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Senator, Congresswoman highlight importance of faith in society

Two Capitol Hill legislators, U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C., 5th District), shared their expertise and encouraged students to be active citizens at Liberty University Convocation on Monday morning. But, foremost, they both emphasized the importance of living out one’s faith to improve society.

Liberty President Jerry Falwell first welcomed Foxx, chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, noting that “she is probably the congresswoman who has been most involved in overseeing the actions of the Department of Education in the last 10 years.” (Read about how Liberty administrators are working with Foxx and other government officials to address regulations that affect colleges nationwide in the Liberty Journal.)

Foxx talked about the government’s role in promoting prosperity, which includes providing real opportunities for success and protecting freedom of speech and religion. She implored the students to consider how they can apply their Christian worldview to higher education reform and the career opportunities we promote for those who may not have a college education.

“We know God wants all kinds of people out there with the skills to serve others,” Foxx said. “We are trying to protect people who want to work. … We want to make the paths as smooth as possible for any of those. To me, that is clearly a statement of Christian values: honoring all life, honoring all vocations.”

Falwell then introduced Lankford, who was a youth minister for more than 20 years before successfully running for Congress in 2010 and then the Senate in 2014. In his ministerial career, Lankford served as director of student ministry at the Baptist Convention of Oklahoma and director of the largest youth camp in the United States, Falls Creek Youth Camp. Lankford’s daughter, Hannah, is a Liberty student.

Falwell said that as the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, Lankford “has done an incredible job of fighting unnecessary, burdensome regulations, and he advocates for a more restrained federal government.”

Lankford channeled his years of preaching experience as he delivered a message relevant to the students. He told them to first look inward, not to Washington, to effect change.

“There is a sense, at times, that to solve the nation’s problems we need to have a vote at some point, or somebody in Washington, D.C., needs to be able to resolve that,” he said. “The reality is, it happens among us, and it happens in day-to-day life among families.”

He explained that while we can plan and set life goals, God often interrupts them, as He did in Lankford’s own life by calling him to run for elected office. Lankford outlined three simple steps for following God — reading the Bible, spending time with other believers, and prayer — and challenged the crowd to decide daily to allow God to lead them.

“The most radical decision you can make any morning is to get up and say, ‘Today, God, I want to follow you,’” he said. “My question is, ‘Are you willing to trust God that much today? Are you willing to take that risk?’”

Earlier in the day, Foxx and Lankford spoke in Helms School of Government classes (about upcoming education and immigration bills, respectively).

“It was a special opportunity,” said freshman pre-law student James Nyberg, who attended the classes. “We need to look to Christ as our ultimate source of solving our problems. She (Foxx) is leading that fight, so it was amazing to hear from her and also to see how Lankford walks as a believer in Christ as someone who has made it in the Senate.”