Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal delivered an uplifting commencement speech for the 2014 class of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., this past weekend, discussing everything from his conversion to Christianity when he was a teen, to his support for public evangelical figures such as Phil Robertson from "Duck Dynasty."
Jindal, a Republican, spoke to about 34,000 attendees for the evangelical university's 41st commencement ceremony on Saturday, held at the university's Williams Stadium.
The southern governor recalled the "most significant moment" of his life, a moment that happened during his teen years when he was first given the Bible as a gift and snuck away into his closet to read it, unsure of how his Hindu parents, who had emigrated from India, would react.
"I read the words of Jesus Christ and I realized that they were true. I used to think that I had found God, but I believe it is more accurate to say that He found me," said Jindal of his conversion, later adding that "the most significant moment of my life was when I turned it over to Jesus Christ and acknowledged Him as my Savior."
The governor went on to tell the graduating class of the dangers American Christians face in expressing their religious freedom. "Today the American people, whether they know it or not, are mired in a silent war. [...] It is a war – a silent war – against religious liberty."
Jindal then gave examples of Christians in the media spotlight being silenced for expressing their religious beliefs, including Phil Robertson, patriarch of the Robertson family from "Duck Dynasty" who was temporarily suspended from his show back in December for comments he made about homosexuality in a GQ Magazine interview.
When Robertson's temporary suspension was announced, Jindal was one of the first public figures to step in to defend the reality star, saying that he "[acknowledges] that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views."
"You may think that I was defending the Robertsons simply because I am the Governor of their home state, the great state of Louisiana. You would be wrong about that. I defended them because they have every right to speak their minds," Jindal said on Saturday.
Jindal concluded his speech by encouraging Liberty University graduates to stand up for their Christian beliefs. "If God is with us, then who can be against us," Jindal asked. The governor also received an honorary doctoral degree from Liberty University on Saturday.
The Lynchburg-based university has been a common stop for potential Republican candidates preparing for a presidential election. Other notable Republicans, including Senator John McCain, Senator Rand Paul and Senator Ted Cruz, among others, have spoken at the evangelical university in the past.