With the recent attention from Liberty’s campus-wide voter registration drive, it was fitting for Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. to call on Mat Staver, Dean of Liberty University School of Law, to speak on “Voting Christian Principles” at Friday’s convocation.
Before introducing Staver, Falwell thanked the student body for participating in the voter registration drive, which garnered 4,200 forms and gained national media attention in the last few weeks.
Staver, who helped found the five-year-old law school and is the founder of the religious liberty litigation firm Liberty Counsel, said our nation’s own founders believed there was a duty to be involved in the civic process.
“I submit that there is a Christian duty to be involved in the civic process because it affects values and principles that are biblical and that are precious to God Himself,” he said.
Staver, who regularly gives interviews for TV news and other national media, outlined the “Declaration of American Values,” 10 core values determined by leaders of national Christian organizations at a meeting this summer in Denver, Colo.
On No. 1, The Sanctity of Human Life, he spoke about his personal experiences with the effects of abortion, showing a slide of his hand holding the tiny hand of a premature infant, a boy who died from a late-term abortion.
“If a candidate does not understand the sanctity of human life, then I believe that candidate has no business being in office,” he said.
“That candidate may be right on other issues, but if they’re wrong on the fundamental right, the right of all rights, then God cannot, will not, bless that kind of policy.”
He also spoke of cases he has argued through Liberty Counsel, including the one involving Megan Chapman, the Kentucky teenager who made national news in 2006 when she fought an ACLU court order barring her from saying a prayer at her high school graduation. Chapman and her twin sister Mandy are juniors at Liberty.
Staver’s advice on exercising the right to vote came down to “keeping our eye on the values, not on persons, or parties or personalities.”
“God is neither Democrat, Republican or Independent or Green Party,” he said, “but God, I can tell you, is for innocent human life. God is also for the sanctity of marriage as one man and one woman.”
He said Americans have four choices in this upcoming election: “to vote for the person who will best advance our core values,” “to vote for a person who will most likely decimate those values,” “to vote for someone who has absolutely no opportunity to win,” or “to not vote at all.”
He said not voting at all or voting for someone who cannot win does nothing to advance those values.
He told the crowd of students and visitors that “God has vested that choice for you,” understanding that we are voting for someone who is imperfect like us, but who best represents Jesus Christ and those core values to our world.
“There is only one perfect candidate and the last time I checked, I don’t think Jesus Christ is running for office,” he said.