Religious Freedom Coalition at the Values Voter Summit
Our booth calls attention to Saudi brutality – The Religious Freedom Coalition participated in the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC again this year. Many organizations sponsor the annual event for social conservative activists, including the Family Research Council, American Values and the Heritage Foundation.
Rather than generally promoting the Religious Freedom Coalition, our booth and literature this year featured our campaign to focus awareness on the vile treatment of Christian guest workers in Saudi Arabia, particularly those from poorer African nations such as Ethiopia. Lack of honest media coverage of the horrors in the Saudi Kingdom leave many surprised by the depravity in this absolute monarchy.
Two large vertical banners were on either side of our booth at the Values Voter Summit. One featured our “name that nation” campaign that lists the evils of the Saudi Kingdom. The theme is very similar to the first ad that I wrote and ran in newspapers about Saudi Arabia, shortly after the 9-11 jihad attack by Muslims in 2001. That display advertisement so moved the staff of the Washington Times that it was the first, last and only display ad ever to appear on the editorial page of that newspaper.
The top half of the banner is pictured. This banner, plus a monitor continually showing two of our popular YouTube videos on the evils of the Saudi Kingdom, drew a lot of attention to our project to expose the torment of Christians in Saudi Arabia.[button link=”http://www.religiousfreedomcoalition.org/saudi-evil/” text=”See our current newspaper ads on Saudi Arabia here” size=”small” alt=”off”]
Hundreds of social conservatives signed petitions requesting that Congress take action to assist the persecuted Christians working in Saudi Arabia, including the many Ethiopians who have been arrested and tortured. Of those who signed the petition, more than 200 also signed up for my Capitol Hill Update that is emailed each week.
Others who attended the Values Voter Summit took literature provided by us, including copies of my Chairman’s Report and columns I have written on Saudi Arabia and the “democratic” process in the Middle East and the devastation brought to Christians by the “Arab Spring.”
Value of participation – I was not surprised that several of the supporters of the Religious Freedom Coalition attended the Values Voter Summit and came by our booth to say hello. Attendees from Illinois, New Jersey, Virginia and South Carolina who support the Religious Freedom Coalition came by to give a word of encouragement. They, along with others who receive my weekly emails, were in several cases able to meet other activists from their area. Those who were there this year did more than attend; they were participants.
The next Values Voter Summit, in 2014, will be critically important to activating social conservatives before the elections and I highly recommend you attend next October, if you are able. Once again the Religious Freedom Coalition will have a presence. If you attend, perhaps you can volunteer some of your time at our booth or at other events in which we are involved.
Questioning Ted Cruz and Rand Paul – Many conservative leaders also attend the Values Voter Summit each year because their organizations are represented. There are side meetings of leaders that are off the record and never mentioned. Leaders at these meetings include individuals such as Gary Bauer, Tony Perkins, Janet Parshall and Janet Porter, as well as some I cannot mention without their permission.
One such meeting was a private off-the-record conversation with Senator Rand Paul and his wife Kelley as well as with Senator Ted Cruz and his wife Heidi. These conversations are very encouraging and helpful because they let social conservative leaders, including myself, hear candid comments from these men and their wives in areas other than just politics. From these meetings I can assure you that their pro-life stance is not just for the public; it is a part and parcel of who they are and what their marriages are about. Unfortunately, because of the off-the-record nature of the conversations I cannot give exact details of what was asked or what was said.
I can say that in the general public meetings in the main hall Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio gave clear testimonies of the Lord Jesus Christ. Unashamedly Senator Marco Rubio at one point looked out at more than 2,000 in the main hall and said he believes Jesus Christ is God.
Talking of the current state of Christians in America Senator Rubio said, “On issue after issue, they are expected to be tolerant of others, but increasingly our culture’s intolerant of them.” Rubio continued, “This is not about imposing our religion on anyone. In America you have the right to worship any way you choose. That’s why virtually every faith and every denomination on earth has a presence in our land. You have a right to not believe in God at all.” Then he went on to give a clear testimony that we have never heard from Barack Obama.
“But I believe Jesus Christ is God,” Rubio said, “I believe he loves every single human being that has ever lived, no matter what they have done, even if they don’t believe in him,” Rubio said. “That’s why he suffered a brutal death and he resurrected from the dead, to erase the sins that separate us from him.”
I was in the room when he made that statement and the crowd of several thousand rose to their feet and cheered, in appreciation for his boldness for our Lord Jesus Christ.
Senator Tim Scott is more preacher than politician – I thought I knew Senator Tim Scott pretty well. I have had dinner with him here in Washington, DC. But I have never seen him speak in a public rather than a political forum. Even I was just a little surprised when he took to the stage at the Values Voter Summit and sounded a lot more like a preacher than a Senator.
