Bernie Sanders' message to evangelicals

This story appears in the Election 2016 feature series. View the full series.

by Mary Ann McGivern

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Last September Bernie Sanders spoke at Liberty University, Jerry Falwell's college. A few days later a graduate of Liberty who is a pastor and counselor posted a strong endorsement of Bernie's speech, if not his candidacy. I didn't write about it then because the posting was anonymous. Probably someone has figured out the author by now. I didn't go looking. But, now that Bernie is viewed as a serious contender, I did go back to re-read the blog as reported in Daily Kos. Here's part of that blog.

He was convicting the Christian leaders and the religious leaders in that university, and calling us out for being complicit in the abandonment of those who suffer, the least of these, and siding with the powerful and rich, the masters of this world. And he was convicting us and calling us out, and we scorned him, and we stared him down; and, with sour faces, we thought, 'Who is this wacko, and why do all these people seem to follow him, seem to like him -- this wild-haired Jew, crying out from the wilderness of the political left, in his hoarse voice?'

I love that description of the "wild-haired Jew." Bernie started off his talk by saying that he and his audience there would agree to disagree on abortion and same-sex marriage, but that they had common ground. You can read the text of the speech here. It is a wonderful speech about morality and justice and care of the poor. It's a speech, as Bernie says, about why he got into politics and his own vision of a just society.

As I reread this Liberty University speech, I want to quote parts of it here. Bernie quotes Pope Francis. He talks about working mothers who have to go back to work and leave their infants in someone else's care. He talks about greed and wealth. It's good election season reading. It's good Lenten reading. It's a good read.

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