Potential Senate candidates speak at faith-based conference, but Liberty U. says it's not endorsing them

"We are praying God will visit us in a unique way," said Liberty University dean Matthew Staver Friday night as he explained the goals of this year's The Awakening conference to attendants gathered in the Thomas Road Baptist Church at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

So when the rain began to pound outside of the church the late Jerry Falwell, Sr. built, and thunder rumbled, 2012 U.S. Senate hopeful Jamie Radtke looked up from her podium and said, "It sounds like Jesus is coming."

Radtke, a former alum who home-schools her children, is the head of the Virginia Federation of Tea Party Patriots and president of the Richmond Tea Party in Virginia. She filed her nomination last year.

Ratke told attendants at the panel lecture on "the three legs of conservatism" that she embodies all the legs -- national security, social and economic.

But especially the social.

"We're seeing an awakening from a political standpoint -- a great awakening," Radtke said. "We feel that America is slowly being erased and that is accelerated into warp drive. ... Our freedom is a gift -- not from the federal government but from God."

Radtke followed Ted Cruz, former solicitor general of Texas now running for U.S. Senate. Cruz, the son of a Cuban immigrant, defended his record successfully arguing in cases that involved: preserving "under God" in the Texas Pledge of Allegiance, upholding the right to bear arms and fighting down the World Court of the United Nations.

Cruz criticized the president, in particular the health care law, for which Cruz has started a petition to "repeal every syllable of every word of Obamacare and to vote out of office every single politician who voted for it." Cruz is also the originator of a movement picking up traction nationally in which states partner to replace federal health care programs with an interstate “health care compact," as previously reported by The Texas Independent.

"I don't think this country is going to accept the Obama agenda," he said.

Liberty University heads repeated several times throughout the day that the university does not endorse political candidates, which they have to say to protect their 501(c)3 status. Staver said that candidates were invited not because they are candidates but because they are conservative.

"You are free to vote for whoever you want to," said Matthew Krause, litigation counsel for Liberty Counsel. "You can vote for Ted, for Jamie, or you can vote for the wrong candidate."

"I'm just joking," he added.

Read The American Independent's full coverage of The Awakening 2011 conference.

(Image by Matt Mahurin)