On Monday morning, Bernie Sanders delivered a blunt speech to conservative evangelicals in Virgina. The same venue Sen. Ted Cruz used to announce his presidential bid.
In front of a packed house of 12,000 at Liberty University, President Jerry Falwell introduced and gave a warm welcome to Sanders by presenting a jersey to him bearing his name embroidered on the back.
“Senator Sanders we made room for a lot of your local supporters in the front row, you’ve got a fan club here,” he said.
Sanders then addressed the world’s largest Christian university with a speech emphasizing the nation’s moral responsibility to address economic inequality and demand drastic reform.
“When we talk about morality and justice, we have to understand that there is no justice when so few have so much, and so many have so little,” Sanders said.
Sanders was quick to note many in the audience hold different views on issues such as abortion and gay rights. He said his goal is to encourage a civil discourse bringing people together asking them to set aside their differences and find a common ground.
“It is easy to go out and talk to people who agree with you,” Sanders said. “It is harder, but not less important, for us to try and communicate with those who do not agree with us on every issue.”
Sanders applauded the students and faculty for their continuous search for the meaning of morality and how to apply it to their daily lives. He invited them to use the Golden Rule when thinking about how to deal with poverty and social issues.
“I would hope that as part of that discussion and part of that learning process some of you will conclude it is imperative that we have the courage to stand with the poor, working people, and take on powerful wealthy people whose greed, in my view, is doing this country enormous harm.”
Watch the whole speech here.