Feb 12, 2008

Championing the Constution: Paul appears in convocation

by Jennifer Schmidt
Texas Congressman Ron Paul addressed a crowd of over 8,500 in Friday’s convocation, becoming the fourth presidential candidate to speak to Liberty’s student body in the past year.

As a prelude to the majority of his speech, Paul noted the work ethic and Christian values that his family imparted to him, saying, “At the age of 14, I committed to Christ as my savior.”

Known for his pro-life stance, Paul explained that he once accidentally “walked in on an abortion” during his early years of practicing as an obstetrician/gynecologist. He described the scene as “heart wrenching,” and explained its impact upon his belief in the “importance of life.”

Paul explained his belief in an adherence to the Constitution, which he stated was designed as a “restraint on government.” “Freedom really works if we allow it to,” he said.

Riddled with economic statistics, Paul’s speech also stressed his belief in sound money, “free markets and (a) free economy.” Paul also addressed his views on military involvement overseas, stating, “We maintain an empire and can’t afford it.... We have 700 bases overseas and...it undermines our resources back home – this demoralizes our military.”

Paul emphasized his commitment to “start bringing our troops home as soon as possible,” a statement that elicited mixed reactions from the crowd.

“To be safe and secure, we should never have to sacrifice any of our personal liberties,” Paul said, referencing airport security checks and talk of legislation to require national identification cards for American citizens.

Again referencing his thoughts on the economy, Paul said that “a prosperous economy” would allow the U.S. to be more generous with immigration programs.

Known for beliefs that some perceive as unorthodox, Paul stated that he sees “no benefit for us to be in the United Nations” and that the Department of Education should be dissolved. Paul believes that competition among schools would spur greater productivity and quality education.

Families that choose to use private schools or to home-school should be awarded tax credits, Paul said. Paul closed with a call to “revive the spirit that makes America great.”

Following the close of his speech, Paul stated that he was “very pleased and thankful” with his reception at Liberty, which was the largest crowd that he has addressed.

“This is a university — we’re here for learning and education,” Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. said of Liberty’s decision to invite all of the presidential candidates to speak. Falwell also noted that Paul seems to have “a lot of support on campus.”

Paul said that he was not surprised at the “very enthusiastic and energized” support that he has from some Liberty students because of the school’s conservative ideals and beliefs.

“It’s the message more than me,” Paul said in explanation of the strong support he has from many college students, adding, “It’s a very American – very conservative message (that is) much in need, and people are starting to recognize that need for change.” Paul told reporters that a secondary result of his campaign will be long-term, stating that the “revolution is just beginning.” Contact Jennifer Schmidt at jschmidt@liberty.edu.
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