A word of warning to those who live in Florida: your state is going to be over-run by right-wingers this September.
On September 20-22, a who’s who of the Right will be in Tampa for the Family Impact Summit. Featuring the likes of Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer, Don Wildmon, Richard Land, Katherine Harris, and Bob Knight, the conference will offer a wide array of panels on everything from the “Homosexual Agenda,” “Homosexuality & Youth,” and “Homosexuality & Ministry” to workshops on “New and relevant research on homosexuality.”
In between the gay-bashing, there will also be panels on “Christian Citizenship” and “Community Decency,” as well as keynote addresses from Bauer, Perkins, Ken Blackwell, and Harry Jackson.
What you won’t find at this summit, as of yet, is GOP presidential candidates – even though most of them are reportedly scheduled to be attending the “Values Voter Debate” in Fort Lauderdale on September 17, which is being hosted by a separate, but not mutually exclusive, group of influential right-wing leaders.
The debate is being sponsored by the people who brought us the “Values Voters’ Contract With Congress,” which was itself launched at Vision America’s “War on Christian and Values Voters Conference” in 2006 and supported by right-wing stalwarts such as Phyllis Schlafly, Alan Keyes, Lou Sheldon, Janet Folger, D. James Kennedy, Rod Parsley, and others.
The contract called on Congress to pass an array of specific legislation – such as the Constitution Restoration Act and the Pledge Protection Act – as well as general legislation that would “ensure that speech and lawful religious expression are never punished as a ‘hate crime’” and protect Americans against “judges who legislate from the bench subvert [and] our republican form of government” in order to, among other things:
AFFIRM the national relationship with God in our places of worship, schools, mottos, and public spaces
SECURE our national interest in the institutions of marriage and family
SECURE our fundamental right as parents to the care, custody, and control of our children
SECURE our God-bestowed right to life
SECURE an environment of decency that is free from pornography and obscenity
Seven of nine Republican hopefuls have reportedly accepted an invitation to “Values Voter Debate,” though it the organizers have not disclosed who is and is not attending. They certainly have high hopes for their event, noting that low voter turnout in the primary election means that “if just a fraction of the values voters come out to vote in the primaries…WE will pick the candidate who will win the nomination.”
And picking the GOP candidate is especially important because what they really have their eye on the Supreme Court and “it is now ‘fourth and goal.’ One more judge. One more president. One more chance. The question is, will you take it?”