Bob Jones University became the platform for two presidential candidates to present their views and ideals last weekend for the first time since George W. Bush visited the university as a candidate in 2000.
On Friday, Nov. 13, Sen. Tim Scott and Congressman Trey Gowdy hosted candidate Dr. Ben Carson during an installment of Scott’s Presidential Town Hall series, which Scott hosted in the Founder’s Memorial Amphitorium. The event was held in a question-and-answer format with Carson answering various questions submitted beforehand by members of the audience and from others across the state.
In a press conference before the town hall meeting started, Carson was asked what he would do to help protect Christian higher education in America.
Carson emphasized the importance of having a balanced government with all three branches active and doing the jobs that they were originally given.
“When one branch sits back, like the legislative branch is doing right now, what happens is that other branches become hyperactive,” Carson said. “So we have a hyperactive executive branch and a hyperactive judicial branch. The legislative branch needs to get involved and do something to protect the religious rights of Americans of faith.”
During the event on the FMA stage, Carson tackled questions about serious national issues such as the role of federal government in education, the Iranian Deal policy created by President Obama, revising the tax code, immigration, the Affordable Care Act, ISIS, poverty levels, and religious liberty.
“The President has said that we are not a Judeo-Christian nation, but he doesn’t get to decide,” Carson said. “We get to decide.”
Carson said that if he became the President of the United States, he has a list of priorities that he would work on changing immediately.
“I think the first thing that I would do is call a joint session of Congress and make sure that everybody understood that we work for the people…they don’t work for us,” Carson said. “I think we need a balanced budget, and I would want to make sure that I am not going along with any budgetary increases whatsoever. And I would work with the members of Congress so that we began to look at areas that we can fix before we get to the point where our backs are against the wall. The other thing is that we have to get our military right once again.”
Carson also said that his faith in God greatly influences his ideals and values. He said his belief in a loving God and godly principles impact the way that he thinks and how he believes in equal rights for everyone, not extra rights for some.
On the next day, Nov. 14, Sen. Ted Cruz held a Rally for Religious Liberty in the FMA.
Before the rally, media had the opportunity to ask Cruz about his thoughts on the terrorist attacks which had occurred the night before in Paris, France.
“In order to defeat [ISIS], we need a president willing to confront it and to do whatever is necessary,” Cruz said. “If we do not act, this terrorism, this violence, will come to America.”
During the rally, participants heard vocal groups from North Greenville University, The Crown College from Tennessee, and the Chorale from Bob Jones University. The groups sang both patriotic and religious arrangements.
Cruz also hosted many guest speakers during the rally, including David and Jason Benham, whose show was canceled on HGTV because of their Christian beliefs; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; and Dick and Betty Odgaard, who were forced to close their wedding business when they would not host a wedding for a homosexual couple in their wedding chapel.
The rally stressed the importance of religious liberty and the growing threat that the government has become to the liberty of Christians to express their faith in God.
“The federal government wages a daily assault on life, on marriage, on religious liberty,” Cruz said. “It’s because Christians are not standing up for our values.”
Cruz also emphasized the fact that 54 million Christians did not vote in the last election and how much of a difference that number voting would make in the election of our next president this coming November.
Cruz ended the rally with his father, the Rev. Rafael Cruz, speaking about his personal experiences in Cuba and the trials he faced for being a Christian.
See our online version of this article at collegianonline.com for more exclusive photos from both events.