Gov. Mike Pence declares now is the time for action
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Republican vice presidential candidate, beckoned people of faith at Liberty University Convocation on Wednesday to come off the sidelines because the times require action and commitment.
Before being elected the Hoosier State’s 50th governor, Pence served six terms on behalf of his native state as a congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Liberty President Jerry Falwell noted that as governor, Pence achieved the largest tax cut in state history, expanded school choice, and cut unemployment in half.
Falwell said that he has been pleased to get to know Pence and recently spoke with him at the vice presidential debate.
“I am so impressed with him,” Falwell said. “He was so unflappable in the face of all the attacks and he came across as a true statesman.”
Falwell also introduced one of Pence’s former colleagues, U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who has served Virginia’s Sixth District in the House for over 20 years.
Pence rallied the crowd to engage in the civic arena, warning them that dire consequences await their future otherwise.
“In this time of condescension and, at times, overt hostility to people of faith, we fall into the temptation to recoil and retreat,” Pence warned. “But the stakes are too high.”
Telling the students that this is “a time for faith” and “a time for action,” he emboldened them to get involved.
“When the annals of this time of American history are written, the question will be, ‘Where were you?’” he asked. “‘Where were we in the great battle for life and liberty and freedom in America? What did you do?’” Not, “‘What did you think?’”
“This is a time for action, not essays, and we must roll up our sleeves and be prepared to fight every day for what we believe.”
He told them to not let their mistakes serve as an excuse for inaction.
“If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need Jesus,” Pence said. “But we are far from perfect. We do need Him. But God’s love eclipses our failings, and, as always, renewed the strength of so many in this nation.”
Pence’s speech drew the audience to their feet several times, first when he brought up Hillary Clinton’s handling of Benghazi, then when he pledged to stand firmly with Israel, and later as he declared his unapologetic pro-life stance and his position to defund Planned Parenthood.
As Pence talked about the issues that face the country today, he said that the only way to solve them is for people of faith, like many in the audience, to be engaged.
“I want to challenge you to take ownership of your future,” Pence said. “Take ownership of this moment, and understand that there is no place for believers on the sidelines in a time like this.
“We are at a testing point. We are at a time in the life of our nation when those who cherish faith, those who cherish freedom, those who cherish the sanctity of life, and all of the liberties enshrined in our Constitution, must be wary of being sidelined now. Those with a different agenda would hope that apathy would reign supreme on Election Day.”
Liberty’s Convocation stage has become a popular stop for those seeking political office. In this election cycle, guests have included Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders, Ben Carson, and Donald Trump, who spoke in January before becoming the Republican presidential nominee. Jeb Bush was the 2015 Commencement speaker. Liberty will host Libertarian presidential candidate and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson on Monday, Oct. 17.
As an institution, Liberty does not endorse anyone for political office and invites all presidential candidates to speak in Convocation.
Freshman Alicia McNulty said that she has been impressed with the diversity and prestige of Liberty’s Convocation speakers. She is conflicted on some political decisions and appreciated the opportunity to hear from Pence in person.
“It was really cool that he wanted to come here,” she said. “(I liked) to hear his views straight from him, not filtered by the media. Even if you don’t agree with them, it is a great opportunity.
“(As students) we are all in that state where we are trying to form what we think separate from our families; we are developing into our own people, so hearing different opinions in Convo is a really great opportunity.”
Freshman Erika Peck added that it was nice to hear about the issues rather than the series of political attacks and defenses that permeate news coverage.
“You can tell where he stands, and it was nice to hear he stands firm on those issues.”