- (Photo: Reuters / Jessica Rinaldi)
The Values Bus Tour, sponsored by the Faith Family Freedom Fund, National Organization for Marriage, and Susan B. Anthony List, will bring attention to the issues of traditional marriage, abortion and religious freedom for Iowa voters in the week before the Iowa Straw Poll.
“The Iowa Straw Poll is a good place to plant the flag for the social issues that we're interested in,” Connie Mackey, President of FRCAction PAC, said in an interview with The Christian Post.
“It's not that we're not interested in the economy and what is happening today, but we feel that all the issues are of one piece, the issue of life, the issue of traditional marriage, religious liberty, the loss of liberties through big government and other issues like that,” Mackey added.
The bus tour began on Tuesday and will hold events in 22 Iowa cities before ending up in Ames, Iowa for the Iowa Straw Poll on Saturday. The bus tour will also be at the GOP presidential debate on Thursday night.
Most of the Republican presidential candidates will participate in the tour at different stops along the way. However, Mitt Romney will not be at any of the tour events because he is not participating in the Iowa Straw Poll. Gary Johnson, a libertarian who disagrees with the Values Bus Tour sponsors on social issues also declined to participate in the tour.
When the candidates come to speak at tour events, they can speak on any topic they wish, explained Mackey, but they will be asked to explain their positions on abortion, traditional marriage and religious freedom. The National Organization for Marriage will be asking candidates to support their pledge to defend traditional marriage and Susan B. Anthony List will be asking candidates to support their pro-life pledge if they have not already done so.
Faith Family Freedom Fund is a political action committee (PAC) formed by Family Research Council (FRC). Unlike FRC, which is a 501c3 and can accept tax-deductible donations, Faith Family Freedom Fund has more freedom to advocate issues, but donations to their PAC are not tax deductible.
While Faith Family Freedom Fund would be allowed to endorse and support particular candidates, it will not be endorsing any candidates in the presidential race.
“There's certainly a wide range of people that we think would make a wonderful president, some that haven't declared, like Marco Rubio. This thing is still wide open, so we're not about to take a position like that yet,” Mackey explained.
Media stories had surfaced that Tony Perkins, President of FRC, was encouraging Texas Governor Rick Perry to enter the race. Mackey clarified that these reports were not true. “Perkins does not have a position on a presidential candidate at all” at this point in the race, Mackey said.
Iowa residents who wish to attend a Values Bus Tour event can check its website, www.valuesbus.com, to find out when the tour will be in their area.