May 22, 2017
President Trump understands the power of force multiplication. Thankfully, he's not alone in the quest to turn America around. And he's assembled a pretty impressive team to prove it -- starting with the vice president. The longtime congressman-turned-second-in-command has been a calming and stately presence since Day One. With decades of policy experience, Mike Pence has brought a lot more to the table than a lot of men who've won the title. Case in point: his speech at Notre Dame's graduation.
The Class of 2017's choice of a commencement speaker wasn't without its share of controversy, but Mike handled the situation with the kind of poise people have come to expect from the Hoosier. In fact, he used the opportunity to point people back to the problem -- political correctness on college campuses. That much was evidence when a few dozen LGBT activists walked out of the auditorium in protest. (Once again we see that all the talk about "tolerance" is just that. Talk.) "This university is a vanguard of freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas at a time, sadly, when free speech and civility are waning on campuses across America," the vice president argued. "I would submit that the increasing intolerance and suppression of the time-honored tradition of free expression on our campuses jeopardizes the liberty of every American," he warned.
Unfortunately, it was a message some students never heard. A group of liberal graduates and their families stood up and left at the beginning of Pence's remarks, giving the media a juicy distraction that was fanned by far-Left groups like GLAAD, who applauded the students' supposed "leadership." To many Notre Dame alums, it was a sad commentary on the church's compromise on the cultural issues of the day. After all, this is a religious institution that was once rooted in biblical morality. Like a number of faith-based institutions, they've surrendered important ground on the question of sexuality, which history tells us is just a harbinger of further moral compromise.
Still, as our good friend (and Fighting Irish alum) Chuck Donovan pointed out, "Let's not forget the 3,000 who stayed, listened respectfully, celebrated a great achievement, and alongside family and friends took another step on the road to lives of mature faith and service to God and community. As for the dozens, you live in a nation where you can do this without fear of reprisal or scorn. On this day when that is not true for more than half the world's people, cherish this right and defend it for yourselves and others, rain or shine, popular or unpopular." Perhaps Mike Pence's words will spark a return to that day when, as he said, "opposing views are debated and where every speaker, no matter how unpopular or unfashionable, is afforded the right to air their views in the open for all to hear."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.