Republican politicians and Christian leaders joined hands over the weekend to mobilize the conservative base ahead of the much-anticipated November elections.
Big name Republican leaders such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former White House senior advisor Karl Rove headlined the Faith & Freedom Coalition Conference and Strategy Briefing, from Sept. 9 to 11, in Washington, D.C.
Although politics was the main focus of the gathering, speakers turned to faith to explain their motivation for running for office or why mobilizing conservative voter turnout is so important.
“The reason I came today is to stand with you and celebrate the issues of life,” said Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) on Saturday, according to Politico.
“Thank God that Teresa [Collett] and I and people like us around this country are going to be swept into this Congress – not ashamed of being pro-life, not ashamed of being believers, and not ashamed of who we are, and not ashamed of saying we are redefining this country,” said the former missionary.
“Conservatives will again be true conservatives,” she said.
Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith & Freedom Coalition and former president of the Christian Coalition, said he organized the conference at the urging of FOX news television show host Sean Hannity. According to Reed, God had spoke through Hannity to coax him out of his political hiatus to form the FFC after the big Democratic win in 2008.
“This is not just a conference or a retreat,” said Reed, in a statement about the event this past weekend. “This is the political equivalent of NFL minicamp. We will train and equip our activists on how to block and tackle in the churches and precincts as we prepare for the most important election of our lifetimes.”
Gingrich concurred with Reed, saying Friday that he believed the mid-term elections in November “could be bigger than the 1994 election.”
The potential 2012 candidate also spent part of his 40-some minutes criticizing President Obama, calling him the “most radical president in American history.” He also blasted the Obama administration’s response to radical Islam, particularly its handling of the foiled Christmas Day bombing.
Several speakers at the FFC conference quoted the Bible, including Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Land cited Romans 13 on Friday and spoke about the “three divinely ordained institutions: home, church, and civil government,” according to the Religion Dispatches.
Meanwhile, Timothy Goeglein, an assistant in the George W. Bush administration and now with Focus on the Family, urged attendees to sign the Manhattan Declaration, a document that declares signers will not compromise their conscience on the issues of life, marriage, and religious liberty.
The FFC Conference and Strategy Briefing, which drew several hundred people, is an unofficial prelude to the much larger Values Voter Summit from Sept. 17-19. The Family Research Council Action’s annual summit is expected to draw thousands of attendees to hear politicians, activists and celebrities defend conservative values.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, spoke at the FFC Conference on Friday.