Senator Scott began his presentation by reciting the first verse of Amazing Grace, “I once was lost, but now I am found, was blind, but now I see.” He then went on to talk about his troubled childhood in a foster home, of getting in trouble, stealing and having failing grades at school. As he progressed he talked about playing football and how he accepted Jesus as his savior at a meeting of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and explained how much knowing the Lord has changed his life.
Discerning the good from the bad – When I travel to speak at events, people constantly tell me how bad everyone in Congress is and that we need to “throw out all those bums.” Tea Party people in particular seem to want term limits and want to toss out everyone and start over. This is a horrible idea based on an even worse premise. There are many good men and women in Congress who love our Lord Jesus Christ and our nation. Almost one fourth of the House of Representatives belong to the Prayer Caucus led by Congressman Randy Forbes. Kicking the nearly 100 members of the Prayer Caucus out of Congress, just to get rid of Nancy Pelosi, is a bad idea even on a good day. Could we really be sure that another 100 godly men and women would step into their shoes and meet before each session to pray for our nation?
We need discernment in dealing with those elected to Congress, and should heed these words given us by our Lord: “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. (Matthew 7:18) Senator Tim Scott has stood by his testimony and talks about his faith and his trust in Jesus as often as he can. Indeed, he is a better preacher than a couple of ordained Baptists I know. I hope you will join me in prayer that more godly men and women such as he will come to Washington to help heal our land.
As you know I am also the chairman of Government Is Not God – PAC. As chairman of that political action committee I endorsed Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz in their initial primary races against establishment candidates. Because Senator Tim Scott was appointed to fill out the term of Senator Jim DeMint who left to head the Heritage Foundation, he must face an election next year. I have endorsed this godly man and my PAC will assist him during the election.
Senator Rand Paul and abortion – I did not endorse Rand Paul when he ran for Senate because I just have a genuine fear of anyone who leans toward libertarianism. However, I have now talked to Senator Paul on several occasions and heard him speak to small groups. He believes that life begins at conception – period. He co-sponsored a bill to ban abortions at 20 weeks (when a baby definitely can feel pain) and he has described – as a doctor – how a baby that young in the womb moves away from a needle during some types of pre natal operations.
Senator Paul told me that he does not support abortions under 20 weeks, but that if a law to save babies at more than 20 weeks can be passed now, we should get that much done and work for more later.
The next president? – I have already mentioned the meetings in which I was involved at the Values Voter Summit with Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, who are high on the list of those possibly running for President in 2016. Each year there is a presidential preference straw poll among those attending. This year, as you may have already heard, Senator Ted Cruz won the straw poll with 42% of the vote, which is a real accomplishment considering that there were twenty names listed including a write-in.
What I think surprised everyone about the straw poll was that former presidential candidate Rick Santorum came in tied for second well ahead of Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, with 13% of the vote. The tie was with Dr. Ben Carson, who was being heavily promoted by a direct mail company trying to raise funds for an ad hoc committee to “draft” him to run for President. On a scale of one to ten on the ridiculous meter, this is an eleven. All that the heavy promotion of Dr. Carson in the name of building a mailing list accomplished, was to distort the poll. Without the direct mail marketing firm’s influence at the Values Voter Summit, probably 25% of the vote would have gone to Senator Rick Santorum.
Officially Rick Santorum came to the Values Voter Summit as the CEO of EchoLight Studios, an inspirational and family film company which will release “The Christmas Candle” nationwide November 22nd. Senator Santorum plans to tour several cities right along with the film when it opens. But his address at the Summit was powerful and showed his dedication to the Lord and to staying on course politically, regardless of the cost. Many of those who heard him were moved to vote for him in the straw poll. He also received 7% in the Vice Presidential poll.
I met with Rick Santorum at one of the many receptions at the end of the day and discussed with him the possibility he may once again run in 2016. I believe he is far more confident now and more prepared to run a national campaign than he was in 2012.
During one meeting I also spoke with Governor Mike Huckabee, whom I strongly supported in 2008. I still believe he would have won, had he run in 2012. Although he is very popular in media, his political attraction has now diminished and he received just 4% in the straw poll. However, both Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee led strong campaigns in two presidential elections, which showed the power of the social conservative vote. We all need to pray for a strong social conservative leader who loves the Lord and our nation to step forward and run against the likely Democrat candidate, Senator Hillary Clinton, who will have her Muslim Brotherhood aide at her side.
Finally, please keep abreast of all that the Religious Freedom Coalition is involved in at www.ReligiousFreedomCoaltion.org, and at the two Facebook pages we manage. Links to all of our stories are also tweeted from @RFCNET.
William J. Murray, Chairman
Religious Freedom Coalition, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW #900, Washington, DC 20004 * (202) 742-8990