Friday, September 25, 2015

GOP Candidates at the Values Voter Summit

While the Pope is getting all the attention this week, conservative evangelicals are gathered together in Washington D.C. for the Values Voter Summit, sponsored by the Family Research Council.  You can watch it live by clicking on the first link above.

Several GOP candidates are speaking:  Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz Bobby Jindal, and Lindsey Graham.

Other speakers include Bill Bennett, Kim Davis, Mark Levin, John McCain, and Rick Perry,

I have watched some of this and read some of the transcripts.  On the religion and politics front, here are some of the major (and interrelated) themes:

  • Religious liberty
  • Abortion and the defunding of Planned Parenthood
  • The links between liberty and God-given (inalienable) rights
  • The Kim Davis case
  • Same-sex marriage
  • The "progressive agenda" to destroy religion in the United States
  • Islam
No surprise here.

I should also add that Donald Trump brought his Bible with him.

What I find especially interesting about what I have seen or read so far is that there has been no reference to the United States as a Christian nation.  I think the idea that the United States is, and was founded, as a Christian nation is implied in many of the conversations and speeches, but specific historical references and appeals to the past have been absent.

When it comes to issues related to church and state, it appears that the Christian Right has changed its approach.  As I have said elsewhere on this blog, the Christian Right is now talking about religious liberty.  This is telling, because appeals to religious liberty have historically been made by outsiders. 

We can have an honest debate about whether or not the Christian Right has ever had cultural hegemony in the United States, but right now they seemed to be operating as dissenting minorities in a non-Christian nation.