The 2011 Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Fall Banquet took place on October 22nd at the Knapp Animal Learning Center in Des Moines, Iowa. In attendance were several GOP presidential contenders, including Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rep. Ron Paul, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Sen. Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain. Neither former Gov. Mitt Romney nor former Gov. Jon Huntsman attended the event. C-SPAN posted coverage of the conference online, and I've selected some quotes to share. Speakers' responses featured the usual anti-abortion, anti-gay, and anti-environmental regulation, as well as laments for the alleged removal of religion and morality from the public sphere.
First, Faith & Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed Jr. appealed to the Christian faith of those in attendance. At the 31:38 mark, he emphasized that his audience placed its hope in a divine messiah rather than a human messiah, a jab at President Obama.
"The heartbeat of this movement--ultimately, we're not looking for a human messiah to save our country. We're not looking for somebody like the other side was looking for four years ago. We understand that there's only one messiah whose ever walked on the face of this earth. There's only been one perfect man, and he walked in the villages of Judea and Samaria, and he rose from the dead, and he sits at the right hand of God the father, and that's where we put our hope, in the name and the person of Jesus Christ."At the 33:31 mark, Reed drew attention to his anti-gay and anti-abortion stance.
"We know that sometimes we bring forward issues that others might prefer not to talk about, but we are compelled to do so. Like the fact that every human being is made in the image of almighty God, and that every single life is sacred from conception to natural death and is worthy of our love and our protection. On that we cannot and will not retreat. And, as three members of the Iowa State Supreme Court found out the hard way, we believe that marriage should be defined as a sacred union between a man and a woman as the essential building block of our society."Likewise, Herman Cain took an anti-abortion, anti-gay stance when asked about abortion and marriage. At the 1:12:00 mark, he had this to say.
"I believe that we need a constitutional guarantee for traditional marriage between a man and a woman. In terms of preventing abortion on demand, I would not sign any legislation that where government-funded abortion. I would not sign any legislation that in any way allowed the government to be involved in it. I would strengthen all of our current laws that prevent abortion. I believe that abortion should be clearly stated as illegal across this country, and I would work to defund Planned Parenthood, and I would make sure that I appoint judges that will enforce the Constitution. No activist judges."Cain also placed great emphasis on energy issues, insisting that the U.S. must establish energy independence with its coal, petroleum, and natural gas resources. He also argued that American energy independence is a national security issue, as the U.S. should not depend on unfriendly countries for its oil. At the 1:10:19 mark, he criticized the EPA (again) for allegedly obstructing energy policies.
"The first barrier that some people like to say that we will have in doing that is that the EPA won't let us do that. Well, as president of the United States, I will make sure that the EPA has an attitude adjustment. They work for us."Afterwards, he angrily asserted that people should be able to choose what light bulb they use, adding, "Green energy is a joke!"
Similarly, Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) wanted to "reduce" and "refocus" the EPA. At the 1:50:07 mark, he vowed to trim energy regulations because of their alleged job-killing effect, so as to "level the playing field" for energy industries. His proposed energy policies would:
"...pulling back those regulations that are killing jobs and stopping our ability to use the 300 years of energy that we have in this country, reduce and refocus if you will that EPA that has been talked about broadly here tonight, level the plating field for all of the energy industry."Perry condemned President Obama's "regulatory schemes" and the "knee jerk reaction" to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, which have allegedly killed jobs.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) shared anecdotes of her youth and her Christian conversion experience, which she would share again during her October 23rd talk at Calvary Bible Church. At the 1:26:30 mark, Bachmann waxed poetic about religion and virtue, lamenting that they supposedly cease to have a place in the public life.
"Our nation will rise and out nation will fall in the way that we uphold the values that America has stood for. It was George Washington and our founders who told us in the Northwest Ordinance that we stand on religion and morality and and virtue. In our nation since the early 1960s in Supreme Court decisions has knocked this off one by one. Religion, throwing the Bible and prayer out of the public school classroom, and now out of the marketplace of ideas. Throwing morality out of mainstream public life and mocking virtue. Our nation was formed on religion and morality and virtue. We believe in religious liberty, and once again as a nation we must stand and we must stand tall."
To learn more about the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, visit ffciowa[dot]com. For additional news and commentary, visit the following links.
American Independent: At Faith and Freedom Coalition, GOP candidates go after EPA
Iowa Independent: GOP Hopefuls Fight for Social Conservative Support in Iowa
Bloomberg: Perry's Best Chance to Become Romney Alternative Rests with Iowa