The Values Voter Summit: A Celebration Of The “Religious Right”

Lauren Victoria Burke

The Values Voter Summit concluded over the weekend, showcasing the religious right (and more on the proper usage of that label later on) and its fervent opposition to President Obama.

Mike Huckabee won the presidential straw poll, a key test of religious right voters, but it was with a weak plurality in a very divided field: Huckabee 29%, followed by Mitt Romney Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin and Mike Pence, all with about 12% each. That said, it’s natural in some ways that the GOP should have no obvious frontrunner at this point in the cycle, and this isn’t really a huge problem — but don’t mistake these numbers for a major Huck win.

Huckabee was obviously a big hit, and really did play into the worldview of good versus evil. For example, he besmirched the very motives and patriotism of their political enemies, and of those who tell the the GOP to be less conservative and more moderate: “I’m not sure the center makes a whole lot of sense when it’s coming from people who certainly don’t have our interest, or our country’s interest, at heart.”Another possible presidential candidate, Tim Pawlenty, spoke to the crowd. Pawlenty tore into the Democrats on spending, abortion, etc. — and made a religious invocation of Ronald Reagan:

I want to close with one last story. It’s a true story. In January of 1981, it was a cloudy, cold day in Washington, D.C. It’s a time when the country was discouraged and worried, hostages were being held, the economy was in deep trouble. And shortly after noon on a January day, 1981, Ronald Reagan walked out of the United States Capitol and he strode to the podium to be sworn in as the president of the United States of America. As if on a director’s cue, the clouds parted and a ray of sunshine hit the podium and him, and Ronald Reagan said later it’s as if a burst of warmth or an explosion of warmth hit his face at that very moment.

Mitt Romney slammed government takeovers of the economy, including bank bailouts in the list of grievances — which he used to support.

Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) got the crowd going with an amusing story to explain the chaotic nature of Washington — and how you have to play the ball where the monkey throws it.

Conservatives will sometimes bristle at the label “religious right,” but Star Parker proudly embraced it:

“We have two opposing views in this country. We have the religious right, versus what I’m calling, and called in my first book, the lewd left. When you think about the biblical worldview, ‘God said,’ and you think about these secular humanists that say, ‘Are you sure?” We say, ‘Yes, we are sure.'”

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