WASHINGTON – The crowd at the Values Voter Summit Friday morning was clearly excited as speakers – one after another – spoke about the power shift from the government to the people and the return of America back to the foundational values of the founding fathers.
Popular conservative Republican politicians, including Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), prefaced their talks by noting how difficult the last two years have been in Congress, but said reinforcement would come soon.
They spoke enthusiastically about the Tea Party movement and how its candidates are already gaining ground.
In Delaware, Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell this week defeated a nine-term congressman for the Republican Senate nomination. And in Alaska, Tea Party-backed Joe Miller won the GOP Senate nomination.
"There is a big tent out there waiting for us on Nov. 2 this year," remarked DeMint. "I think you're going to see Americans more united than they've ever been before. And within this move for fiscal discipline (Tea Party), behind it, there's a faith component that's stronger than I've ever seen in this country."
Bachmann explained how the Tea Party is not a political party but a group of people who want to return the country to the principles in the Declaration of Independence. Tea Partiers have the "spirit of 1776" and believe that when the government fears the people then there is liberty, the Minnesota congresswoman added.
"One of the revolutionary ideas that make up and undergirds the Tea Party movement is this: all men and all women are created equal," said Bachmann.
"We are endowed by our Creator – that's God, not government – these inalienable rights," she added, "ones that only God gives and government can't take away, like life, and liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
On Friday, more than 2,000 people attended the first full-day of the fifth annual Values Voter Summit, a three-day event that boasts itself as the nation's largest social conservative conference.
While the summit's content is politics heavy – as can be expected with the large number of politicians involved – there was a concerted effort by speakers to explain their political views in a Christian framework.
Nearly all nine speakers Friday morning had some religious element in their speech.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) described himself as "a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order." Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said God never intended the government to raise the country's children. And Sen. DeMint said America sits on a set of principles based on Judeo-Christian values.
"We don't want the government pushing our religion, but we don't want the government purging our society of the values and principles that are derived from religion," said DeMint.
Organized by the legislative action arm of Washington-based Family Research Council, the Values Voter Summit seeks to preserve Judeo-Christian values in America by making it an issue in the political process. During the event, conservative politicians, experts and activists inform attendees about current social issues and bills before Congress with the aim of getting attendees to be more active in influencing what laws are passed.
Altogether the event features over 40 speakers, which this included former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Fox News TV talk show host Sean Hannity.
This year's summit is scheduled to conclude Sunday with a morning worship service.