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Bernie Sanders Like an Old Testament Prophet at Liberty University

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ convocation address at Liberty University this morning was perfect. It was the closest the students will come to hearing a Jewish Old Testament prophet.

While very respectful, Bernie Sanders did not enter their midst in order to flatter. Instead, he challenged the students, faculty, and administration to consider the morality* of such gross inequality that 20% of American children go hungry.

A number of Bernie supporters in the audience cheered and applauded. But when the cameras panned the audience, you could see many still, unresponsive young faces. Perhaps they were letting the words sink in?

While Sanders quoted Pope Francis saying something like, “Money has to serve, not rule.” Maybe He didn’t know, but Baptists don’t cotton to Catholics. There was less applause from everybody.

Still. Sanders was great. And I hope the audience appreciated the principle he displayed just for being there. Liberty routinely invites Democratic presidential candidates to speak, but it is rare that they accept. Bernie, however, took the time, and left his comfort zone, to reach out to the other side. It reminds me of the Parable of the Lost Coin.

*Liberty University was founded by Rev. Jerry Falwell in 1971. Falwell also co-founded the Moral Majority in 1979, which laid the groundwork for the present-day religious far-right.


About The Author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She writes fiction about an alpha Bichon named Chester, and his friends–with a dash of humor and a dab of poli-sci. JoAnn worked professionally in the Psychology and Information Science fields. Retired now, she enjoys the creative life.


  1. Jerry "Peacemaker"

    Perhaps Bernie Sanders’ most profound and powerful campaign address thus far.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      I agree. Thanks, Jerry. Bernie’ willingness and ability to dialogue with people across the line is one of the reasons I think he’ll make a very effective President.

  2. Lara/Trace

    JoAnn, I so admire your writing! (AND I love Bernie)

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Coming from you, Lara, that is a great compliment. Thank you. Feel the Bern! 🙂

  3. reasonablyliberal

    Liberty is where Ted Cruz gave his opening announcement to run for President. He spoke there because he felt the audience would be on his side. This took a lot of courage for Sanders.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      That’s right. Both were convocation addresses, meaning the student body was required to attend. A guaranteed, controlled audience.

      For Cruz, that meant a full auditorium, and no embarrassingly empty seats. For Sanders it meant many of his supporters were unable to attend.

      Sanders was there out of principle – he embraces everybody, whether they’re #BlackLivesMatter or a religious-right-wing student body.

      It really does take courage to follow your convictions.

  4. Robert A. Vella

    Sanders is a very intelligent, principled, and brave man. Courting conservatives in their own backyard is problematic, but unlike corporatists – like Hillary Clinton – he comes well-armed with moral clarity and populist appeal.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Thank you Robert – well put!

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