My wife and I are fans of the Sunday New York Times, and yesterday as we were enjoying the paper over a leisurely breakfast, she nudged me to make note of a story on the front page. I looked and was a little taken aback. Glaring up at me was a photo of an old Americans United nemesis – Ralph Reed. The headline read, “An Evangelical Is Back From Exile, Lifting Romney.”
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, self-proclaimed messiah, founder of the Unification Church and funder of various Religious Right political causes, died on Monday.
Moon, who was 92, was familiar to many Americans because of the rather esoteric beliefs of his church – the mass weddings, the flower sellers on the streets and the allegations that the church was really a “cult.”
Loose morals abound in an election year.
Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition is holding its annual conference in Washington, D.C., today and tomorrow. That means Religious Right devotees have descended on the city to discuss “training and equipping” themselves to “advance conservative legislation” and prep for the 2012 election.
I’m often asked what the Religious Right is up to these days. Some people, noting the death of the Rev. Jerry Falwell in 2007 and the aging of leaders like Pat Robertson and Donald Wildmon, assume the movement is slowing down.
Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.
Religious Right groups and their allies in the Tea Party are giddy from their electoral successes in 2010. They’re gearing up for another round in 2012. Much of what is happening is occurring below the radar and doesn’t necessarily capture headlines. But it’s very real.
I spent the day on Friday at Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Conference and Strategy Briefing here in Washington, D.C.
The list of speakers included many presidential hopefuls, congressional leaders and Religious Right strategists who came to stir their base into action.
I’ve got nothing against faith, and I’m all about freedom. But I don’t have any use for Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition.
As my colleague Rob Boston reported yesterday, the FFC is in Washington, D.C., today and tomorrow to hear from presidential hopefuls and top members of Congress. According to the group’s website, the FFC exists to preserve “the simple virtues of faith, hard work, marriage, family, personal responsibility, and helping the least among us.”
Some political analysts are speculating that the Religious Right is dead and that the Tea Party is movement to watch.
Well, it looks like Religious Right leaders and activists haven’t gotten that memo.
Recent evidence of the non-death of the Religious Right comes from Iowa, where former Christian Coalition Executive Director Ralph Reed last night held a forum on “moral” issues featuring a line-up of Republican presidential possibilities.
I’ve been reporting on Religious Right meetings for more than two decades now and have had to sit through some pretty nasty stuff. I recall a meeting of the Family Research Council’s “Values Voter Summit” a few years ago where a staff member with the American Family Association explained how Adolf Hitler invented the separation of church and state.
As bad as that was, it wasn’t as annoying as listening to Newt Gingrich. Gingrich is a fixture at these meetings. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard him speak. It’s awful, every time.
Over the weekend, I was given a “history” lesson by Kenneth Blackwell, Newt Gingrich, Randy Forbes and dozens of other Religious Right favorites speaking at the Faith and Freedom Conference and Strategy Briefing here in Washington.
Their version of history certainly wasn’t the one I learned in school. But the nearly 200 “values voters” who traveled to Washington for the event hung on every word and cheered speakers on – an image that would make any real historian cringe.