Bernie Sanders’ speech at Liberty University was barely mentioned by the media. They were too busy covering the GOP front-runner’s never-ending parade of insults and incitements to violence. So here is the Sanders’ speech in its entirety. Bernie Sanders drew on the scriptures and invited the packed auditorium to reflect on what it means to do unto others as we would have them do unto us; what it means to “let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-ending stream.”
- Bernie Sanders does not try to fake empathy. He listens carefully to stories of heartbreak, then addresses the issue. He says YES to immigration reform; YES to criminal justice reform, to holding police officers accountable under the same laws they are sworn to uphold. He pledges to work to end the race-based brutalization of families and individuals, whether it is by deportations, unwarranted incarceration, police shootings or economic exploitation.
- He will wage war… on climate change, not on misadventures and regime change. Who else has the courage to simply say “NO” to fracking? To say that Democratic governors who advance it are wrong?
- He does not plead with voters to make him president so that the Jewish candidate can make history. He wants to be president so that we can make history by remaking democracy; so that every individual has a vote, and corporations have none.
- He is flatly against the death penalty: “ I don’t want to see government in the business of killing.”
- He wants FAIR trade, not FIXED trade where corporations write the rules and ordinary working people lose jobs because someone, somewhere else is forced to work for slave wages.
- He wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 a hour.
- He challenges America’s richest to give to America’s poorest. The Waltons of Walmart are his showpiece example. The conspicuously Christian politicians running for the highest office in the land seem to be able to ignore the fact that Jesus did say “sell all you have and give to the poor.” And Bernie is not even advocating going that far. But the Waltons sure can afford to pay Walmart workers better than they do now — and treat them with the respect they are asking for.
- Bernie Sanders believes healthcare for everyone should be a right, as it is in every developed country, except the United States.
- Bernie Sanders believes government should not be policing women’s wombs.
- Bernie Sanders wants to start anew and make every ordinary citizen’s voice matter by ending the rot caused by Citizens United. Who better to fight Big Money than someone who has consistently said NO to Big Money?
He isn’t pious. He is just grounded in a moral vision of fairness and justice. A vision that he challenged the students at Liberty University–and everywhere else in the nation–to consider in their hearts. The Sanders’ candidacy is a challenge to each of us to come to our own conclusions about what exactly justice and morality mean to us. Pointing out that he is not a theologian, not a Catholic, just a senator from the small state of Vermont, he drew on the words of Pope Francis to remind his audience that “We have created new idols….the idolatry of money.” He concluded with the hope that if we are striving to be a moral and just society, we would have the courage to stand with the poor and take on the very wealthy whose greed is destroying the nation.