Mitt Romney has been invited to give the commencement address at Liberty University, an evangelical school founded by Jerry Falwell. The announcement has stirred up quite a bit of controversy. I have to admit that the news left me in a bit of quagmire of thoughts.
I attended an Evangelical college and I’ve presumed that all of our graduation speakers have been men or women who could agree to the university’s statement of belief. Liberty University is quite a bit more conservative than the school I attended, so I was surprised to hear that they’ve previously had Jewish and Catholic speakers. But then I recalled that Michael Medved, a Jew, spoke once in University Chapel and I don’t remember anyone expressing anything negative about it.
I’m completely resolved to the idea that it’s okay for an Evangelical to vote for a Mormon. I would probably throw a fit of one shape or another if a Mormon were invited to speak from the pulpit of my church. A graduation speech at a Christian university is not a sermon, but the expectation is that spiritual themes will be affirmed and encouraged. So I can appreciate the concerns being expressed in opposition to the invitation.
I’m interested to hear what others think. Is it appropriate for a Mormon to give the commencement address at an Evangelical school?