The Values Voter Summit ended Saturday night with the “Family, Faith & Freedom Gala.” Newt “Family Values” Gingrich gave the keynote address focusing on three large challenges facing America.
One, of course, is the external threat, which he described as an emerging coalition of Islamic fascism and assorted dictators. Another, he said, is the challenge posed by courts and secularists who reject the reality that “God defines America” and “America is defined by its relationship to God.”
Gingrich said the 9th Circuit ruling against “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, and what he saw as signals that a Supreme Court majority agreed, could be comparable in its impact to the ruling in Dred Scott, the 1857 case in which the Supreme Court ruled that blacks were not and could not be citizens. Gingrich denounced the idea that the judiciary has the final word, and demanded that the legislative and executive branches assert their authority and prevent Supreme Court justices from “rewriting the Constitution.”
Gingrich was a rare speaker to address poverty, saying that it is a great challenge that “there are people in America so totally outside the system” that they have “no realistic chance” to pursue happiness. Gingrich cited dropout, unemployment, and incarceration rates for young black men. But he seemed to ultimately pin the blame on public schools. FRC head and seeming Dobson heir-apparent Tony Perkins gave the closing address. Seemingly annoyed by criticism from more progressive Christian leaders earlier in the week, he started by mocking liberals who make “faith speeches.” “They talk about their faith, but they don’t let it get in the way of their public policy.”
He seemed especially rankled by the “Red Letter Christians,” a group that held a press conference earlier in the week to call for a greater religious focus on poverty. He said the only way to address poverty is to strengthen the family. Perkins recounted the Bible story of a disciple who questioned whether an expensive perfume should have been sold to aid the poor rather than poured on Jesus, and Jesus’ response that “the poor you have with you always.” Referring to the “Red Letter Christians,” Perkins sneeringly noted that it was Judas who had asked that question.
Perkins also covered the now more-than-familiar territory of “radical homosexuals” who present “a clear and present danger” to religious liberty in America. Perkins wrapped up saying that “our enemies are not people….We fight against the rulers of darkness.” He urged people to pray, prepare, and participate in the “great battle of our day.”
Embattled Florida Senate candidate Katherine Harris appeared on the program between Gingrich and Perkins, offering her own faith testimony and telling people to remember that she had won two previous campaigns after being down by 30 percents. She said God would get the credit for her victory in the race. “God gave us authority and dominion over this land…God is our king, our judge our lawmaker….we have a right to claim our historic heritage.”