Jeb Bush Delivers Liberty University Commencement Address

The Republican presidential hopeful bestows his wisdom to the graduating class of 2015.
17:31 | 05/10/15

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Transcript for Jeb Bush Delivers Liberty University Commencement Address
Thank you very much president ball well trust these faculty and staff distinguished guests. Parents and friends. I appreciate your kind hospitality. And to all the graduates. Thank you for letting me share in this wonderful day as you become proud alumni of Liberty University. It's so good to be here and especially visit with the Falwell family. My dad thought very highly of your father president Falwell. And he knew him as a loyal friend. Jerry fall wall had a gift for friendship spoke to everyone. And turned his back on no one. His legacy and jurors in it only begins with this great American University. My dad received an honorary degree here when he five years ago. In so many of you ask this morning how he's doing just a months shy of his 91 birthday. I'm happy to say he's in pretty ditch day. And it'll stay that way if we can just keep his mind off that Doran parachute. Today was my first time to be able to meet with pastor Jonathan Falwell. Jonathan has a unique place here at liberty because among other reasons. Here at this university. His dad used to be president. The and his brother became president. Somehow I don't know what it was. We really hit it off. I'm not sure what's in store for you Jonathan. But I'm pulling for him and the proudest people here won't be collecting degrees. And maybe the parents of this class are thinking of another time when you're milestones and life were well below last ceremony us then today get. Things like standing up the first time. We're starting to read books and so that just chewing on the or performing little miracles like blowing your own knows. We're sitting still in church. It doesn't always feel that way to parents but they must've done a lot of things right. Today by the thousands. Liberty is sending forth across America. Civilized competent true hearted men and women we suggest just happens to be what America needs today. When the rest of the world hardly knew you you were all of the world to your mom and dad. And by the way you still are. So how about we show our gratitude to the parents and families of the class it's when he fifteen. I might add that if you burn the liberty agree while while on active duty in the united states military. That is they special distinction. Your credit to this university and to your country and we thank you from the bottom of our hard. Whether you in the stadium board on line student receiving a degree as of today. Liberty University is in your past. But this school and the values that it stands for will always be a part of who you are. If there's any useful role like can perform here maybe it's just offer one last word of encouragement in the vocation you have really taken up. It's the same one of course whatever degree you burned or whatever work you'll do however life unfolds. It's the greatest of all calling us. To know love and serve the lord and it's jurors by choice. You know how to choose a path and stay on it. That's useful knowledge when life can present more choices than we sometimes know what to do with. Especially if you're young and trying to live out the message of the gospels. The world will never run short of competing offers you for all of them. You're not impressed and that was the Malone can cure you a long way. The face that brought you here the faith that matured here. Doesn't give every answered every question. Nor of course doesn't promise anyone a life spared from dal or difficulty. But in the way of lice advantages. Each one of you has the best there is an awakened the conscience. When you've got that going for you there's no end to the good you can do for the wrongs you can help overcome. Or the hope you can bring into the lives of others. This doesn't always come as a welcome reminder in some quarters but is true all the same. Whatever the need the affliction or the in Justin's. There is no more powerful or liberating influence on this earth than the Christian conscience in action. How strange and our own time. To hear christianity spoken of as some sort of backward and oppressive forks. Outside the 7000 acres of shared conviction. It's a depressing facts. That when some people think of christianity. And of Judeo Christian values they think of something static narrow an outdated. We can take this is unfair criticism. As it typically is. Or we can take it as a further challenge to show and our lives. The most dynamic inclusive and joyful message that ever came into the world. These are the days as gestures and remarks in which Christians are expected to prays every faith but their own. He never accepted that limitation. And neither should we least of all in reply to criticism. One of the great things about this faith of ours is its daring untamed quality which is underrated. As moral wisdom goes for example. Loving our neighbor seems kind of an easy call especially if you like a more ready. But how about loving our enemies to as a bold challenge to leave our comfort zone and lift our sites to larger purposes. As for the suggestion that christianity is a static faith that sure is and how it reads in the original. Offhand I cannot think of any more subversive moral idea ever loosed on the world. Then the last Shelby first in the first less. Likewise. Is it really just some time Warren pre modern idea that God's favor is upon the gentle the kind in the four conspirator. Awful lot of people in our time including a few who command armies still having gotten the news. Violence and fear and domination or their rules to live by as many persecuted Christians in our time can attest. And no matter what faith is professed by cruel man. If we could imprint just a few lines of truth on their hearts. Surely we would start with the words of the carpenter born in Bethlehem. Blessed are the me. Blessed are the merciful. Blessed are the peacemakers. It's a voice like no other weather is captured on scrolls and paper. Or in bits of data that. Seen in the examples of France's the saints. Or Francis the Pope. Affirmed by the witness of ancient martyrs. Or by the witness of martyrs dying in his name today. No place where the message reaches no heart that it touches is ever the same again. In across our own civilization. What a radically different history storied history would tell without it. Consider a whole alternative universe of power without restraint. Conflict without reconciliation. Oppression. Without deliverance. Corruption without reformation. Tragedy without renewal achievement without grace. And it's all just a glimpse of human experience without the Christian influence. No long the world said Martin Luther King good to produce such tunnel Lloyd compassion such genuine love such thorough all terrorism. The Christian faith as Doctor King proclaimed. Adorns the assemblies of the hopeless and brings not new light into the dark chambers of pessimism. So it is not only on true. But it's also a little ungrateful. To dismiss the Christian faith as some obstacle to enlightened thought some ancient irrelevant creed wearing out its welcome in the modern world. Whether or not we acknowledge the source. Hebrew scripture. In the new