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Liberty News

Former George W. Bush assistant speaks on Constitution's timeless values during virtual government classes

April 30, 2020 : By Logan Smith/Liberty University News Service

Each semester, the vice president for external and government relations at Focus on the Family, Tim Goeglein, gives a series of lectures, talks, seminars, and panels to students in Liberty University’s Helms School of Government. This semester’s topic could not have been more timely, despite his lecture being presented virtually because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Between April 17 and April 23, he spoke to four classes through Microsoft Teams on a common theme: the Constitution and its relevancy during the COVID-19 era. Goeglein said the pandemic has impacted civil liberties, but that the Constitution remains equally relevant.

“I can’t imagine any class that would be timelier in this pioneering effort than four classes on the Constitution and its meaning and applicability to 21st-century America,” Goeglein said. “The biggest idea that I wanted to get across to the Liberty students was that the Constitution is evergreen. It’s not a relic, it doesn’t belong in a museum, and it’s not an antique. I wanted to convey that the Constitution is so great that it’s just as meaningful for this time in history as it was when it was debated and ratified at the Constitutional Convention.”

Goeglein has worked extensively in high-level government roles, serving as Special Assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-2008 and as the Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison. He is also the author of two books: his political memoir “The Man in the Middle: Faith and Politics in the George W. Bush Era (2011)” and “American Restoration: How Faith, Family, and Personal Sacrifice can Heal our Nation (2019).”

As a senior fellow and visiting professor of the School of Government, Goeglein carves three days out each semester to visit and present to Liberty’s classes. When Liberty switched to an online format for all of its residential classes in March, Goeglein thought his spring visitation would be postponed, but after collaborating with School of Government Dean Robert Hurt, he decided to continue the session virtually.

“Although I’m unable to travel, and although the students are not in the classroom, we are having the exact content and substance-rich talks that we would have even if I were in the classroom,” Goeglein said. “These conversations with the students are so rich and so meaningful, that my only regret is that we don’t have enough time.”

“I never could have imagined during my visit to Liberty for the first time in 2001, that in 2020, I would be a visiting professor there during (COVID-19) speaking through Microsoft Teams,” he added. “It’s a great confirmation that we serve a remarkable Lord and Savior who gives us new ways to communicate, new ways to innovate, and new ways to speak about the timeless values.”

Goeglein said the best avenue for constitutional preservation is through education. He views his Liberty invitations as an opportunity to circulate his applicable constitutional knowledge to the next generation of servant leaders, many of whom will assume positions in government following graduation.

“If we are to have a meaningful restoration of our country and our culture, one of the main conduits by which that will happen will be the classroom,” he said. “I have learned so much from Liberty’s students. It really is an extraordinary honor and opportunity to partner with Liberty University and to be a senior fellow every fall and spring semester and work very closely with the government students. … The impact that Liberty is having in Washington, D.C., directly flowing from the Helms School of Government, is very sizable.”

Hurt was thankful for the opportunity to once again host Goeglein and said he still added the same value to the class discussions even though they were held online.

“This is a good example of Liberty’s innovation in making the student experience as rich as possible during these challenging times,” Hurt said. “We are profoundly grateful to have a guest like Tim Goeglein who is able to take our students to the place where the current crisis meets the Constitution.”

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