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January 04, 2015

“Tolerance is a two-way street” remarked Rick Santorum during his speech on Monday evening at George Washington University. The presentation sponsored by GW YAF occurred in the midst of a brewing controversy on GW’s campus. In recent weeks GW YAF has spoken out against a mandatory LGBT training session that has been debated on campus. In response to the conservative club’s request for a religious exemption for its members the chapter was labeled a “hate group” and compared to ISIS by liberal GW students and community members.

Santorum touched upon the controversy during his speech pointing out the double standard of “tolerance” present on many college campuses. “The university community is one of the chief offenders of a lack of tolerance” said Santorum. He continued “The only sensitivity training anyone needs is respect for the human individual.” Santorum pointed out that behind the guise of “tolerance” at George Washington University is a systemic intolerance for conservative and Christian beliefs.

Before taking questions from the audience Santorum touched upon both foreign and domestic policy issues citing the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran and the controversial religious freedom law recently passed in Indiana.

During a lively question and answer session Santorum was asked a number of questions ranging from Iran to his new book “Bella’s Gift” about his severely disabled daughter. However most of the questions revolved around one issue: gay marriage. When asked about Indiana’s controversial new law Santorum commented that he believes that tolerance should extend to the gay and Christian communities alike.

“Should a Jewish printshop have to make signs for the KKK? Should a kosher deli have to serve non-kosher food? It’s a two-way street. Tolerance is a two way street. If you’re saying that ‘your religious liberties are not as important as my-fill in the blank’ then I’ve got a problem with that” Santorum said.

Despite a few critical questions from the audience filled with both GWYAF members and representatives from various liberal campus groups Santorum respectfully and calmly responded to even the most confrontational questions. Speaking to the audience as a whole Santorum commented “No matter what your passion is on the issues we need to have a system that says everybody’s allowed in.” Following the presentation many of the liberal students stomped out of the room in frustration.

Santorum’s speech marks yet another successful campus event for George Washington University’s YAF chapter. If you’re interested in bringing a conservative speaker to your campus to balance its ideological scale find out more here and contact us today.

Amy Lutz is a Program Officer at the Reagan Ranch Center 

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