Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders brought his liberal message to evangelical stronghold Liberty University, delivering an impassioned moral plea for economic equality.
Speaking on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish senator told a crowd of conservative Christians that he made no apologies for his liberal social views.
“I understand that issues such as abortion and gay marriage are very important to you and that we disagree on those issues. I get that,” Sanders said. “But I came here today because I believe from the bottom of my heart that it is vitally important for those of us who hold different views to be able to engage in a civil discourse.”
Despite those differences, Sanders told the crowd that liberals and conservatives could unite behind a moral imperative to heal the “massive injustice” plaguing the American economy.
“You have got to think about the morality of that, the justice of that, and whether or not that is what we want to see in our country,” Sanders said. “In my view, there is no justice when, in recent years, we have seen a proliferation of millionaires and billionaires while at the same time the United States of America has the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country on earth.”
He even cited passages from the gospels of Matthew and Amos to illustrate his point that evangelical Christians and liberals could work together to find common ground.
Sanders noted that 40% of black children live in poverty.
“How can we, I want you to go into your hearts, how can we talk about morality, about justice, when we turn our backs on the children of our country?” he asked.
Sanders, a Vermont independent, has been picking up ground in the polls and has even pulled even with Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in key early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.