Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) addressed a chorus of conservatives and evangelicals at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's "Road to Majority" conference Friday, proclaiming that "America is in a full-blown spiritual crisis" and touting the importance of faith in public life.
"I think that too often our culture seeks to separate faith and freedom," Paul said. "Freedom needs virtue and virtue needs freedom."
Later on in the speech he again addressed this theme, noting that voters should reject any politician who tells them that faith cannot be a part of public life.
U.S. Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky gives the keynote speech to the delegates of the Texas GOP Convention in Fort Worth, Texas Friday June 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Rex C. Curry)
"Citizenship and good government require the involvement of a virtuous people," he continued. "Liberty is absolutely essential to virtue. It is our freedom to make individual choices that allows us to be virtuous."
Paul shared quotes from President Ronald Reagan, Mother Theresa and evangelist Billy Graham, among others, offering up encouragement despite his dire assessment of the current state of affairs.
While the cultural and political situation is grim, the senator said that "America has much greatness left in her," encouraging participants to take a deep look at the nation — and themselves.
"Our foundation is cracking. It's not that we've chosen the wrong politicians … it's more fundamental than that," Paul proclaimed early on in his address. "It requires a deeper [introspection]. We should pray for our country and our leaders."
He continued, "America will thrive when we realize that freedom requires faith to sustain it."
On the political front, Paul decried what he called a "bipartisan sprint away from a republic" at the hands of both major political parties. He also chastised Congress for passing bills that he said exempt its members, while also failing to fully read the texts before ushering them into law.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during an event at the University of Chicago's Ida Noyes Hall in Chicago on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles)
Paul also noted that the government is unable to take the sort of effective humane action that churches and individuals can deliver.
"Government can supply bread, but it can't mend a broken spirit," he added.
Addressing foreign policy, Paul added that it is essential for America to defend the homeland, but that peace should always be the primary goal.
"Jesus reminds us what our goal should be when he proclaims, 'Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God,'" he continued.
The "Road to Majority" conference goes from June 19-21, and will feature other politicians as well, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, among others.