Awakening 2011, held at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA on April 8-9, drew attention not only because of homophobic comments made by attendees, but also because of conference speakers stances on education and reproductive issues.
As mentioned earlier, the conference held several workshops with anti-abortion and anti-Planned Parenthood content. (See freedomfederation[dot]org/content/awakening_2011_schedule)
- "Exposing Planned Parenthood and Sex Trafficking"
- "Abortion: Ending the Holocaust and Defunding Planned Parenthood"
- "Hooking Up, Homosexuality, Pornography, Abortion, Sex Trafficking, and Cultural Engagement"
- Screenings of the film Maafa 21
Anti-abortion advocate Lila Rose, founder of LiveAction, spoke at Awakening 2011. According to the American Independent, Rose urged students to join the anti-abortion movement, which she called "the winning side" and "the side of life." The article also states that Rose accused Planned Parenthood of allegedly skirting mandatory reporting laws. When asked why LiveAction uses manufactured video evidence on its website, Rose asked if they should use real victims of abuse.
The American Independent also reported on a speech given by Janet Porter, founder and president of Faith2Action. Porter discussed Ohio Sub. H.B. 125, which would prohibit abortion of a fetus with a detectable heartbeat. Porter also claimed that Mike Huckabee supports the "heartbeat bill," according to this video excerpt of her talk. At the 0:42 mark of another video excerpt, Porter lambasted Roe v. Wade as allegedly unconstitutional, chiding anti-abortion advocates for worrying about the constitutionality of proposed anti-abortion legislation. (Click here if you're having trouble viewing the video.)
"You know, it's interesting that those who are walking around saying, 'well it might be unconstitutional, and we better not do anything that's unconstitutional,' what they need to remember is it's Roe v. Wade that's unconstitutional. That's what's in violation of the Constitution. [Audience applauds.] What would they have said to slavery? They'd say, 'well, the Dred Scott decision, we'd better not challenge it because, you know, it might be unconstitutional. Those abolitionists, they're going too far because it's too early to end slavery.' It's absurd, the time is now. We're going to see the killing stop."In a workshop entitled "Abortion: Ending the Holocaust and Defunding Planned Parenthood," attendees heard a talk by Rev. Johnny Hunter, national director of the Life Education and Resource Network (LEARN, Inc.). According to an article by the Florida Independent, Hunter claimed that " abortion is all about African-Americans," arguing that abortion providers allegedly target African-Americans and that white abortions are "collateral damage." He urged listeners to boycott Planned Parenthood and, like Porter, spoke of Roe v. Wade and the Dred Scott decision.
Other speakers at Awakening 2011 raised concern among progressives over church-state separation issues. For example, former Texas Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar, author of One Nation Under God: How the Left Is Trying to Erase What Made Us Great, gave a talk on faith and education. In an excerpt from the conference captured by Right Wing Watch, Dunbar discusses the role of "nature's God" in Texas educational standards. (Click here if you're having trouble viewing the video.)
"We have a Biblically illiterate society ... They're church-goers only. I call them CHINOs -- Christians in Name Only -- and that's what we have within our society. So then our laws reflect what our underlying worldview is. That's why we were framed as a nation on the laws of nature and nature's God. One of the things I required in the TEKS, in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, in the education requirement was that they had to learn certain things from our Declaration of Independence ... So for the next ten years, the students have to learn the Declaration of Independence, self-evident truths, inalienable rights, and the laws of nature and nature's God. So what are the laws of nature and nature's God? Why did Jefferson pick that term as opposed to natural law, which was the Enlightenment, French Revolution standard? The laws of nature is the will of our maker, and because of the fallen state of man, we have to have the laws of nature's God revealed through the holy scripture."For additional news and commentary on Awakening 2011, visit the following links.
American Independent: At faith-based conference, Gingrich urges GOP to limit compromise in the ‘moral battle’ for the budget
American Independent: Senate candidates speak at faith-based conference, but Liberty U. says it’s not endorsing them
God Discussion: Bachmann Narrowly Wins Awakening 2011 Presidential Straw Poll