“It strikes me as odd that the free exercise of religious faith is sometimes treated as a problem, something America is stuck with instead of blessed with,” he said.
He observed that from its very beginning America has “trusted in God, not man,” and added that “there is no greater force for good in the nation than Christian conscience in action.”
Freedom of conscience has become a key issue in the election year, as the Obama administration has come under fire for issuing a federal mandate that will require employers to offer health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs.
The mandate has elicited criticism from religious leaders and communities across the country, giving religion a prominent voice in the debates surrounding the election.
Romney’s Mormon religion has also been a topic of discussion throughout the primary season.
In his Liberty University address, the former Massachusetts governor touched on common ground between Mormonism and other faiths, such as Evangelical Christianity.
Despite “differences in creed and theology,” members of different faiths can “meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview,” he explained.
“The call to service is one of the fundamental elements of our national character,” he said. “It has motivated every great movement of conscience that this hopeful, fair-minded country of ours has ever seen.”
Romney warned the graduates gathered before him that living out their values will often lead to “the censure of the world” rather than “public admiration.”
“Christianity is not the faith of the complacent, the comfortable or of the timid,” he said.
However, he added, it is worth the spiritual effort to keep our focus on “something far greater than ourselves.”
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“Moral certainty, clear standards, and a commitment to spiritual ideals will set you apart in a world that searches for meaning,” he explained.
Liberty University graduated its largest class in history this year, with 14,012 graduates.