Liberty University has invited presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to deliver the commencement address for its graduating seniors. And not all of them are happy about it. You can read more about this story here.
It is interesting but not totally surprising when you consider that Jerry Falwell has been active in politics for a long time, and using a graduation ceremony to promote a political candidate isn’t a stretch for him. I wouldn’t even comment on this selection except that Romney is a Mormon, and as the article indicates, many students feel that his religious beliefs disqualify him from speaking. Apparently, non-Christian speakers have addressed Liberty’s graduates before so the precedent has been established.
I wonder if Barack Obama would get an invitation to speak at Liberty. He is the President of the United States and a professing Christian. But, I suspect his politics would exclude him from such an eventuality.
I am not promoting either presidential candidate, but Liberty’s choice of Romney made me think about the fact that Liberty’s theological bent labels his religion as a cult. Liberty is known for its fundamentalist stance on theology yet allows a Mormon to address its graduates. Granted, Romney probably won’t give a sermon but his appearance will definitely have political overtones and give him what he must hope is acceptability among Falwell’s followers (and voters).
Mormonism espouses many views that run counter to Christian theology, and having such a promiment member of the LDS church appear at Liberty is a sign that those differences are conveniently set aside during an election year. Surely a Baptist university as large as Liberty should be able to find at least one Christian who would be able to speak at its commencement. Normally, I wouldn’t care who speaks where for graduation. I have a hard time even remembering who spoke and what was said at my graduations. But, when a fundamentalist university that is against so many things and espouses its strict biblical views invites a prominent member of the Mormon church to speak, it’s tough to ignore.
Based on the article, I’m not the only one to feel that way.