Over the weekend, Vice President Mike Pence gave the commencement address to Liberty University graduates, encouraging them to stick to their convictions and to not succumb to the attacks on religious liberties.
Pence spoke on Saturday at Liberty’s William’s Stadium, saying that in the United States “it’s become acceptable and even fashionable to ridicule and discriminate against people of faith.”
Pence encouraged the students to hold their faith close as they prepare to enter the real world, a place where religious liberties are frequently oppressed.
“America needs men and women of integrity and faith now more than ever,” he said to the crowd. “The truth is we live in a time when the freedom of religion is under assault.”
“It wasn’t all that long ago that the last administration brought the full weight of the federal government against the Little Sisters of the Poor merely because that group of nuns refused to provide a health plan that violated their deeply held religious beliefs,” said Pence, referring to the nun’s who refused to pay directly and indirectly for abortion and birth control methods that could guarantee the same result.
Pence also referred to the media firestorm back in January, when he had to defend his wife Karen after she was criticized for working at a Christian school that holds Christian doctrine to be true.
“When my wife, Karen, returned to teach art at an elementary Christian school earlier this year, we faced harsh attacks by the media and the secular left.”
“America has always been a nation of faith and as our first vice president, John Adams, said, ‘our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people; it is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.’ So, just know as you strengthen your foundation of faith and the foundation of faith among the American people, you will be strengthening the foundation of America itself,” he said.
Pence encouraged students to “be ready” to face opposition in whatever career path they were entering into, and to use what they had learned at Liberty to do so.
“You know throughout most of American history it’s been pretty easy to call yourself a Christian,” he said. “It didn’t occur to people that you might be shunned or ridiculed for defending the teachings of the Bible. But things are different now.”
Although Pence dedicated the beginning portion of his address to the impending dangers on religious liberties, the second half was promising as he touched on the current state of the positive job market.
“You are entering a growing American economy,” Pence said. “The America that awaits your energies and ambitions is experiencing a new era of opportunity and optimism. You’re beginning your careers at a time when this economy is growing. And we’ve restored American stature at home and abroad.”
“Unemployment is at a 50-year low and there are more Americans working today than ever before in the history of this country,” he said. “And this year, for the first time ever, there are more job openings in America than there are Americans looking for work. That’s good timing, Liberty.”
Ben Carson, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, another member of the Trump administration also spoke at Liberty’s graduation ceremonies.
“It’s particularly important in our county right now, because there are forces of political correctness that want you to shut up and not express what you believe,” Carson said.
“We cannot allow our country to be deprived of the Judeo-Christian values that made it into a great nation,” Carson added.
If you would like to watch Vice President Pence’s speech below, it begins at 1:10:23.