testament still provide the moral vocabulary we all use in America and may have always peace though. Try to separate the ideals from the source. As CS Lewis observed. Is like a rebellion of the branches against the tree. Justice. A quality. The worth of every life. The dignity of every person. And writes no authority can take away. These are founding moral ideals and America and they did not come out of nowhere. Every day in the life of this nation. Uncounted people are comforting the lonely. Aiding the ill. Serving the weak and innocent. Giving hope to the prisoner. And in every way they know loving mercy and living with integrity. And all that doesn't happen by chance either or because anyone has ordered that we're because there's a federal program for at. The endless work of Christian charity in America is what free people do when they have good news to share. It's helped free people live when they have a living faith. There are no blinders on the Christian conscience. Tries the world might to make us look away from needs and wrongs. Or make us who comparable to care. Your generation. Is bringing the Christian voice to word always is needed and sometimes isn't heard enough. This nation's efforts to fight poverty have sometimes taken on air futility. Because so much has been tried. In the need is still so vast. Left untried too often is direct and personal attention that Christian ministry can bring. In works hardly even noticed by popular culture so many young Christians today are showing the way. Moved not by pity for what is. But by a vision of what can be. For all who would serve the poor and homeless. You set the standard with your belief that every one matters and that everyone has the right to rise. America's environmental debates likewise can be too cold league economical. Too sterile of life and you remind us what's really at stake. Christian see in nature and all its creatures designs grander than any of man's own devising. The endless glorious work of the lord of life. Men and women of your generation are striving to be protectors of creation it's sort of just users. Good shepherds instead of just Ireland's. And that moral vision can make all the difference. You also understand that some moral standards are universal. They do not Mendel been under the weight of cultural differences or lead opinion. Wherever there is a child waiting to be born. We say choose life and we say it with love. Wherever women and girls and other countries are brutal exploited were treated as possessions without rights and dignity. We Christians see that arrogance for what it is. Wherever Jews are subjected to the oldest bigotry. We reject that Sen against our Brothers and sisters and we defend them. In all these causes and others. Your generation is fully engaged acting by the light of conscience. If any spirit is to be gladly welcome in a free society. You think that would be one. At least the founding generation thought so when they wrote the First Amendment. But of course others have their own fashionable ideas and opinions. Which these days can be a religion all by themselves. And it's got to be a problem for Christians in their right of conscience. That makes it our problem in our proper response has to be the fourth Reich defense of the first freedom in the constitution of the United States. And get touchy subject I'm mass sometimes whether I would never allow my decisions in government to be influenced by my Christian faith. Whenever I hear this I know what they want me to say. The simple and safe reply is no never of course not. If the game as political correctness. That's the answer that moves you to the next round. The end point is a certain kind of politician we've all heard before. The guy whose moral convictions are so pride that so deeply personal. That he even refuses to impose them on himself. Those the mistake is to confuse. The mistake is a confused points of theology would moral principles that are knowable to reason as well as by faith. In this confusion is all part of a false narrative that cast religious Americans as intolerance goals. Running around trying to impose their views on every one. The story's very year after year but the story line is getting familiar. The progressive political agendas ready for its grade next great leap forward. And religious people are churches are getting in the way. Our friends on the left like to view themselves as the agents of change and reform. And you and I are supposed to just get with the program. There are consequences when you don't Jay new flex to the latest secular dogma us in those dog was can be hard to keep up with. So we find officials and a major city demanding that pastors turned over copies of their sermons. Or federal judges in the staking themselves were elected legislature to worse and imposing restrictions and writes that do not exist in the constitution. Or an agency dictating to a Catholic charity. The little sisters of the poor. What has to go on their health plan in nevermind objections of conscience. I don't know about Jew. But I'm betting then when it comes to doing the right and good thing and the little sisters of the poor no better than the regulators that the Department of Health and Human Services. From the standpoint of religious freedom. You might even say it's a choice between the little sisters. And Big Brother. And I'm going with the little sisters. That case continues and as usual the present administration to supporting the use of coercive federal power. What should be easy calls in favor of religious freedom have instead become an aggressive stance against it. Somebody here is being small minded and intolerant. And it sure isn't the nuns ministers and lay men and women who ask only to live and practice their faith. Federal authorities are demanding obedience in complete disregard of religious conscience. In in the free society the answer is no. It strikes me that most of the criticism directed at believers and are today is drawn from hostile caricature that's just the easy way of avoiding honest discussion. It is a posture that only deepens distrust instead of inviting understanding. So often we hear language that divides us when what we need is the language of goodwill. There's so much that we share in common. Across all lines of region religion and demography that are constantly being talked about. In my experience. You generally find the same good instincts fair mindedness. And easy going spirit among Americans of every type. Including of course the many who belong to no church at all. That's a lot to work with if the aim is to accept differences instead of exploding them and get on with life in this free country. As for you graduates. Getting all of life is the theme of this day. And if your future prospects have anything to do with the sheer number of people wishing you well here this morning. Then you couldn't of asked for a better send off. May all the work you have finished your mark just one milestone. In a long purposeful and happy journey. And at each new turn. May you find God's loving kindness before you rise in May you'll always be his instrument. And from this place. To wherever you're bound in the words of Isaiah. May you go out with joy and be led forth with peace congratulations. To the class of 4050.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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