Romney courts young evangelicals

2012-05-12 08:19

Lynchburg - Republican Mitt Romney heads to America's largest Christian university this weekend to court young religious conservatives and push family values in the wake of President Barack Obama's gay marriage endorsement.

The presumptive Republican nominee will also urge graduates not to "lose heart" in the face of diminished job prospects when he gives the commencement address Saturday at Liberty University in this small city in central Virginia, according to excerpts of his speech released by the campaign.

Virginia is one the key battlegrounds of the 2012 election, and First Lady Michelle Obama preempted Romney by delivering her own moving commencement speech in the state at a university less than 145km away.

Romney, taking advantage of his largest student audience of the year, will urge graduates to remain optimistic even though "our current troubles can be discouraging," according to the excerpts.

"Millions wait on the day when there are jobs for everyone willing to work, and opportunities to match your hopes and your goals. But don't lose heart, because that day is coming."

With thousands of Christian graduates in his audience, Romney will touch on the importance of faith and "the commitments of family."

"Take those away, or take them for granted, and so many things can go wrong in a life. Keep them strong, and so many things will go right," he said.

With Obama's landmark public endorsement of gay marriage, and this week's splashy fundraiser at Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney's home raising an unprecedented $15 million, it seemed an ideal time for the Republican candidate to tout family values and draw sharp contrasts with his rival.

But "this is not a policy speech," a senior campaign official told reporters on background.

"Marriage isn't the focus of the speech but he will mention the fact that marriage is an enduring institution."

Romney is against gay marriage but says same-sex couples should have some rights including the ability to adopt children.

He steered clear of the issue on Friday, despite addressing supporters in North Carolina, where voters this week overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Instead he returned to his economic message, bashing Obama as "a president who's installed some of the old liberal policies from the past," The Washington Post quoted Romney as saying.

"And they didn't work then, and they sure as heck are not working now and they'll not work in the future."

Many core Republicans remain wary of Romney, citing his shifting stance on issues like abortion.

The Democratic National Committee acknowledged a tough road ahead to sell Obama to evangelicals, but insisted it was possible.

In a DNC conference call, Liberty graduate student Christine Darby said it was Obama more than Romney whose policies "reflect the justice and compassion that Christ preaches."

Obama, Darby said, "respects my values, and is looking out not only for my best interest, but for the best interests of all Americans and not just the wealthy few."

Romney and the president have spent much of the last two weeks angling pitches at young Americans.

Liberty University, the largest evangelical university in the world with more than 80 000 students enrolled on campus or online, has faced controversy over inviting Romney, a Mormon.

Ties between evangelicals and the Mormon church have been strained. Pastor Robert Jeffress, a leader of the Southern Baptist Convention - the largest US evangelical movement - last year described Mormonism as "a cult".

While Romney prepared for his address, Michelle Obama spoke to thousands of graduating seniors at Virginia Tech, scene in 2007 of the deadliest school shooting in US history.

"In the end, people can only define you if you let them," she said, in reference to the tragedy.

"That is why, when you all are out there in the world and you meet someone and you tell them that you're from Virginia Tech, and they say, 'Huh, isn't that the school where' - I want you to interrupt them right there and say, 'Yes, it is the school where we have some of the best academic programmes and professors in the country.' That's what you tell them."

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-05-12 08:36

    "Don't lose heart, kill a gay" - what absolute filth these conservative christians are

      Matthew Patrick - 2012-05-12 08:51

      Such backward thinking

      goyougoodthing - 2012-05-12 09:18

      So you think it's good to be a bigot and not allow all people to have the same rights?

      Sipho - 2012-05-12 09:50

      @youbadthing, what "rights" are you talking about?

      goyougoodthing - 2012-05-12 09:59

      The right to love who you love and marry who you want. I think you forget quickly about the laws that this country once had, you should be more sympathetic.

      Sipho - 2012-05-12 10:03

      Love? between 2 people of the same sex? you mean skewed lust?

      goyougoodthing - 2012-05-12 10:09

      The old regime thought sex between black and white was skewed, and used the bible to convince people that they were right. How quickly those who have had their rights abused forget when they get into power. Sipho you are sick.

      celia.coates - 2012-05-12 10:26

      North Carolina where you can marry your cousin. Just as long as it is not your gay cousin.

      SarcasticAgnostic - 2012-05-12 14:58

      LOL Celia.

  • Michelle Burkinshaw - 2012-05-12 08:37

    sorry to burst ur bubble, u are not the judge or jury on this one, clearly you have no idea who Jesus is!

      goyougoodthing - 2012-05-12 08:40

      There is no such thing

      Sipho - 2012-05-12 09:54

      @Jaco, that is how society was in those days, go and study your Bible (if you have one). There was no time for Jesus to "get married" etc, He was there to bring salvations to sinners ... and you say it "married" yes to a woman not a man!

      goyougoodthing - 2012-05-12 10:14

      Sipho... um he disappeared from 12 to 30 years of age, he had plenty of time to have kids... other than Moses and co who lived to 800 and raped many women, the average age back then was about 50... he was OLD already

      Jaco - 2012-05-12 10:23

      Sipho, and what makes you the expert on exactly how “society was in those days” – people are people and their needs remained the same. Also, NOBODY is too busy to have a nookie every now and then. PS: I do not have a bible - used to have, but chucked it away as I do not believe the drivel about magic and mythical beings.

  • lownabester - 2012-05-12 08:44

    Romney will do anything to win a few votes, And the Americans can be so gullible, Hitting the Bible belt, thats desperate.

  • kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-05-12 08:51

    Romney for President!!!

      Diana - 2012-05-12 09:31

      This "true christian" will definitely destroy his own country once elected as a pres.

