On Friday and Saturday, I endured my first "Values Voter Summit," an annual conference where right-wing fundamentalists get to be their poisonous, partisan and propaganda-propagating selves.
That's right, these "compassionate conservatives" or good "evangelical Christian" folk tried to fool themselves and the media into believing their policies are about more than just pure hate and an unconstitutional agenda. And they failed miserably.
Take for example the waffle mix sold for $10 dollars a box in the conference's exhibition hall. The box was illustrated with a racist caricature of Obama wearing a Muslim headdress that says, "Point box toward Mecca for tastier Waffles." I think their implication is that these waffles will go well with Aunt Jemima Maple Syrup.
Leaders of Family Research Council Action (FRCA), which puts on the event along with other Religious Right groups, said they are unaware of the exact materials found at every booth and agreed the waffle mix could be offensive, according to Christianity Today. FRCA, however, didn't ask these waffle vendors to leave until the conference was wrapping up on the second day, despite the fact that the booth had huge posters advertising the waffles and was more than conspicuous throughout the entire conference.
The pancake boxes were just the tip of the hateful rhetoric. Sean Hannity told a sick joke about Sen. Edward Kennedy, who has terminal cancer. And the ever over-the-top Star Parker called public schools "cesspools."
When Summit speakers weren't being incendiary, they were being partisan, campaigning for their favorite gal, Sarah Palin, and – to a lesser extent -- her running mate, John McCain.
Between the hot pink "I heart Palin" stickers and the constant praise for her work as a mother of five, FRCA certainly seemed to be endorsing a McCain/Palin ticket. But FRC President Tony Perkins assured us their newly formed political action committee is not yet ready to give an official endorsement for president.
Based on the speeches at the Hilton Washington Hotel, the support for Palin stems from her evangelical Christian values and her stands on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. As Focus on the Family's Jim Daly said, "Scripture makes an impact" on Palin's decisions -- something he would like for all candidates.
That fits in well with what Religious Right leaders would like to see happen as they spread their usual propaganda that the wall of separation between church and state is "invisible and imaginary." Those who support separation want to "rob [Americans] of our heritage and history," as Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) President Allan Sears put it.
Sears talked about the role church-state separationists play in violating the American heritage, then reminded attendees of ADF's request to pastors to illegally endorse candidates from the pulpit on Sept. 28. Somehow, to Sears, breaking the law is more respectful of the heritage and history of our country than upholding the separation of church and state.
All in all, I learned a lot at the conference about the fundamentalist right. But mostly, I was happily reminded that we have nothing in common.
So, how was your weekend?