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Gingrich addresses Univ. of Mobile’s scholarship banquet

MOBILE, Ala. (BP)–The University of Mobile will play a role in helping define the right direction of America, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich told an audience of more than 700 at the university’s first annual scholarship banquet.

The Oct. 13 event at the Arthur Outlaw Convention Center in downtown Mobile also featured musical performances by students from the university’s Center for Performing Arts. A total of $146,000 was raised for scholarships, UM President Mark Foley reported.

Foley, noting the college’s goal of “changing lives to change the world,” shared his vision for the future of the Baptist-affiliated university. He outlined plans to build a university center that will serve as a central core for a growing residential population, establish a mentoring program for inner-city youth and create The Center for Christian Worldview, Public Policy, and the Law in partnership with The Alabama Policy Institute conservative think tank.

Gingrich, who was greeted with a standing ovation both before and after his address, discussed U.S. political history, focusing on the importance of religion in America and the Declaration of Independence.

“The key phrase in the document on which all America is built is ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’

“Now my challenge to the secular world that surrounds us is to explain to me how you’re going to explain to a 7-, 8-, 9- or 10-year-old what it means to be an American if you do not explain the term ‘Creator.’ And that’s impossible. It’s why, for the last 42 years, the Supreme Court has been consistently wrong — simply historically wrong. And I regard such efforts as President Foley’s great leadership here, at the University of Mobile, as efforts to replant the seeds that are at the very heart of America,” he said.

He added, “A secular America would not be America. It could be a country. It could still have our flag. But it would not in fact represent the historic experience which, since 1776, has said something very basic, which is that power comes from God to each of you.”

Gingrich said he was impressed by UM students at a press conference held earlier in the day on the university campus, where he hinted at a possible presidential bid in 2008.

“I had a chance to chat with a number of them beforehand, and the energy, the enthusiasm, the excitement that they had was something that, for somebody who used to be a college teacher, brought back all my adrenaline and all my excitement at knowing that in the right campus, at the right moment, with the right class, you can have an amazing impact that can last for a lifetime,” Gingrich said. “And I really think that is the mission of the University of Mobile. Not just a place to process people through to give them a diploma so they can go on and do whatever they’re going to do, but a place where they have an opportunity to come into contact with greater truths, with more profound realities, with a structure of thought which is over 2,000 years old. And I think this is terribly important — more important than you can possibly imagine.”

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  • Kathy Dean