  • Pete - 2012-05-12 08:55

    How do one promote family values by denying gay people the right to marry and have family structures? Isn't it in fact campaigning against family values if you insist that gays shouldn't be allowed to live in family structures?

      SarcasticAgnostic - 2012-05-12 09:32

      Their against abortion, so at the end of the day they want the orphanages to fill. Their against gays, whose only way to have children is adoption. Can someone make sense of this to me?

      Sipho - 2012-05-12 10:00

      family values = m+f+c NOT m+m+c or f+f+c .....

      Pete - 2012-05-12 11:53

      @ Sipho, so family values is simply a synonim for heterosexuality? So you are in fact advocating a campaign for heterosexual supremacy, because as soon as people with a different sexual orientation live by the same value system this supremacy would be threatened. This underlines my point that they are running a campaign against family values, since they are preserving it for a supremacist group.

  • Tjaart - 2012-05-12 08:57

    RON PAUL!!

  • Tumisang - 2012-05-12 09:06

    I supported president Obama and was very excited when he was elected President, now I find Romney to be a very sensible guy,Obama=Obamination.....

      SarcasticAgnostic - 2012-05-12 09:33

      Traitor!!! How dare you agree with a white imperialist!!! HeHe.

      Tumisang - 2012-05-12 10:18

      Surely the colour of someone's skin should not only be determining factor in electing leadership, but the policies and progressive advancement of the people, destroying the family values of the father and mother, not father and father should be condemned with strongest possible terms.they are not going to procreate what’s the point then? Allowing this lot to adopt children exposes this young kids to serious psychological torment and confusion , we need to keep the marriage institution pure from this lustrous abominations.

      SarcasticAgnostic - 2012-05-12 15:06

      Tell me, what is the difference, morally, between m+f+c and m+m+c/f+f+c. And don't say bible: Lev 20:13. In Lev 20:27 it says anyone who calls on spirits (the ancestors), including sangomas must be stoned to death.

  • Diana - 2012-05-12 09:16

    This shrewd mormon Romney is as christian as myself Jackie Chang. The whole gay thing from Obama's side and valuing christian faith from his nothing more than an attempt to win as many votes as possible. P.S. i cannot identify for myself who irritates me more - gays or true christians?

      Sipho - 2012-05-12 10:01

      The question is what is a "true Christian" ...

      Phoenix - 2012-05-12 16:11

      LOL oh dear me. Fortunately for the rest of us the world does not revolve around you.

      Diana - 2012-05-12 21:20

      @Sipho: a chistian will never proclaim himself as a true one

      Diana - 2012-05-12 21:21

      @Phoenixx: why i should ask the world and personally you to revolve around me? Romney needs it more.

  • Michelle Burkinshaw - 2012-05-12 09:21

    John clearly u are not very educated and nor is tumsing! perhaps u should go back and read the bible, from ur response it appears u are an unbeliever. so its okay for straight guys to rape and abuse women? rape their children and pay prostitutes for sex, commit adultery. marry as many times as they want have kids from many women, and u wanna talk about gay people, shame brother how sick ,

  • Frans - 2012-05-12 09:23

    This d*#khead is against gay marriages but not same sex couples. Can some educated person please explain the difference. Their sexual orientation is the same.

      Sipho - 2012-05-12 10:02

      Marriage is for a man and a woman ... obvious ...

  • Jaco - 2012-05-12 09:37

    “Romney is against gay marriage but says same-sex couples should have some rights including the ability to adopt children” Adopt children and live in sin? How unchristian!! It seems Romney is playing the Christians while keeping a backdoor open on the gay issue; just another sneaky politician.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-05-12 09:58

      you said backdoor :-)

      SarcasticAgnostic - 2012-05-12 15:09


  • atholl.hay - 2012-05-12 10:17

    Kobus Hattingh, Sipho and Tumisang - I can't help but notice that you guys seem obsessed with gay sex. Just saying ....

      Phoenix - 2012-05-12 16:14

      In a study of homophobic and non-homophobic men, they were shown 4 minutes each of straight, lesbian and gay porn, whilst having a measurement 'tool' to indicate increase in circumference. ALL the men were turned on by straight and lesbian porn, bit ONLY men from the HOMOPHOBIC group were turned on by gay porn. Find the study at the US National Library for Medicine, article 8772014. Happy reading!

  • Sipho - 2012-05-12 10:20

    I can assure you I am not "sick" I have a NORMAL relationship with my wives. It is the norm for a man to have sex with a women, we are manufactured like that, not for a man to have sex with a man .. that is sick. And do not come with the argument "what is normal" ....

      goyougoodthing - 2012-05-12 10:24

      Wives... either you are baiting and a troll or you are living in the dark ages... as a polygamist you don't even recognise women as equal so how can we take you seriously

      goyougoodthing - 2012-05-12 11:30

      Sorry Sipho I judged you before asking this question: would it be okay for women to have more than one husband?

      SarcasticAgnostic - 2012-05-12 15:12

      They used to have m+m+m+f marriages in Tibet. m+m+m+f is used to keep populations down. m+f+f+f is used to raise populations.

  • lenny001 - 2012-05-12 13:13

    Typical Americans, always campaigning about Gays, abortion, war and jobs but at the end of the day it will all remain the same until the next elections and campaign about the same thing again

  • DREGstudios - 2012-05-12 15:40

    Romney’s Magic Mormon Underwear protects him from the evils of the world including socialism, homosexuality and taxes on his inherited wealth. Can these sacred garments also make it rain down enough cash for a victory in the race since well over 90% of public offices are bought in our country? Drop by to discuss tighty whites and the role of money in politics at

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