‘Wage a war on woke:’ Gov. DeSantis speaks at Liberty University after signing 6-week abortion ban

Rights are courtesy of ‘Almighty God,’ not government, DeSantis says

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at Liberty University on Friday, April 14, 2023. (WSLS)

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke Friday morning at Liberty University’s convocation, welcomed as the latest in a long line of speakers who interim university president Jerry Prevo called “the nation’s top influential leaders who are committed to the Christian faith while serving in the public square,” worded in a statement ahead of time.

Though it was previously unannounced whether DeSantis would bring up the 6-week abortion ban he signed into law the night prior, Pastor Jonathan Falwell took care of that while inviting the governor on stage.

“There’s no question that he’s always been a person who fights for the rights that are given not only by the Constitution, but the rights that are given directly from God. He has fought for the freedoms of Floridians and in fact, just last night, he was speaking in Ohio, he flew all the way back to Florida and last night after the Legislature there in Florida passed the bill, he signed the Heartbeat Protection Act,” Falwell said to cheers. “As he signed that into the law in the state of Florida, it will protect all unborn babies because he recognizes and knows that Life is a gift from God. So, Gov. DeSantis, our mission here at Liberty; we’ve always been singularly focused on training champions for Christ and so we thank you today for coming to help inspire our students to become champions for Christ and whatever it is that they might do.”

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DeSantis, who is widely expected to enter the presidential race in the coming weeks, covered a spread of national and regional topics as they applied to what he characterized as reasons why Americans “must wage a war on woke” and how Florida offers “a ray of hope that better days may still lie ahead.”

“The woke mind virus represents a war on merit. It represents a war on achievement. It’s a form of cultural Marxism that seeks to use identity politics to divide Americans. But perhaps most of all, the woke represents a war on the truth, and as a leader, I don’t seek adulation, I don’t seek any fanfare, all I seek is the pursuit of the truth,” DeSantis said. “... We must embrace our founding creed that our rights are not the courtesy of the government. They are the gift from Almighty God. We must reject the idea that constitutional self government can be subcontracted out to technocratic elites who reduce individuals to mere data points. We must insist on the restoration of time-tested Constitutional principles so that a government of, by and for the people shall not perish from this Earth. Florida has proved that it can be done.”

Touching on issues closer to home, the governor referenced his fight with Disney, at latest involving the quietly-usurped Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board’s intent to exert “superior authority” after members hand-picked by DeSantis learned a last-minute agreement between Disney and the old board handed the company decades of district control.

The spat began after Disney publicly rebuked Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, known among critics as “Don’t Say Gay,” which was signed into law last year and is expected to be expanded to include high school students.

“In Florida, gender ideology has no place in our schools, and if that means taking on Disney to make sure that’s the case, we will do it,” DeSantis said.

See the convocation again on Liberty’s Facebook page.

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About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.