterday’s meeting all about? These “leaders” traveled from all over the nation to meet out at the ranch, spending an enormous amount of time and money. They all reported that the meeting made no mention of Mitt Romney or his religion. Right.

That meeting had nothing to do with conservatism.

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” — John Adams

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Exclusive (MR12): One Evangelical’s Journey to Promote Mitt Romney

Five years ago, I discovered the amazing resource Article VI Blog, founded by John Schroeder and Lowell Brown. Their reporting and Op-Ed writing, in my opinion, have proved an important contribution to this nation and to the American ideal of freedom. Their tireless research will continue to enlighten Americans who treasure the blessings of diversity.

John Schroeder


John and Lowell traveled to the Bush Library in Texas for Governor Romney’s historic Faith in America speech December 6, 2007. It was there we met and discussed their work and our hope of a Romney presidency.

Following is a candid view into John’s childhood, youth, and adulthood that I found most revealing – especially as relates to his arriving to understand Mitt Romney’s tremendous leadership skills and experience. I am grateful to him for this guest contribution to Mitt Romney Central.

From Protecting The Church To Electing A President — This Evangelical’s Story

By: John Schroeder

The story is now old about how Article VI Blog got started. We have grown from the original team of me, an evangelical Presbyterian, and my Mormon partner Lowell Brown to include John Mark Reynolds, notable Greek Orthodox academic and scholar. All three of us have our individual reasons to be there; let’s talk about mine.

When I started, I really did not care much for Mitt Romney, but I also hated bigotry. Frankly, one of Romney’s key talking points for the ’08 election was what has now come to be called “RomneyCare” and I was aghast. When Article VI Blog started I was in the process of losing about 200 pounds. That gave me a unique view of the health care system – the last thing I wanted was to give the government the power to tell me about my weight, and let’s face it, you put someone in charge of your healthcare, and that is where they are going. But again, I hate bigotry.

See, I am a son of the Deep South. I was born in 1957 in Oxford, Mississippi. My father soon finished law school and we left Mississippi, but my mother’s entire extended family was there so rarely a year has gone by in my life that I have not spent some time in the state. I grew up with “Whites Only” signs, and segregated water fountains. Most importantly, I saw the racial prejudices of the Deep South routinely turn some members of my loving and wonderful family suddenly ugly. We could be having the most wonderful evening in a household full of love and good cheer and the topic would come up and well, let’s just say I saw the good cheer leave the room.

So, on that fateful day when Hugh Hewitt introduced me to the idea that Evangelicals would oppose Romney, not because of something like RomneyCare, but because of his faith, I did not want to see the good cheer leave the “evangelical room” and decided to get involved. Right up until the day before Super Tuesday in the 2008 primary campaign, I worked hard to fight the religious bigotry that was so obviously aimed at Romney, but that did not mean he had my vote. He ended up with it, but he had to earn it.

So-called RomneyCare really was the only serious obstacle to his having my vote. John McCain was, well, not a team player with Republicans, and governance is a team game. Rudy Giuliani was waaaay too far left. Fred Thompson was a joke, and Mike Huckabee really did take the good cheer from the evangelical room. But….

In ’08 Romney ended up with my vote largely because as I studied the RomneyCare issue I came to discover that what was passed in Massachusetts was a far cry from what Romney proposed. What Romney proposed was a hybrid system between private enterprise and public health care. Most importantly it offered subsidies for people to get private healthcare; the government never became the provider. Not ideal from my perspective, but enough to make him far more palatable than the alternatives, particularly when you consider that the public, showing a lack of wisdom in my estimation, was demanding something. A reasonable politician has to act when the citizenry demand, even if the result is less than ideal. Those in elected office are, after all, servants of the people, not rulers.

Since ObamaCare has come to pass, RomneyCare is no longer an issue for me. There are many similarities in the Massachusetts healthcare system and that which ObamaCare shall bring to pass, but in the end there is no comparison. Many legal scholars think ObamaCare is unconstitutional – I am inclined to agree with them. States have a lot of power that the federal government does not. But more importantly to my mind Massachusetts healthcare now has little resemblance to what Mitt Romney originally proposed. He had some vetoes overridden and has been out of office for quite some time now, giving that heavily liberal legislature, and governor, plenty of time to fiddle about. What Mitt Romney wanted, and what Barack Obama shoved down our gullets is radically different. Romney has promised to minimize the impact of ObamaCare as much as the power of the presidency will allow and to make repeal of it a priority in his agenda. That’s all I can ask.

