Closing out a week where students heard from Faith & Freedom Coalition Founder Ralph Reed and Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Gov. Mike Pence, right wing pundit Dinesh D'Souza rallied students at Liberty University Convocation on Friday, asking them to consider the implications of the coming election.
D'Souza is a political commentator, regularly appearing on major news outlets, and a former policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan. In addition, he is a No. 1 New York Times best-selling author and a filmmaker, having written and directed the second-highest-grossing political documentary of all time.
"Dinesh D'Souza has been a friend for many decades," Liberty President Jerry Falwell said in welcoming D'Souza back to Liberty. Falwell shared that as a Dartmouth College student, D'Souza invited Liberty founder Dr. Jerry Falwell to speak on campus, one of the elder Falwell's first Ivy League engagements.
In a fiery speech, D'Souza made a case for Christian conservatives to engage in politics, even when it feels like a lose-lose situation.
D'Souza began by praising the opportunity this country provides.
"This American dream is a dream not just of economic opportunity or success, but it is ultimately a dream where you can be the architect of your own destiny," he said. "America is a country where you can be in the driver's seat of your own life in which your destiny is not given to you; it is constructed by you."
With that in mind, he asked them to not stand by while that dream is being threatened.
"I think it is an illusion to believe that we as conservatives or as Christians can retreat into our private spaces, drive our pick-up truck to school or to work, pray in church, and (those who oppose Christianity) will leave us unmolested," D'Souza said.
Progressives, according to D'Souza, control the three "megaphones" of society: the media, academia and Hollywood. Consequently, he said, anyone who disagrees with a progressive worldview has limited platforms from which to be heard.
D'Souza challenged Liberty's students to reclaim a position of influence for conservative Christians.
"How did we lose the media?" he asked. "Not enough of us got involved. How did we lose academia? Not enough of us went to those schools. How did we lose Hollywood? Not enough of us make movies. We gave up that territory and then we pretend to be shocked when they use their power to beat ... us. And the same is true of politics."
Telling students that inaction is not an option, he urged them to educate themselves on the facts—and on the implications of each political platform—as they decide how to cast their vote in November.
"I urge you to think critically," D'Souza said. "I urge you to weigh the options. I ask you to think about the American dream handed down to us from generation to generation, and ask yourself what you can do to preserve, protect and defend that dream," He closed his presentation with a popular saying from the 1960s: "If not now, when? If not us, who?"
D'Souza received a standing ovation. He stayed afterward to greet students and sign copies of his book, Hillary's America.
As an institution, Liberty does not endorse anyone for political office and invites all presidential candidates to speak in Convocation. The platform has become a popular stop for those seeking political office—among them, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, and presidential candidates Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Bernie Sanders. Liberty will host Libertarian presidential candidate and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson on Monday, Oct. 17.
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