Let’s get back to my youthful sojourns to Mississippi and to bigotry. You cannot be about in Mississippi and not know African-Americans, lots of them. One of the reasons things seemed to turn so ugly in the family gatherings when it came up was because the blacks that I knew in Mississippi were certainly poor and generally undereducated but most of them were decent good people. As an infant, I was cared for by a woman (my mother worked while my father was in law school) who remained in service to the family her entire life, as did several of her children. Now my parents were dirt poor at the time. Mom made a pittance as a production assistant at a Memphis television station and Dad had the GI bill. That they could afford a caretaker for me explains a lot of the poverty in the African-American community of the time. Regardless, I saw that woman (Fannie was her name) on every visit I made to Mississippi until she passed away, which was about the time I graduated high school. She could not read or write, but she was a good woman – having cared not only for me, but for many of my generation. She was a decent person. But the things some of my family members would say when she was out of earshot…. Their words simply did not match the reality I witnessed, and it made some loving, beautiful people look very ugly.

Schroeder & Brown at Faith In America Speech


You cannot live in southern California, one end of the so-called “Jello Belt,” and not know Mormons – lots of them. When I contemplated my evangelical brethren discarding a candidate for POTUS because he was a Mormon, it just looked ugly to me. They were good, decent people. Politically most that I know stand right where I do. They are contributing members of the community, often leading on things that my brethren seemed too pre-occupied to tackle. As the African-Americans of the Mississippi of my youth were poor and under-educated, the Mormons of my adulthood were theologically misguided, but they were good people, even preferable as neighbors. To discard Romney on the basis of theological wrongness reflected very poorly on my evangelical brethren.

I am tempted at this point to go on about the proper relationship of theology and religious affiliation to our citizenship, but that is a scholarly topic, and this is a personal reflection. Besides, it’s getting too long anyway.

I grieve for all those that would discard Romney, or Jon Huntsman for that matter, on the basis of their Mormon faith. To do so, from my perspective, shows little faith in the God who saved me and whom I claim to serve. The New Testament is full of the message that Christ came to free us from the drudgery and ugliness of legalism. Such is not license for debauchery, but rather a reflection of the fact that Christ’s ministry transforms us. We are changed from people who obey the law out of obligation, fear and tenacity to people from whom behavior in compliance with the law flows as a natural consequence of who we are.

If we still operate out of a mindset that demands strict compliance in an obligatory and tenacious manner, then we have yet to experience the deep reality of what Jesus can do for us. Christ, it must be remembered, chose the company of sinners over the religious elite of his day. In plain speak, it is not about theology or membership, but character.

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke some of the most profound words of the last century:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

The years since Article VI Blog started have been very interesting years in my life. Among the more interesting occurrences has been the opportunity to get to know Mitt Romney just a little and some of his extended family quite well. These are people, who when judged by the content of their character, deserve the same shot at the White House, or any other part of the American dream, that the rest of us enjoy.

I do not pretend to know what God thinks of Mormons or Mormon theology – I do not know what will happen to any individual Mormon in eternity, or anyone else for that matter – I am no where near that smart. I know what I believe and what my prayer and study has taught me, and yes, it is quite different than what they believe. But I also know that to deny them their place in our nation, based on that difference, reflects far more poorly on me than it does on them.

All said and done, that is why I started with Article VI Blog. I did not want the prejudices of some in the Evangelical community to reflect poorly on all of us. I wanted anybody that bothered to listen to know that we’re not all that way.

Some six years later the only thing that is different is that Mitt Romney is now unquestionably the best candidate qualified to steer our nation back in the proper direction. Economically, his skill is unrivalled. As an executive, his experience is unmatched. As a politician, his current victories speak for themselves – as does his character. This cycle Mitt Romney has more than earned my vote. I am proud to be behind him – 100%.

[Emphasis added by Lundquist]

If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. — C. S. Lewis

…………………. Related Resources …………………….

Why Evangelicals Can Support Mitt Romney

Evangelicals for Mitt

JFK’s Amazing, Inspiring 1960 Speech to Houston Ministers, “I Believe in America”

OUTSTANDING RESEARCH ON ROMNEYCARE (including MD experts):

The Truth About Massachusetts Health Care

Problem or Not?

Why RomneyCare Makes Mitt the Best Nominee to Face Obama

Bottomline: Romney Stands Strongly Against ObamaCare

Why Romney Care is Constitutional While ObamaCare is Not
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