Values Voter Summit: Whose Values?

Values Voter Summit logoFamily Research Council President Tony Perkins, whose “Values Voter Summit” this weekend will feature religious-right all-stars alongside major Republican politicians, insisted that abortion and gay marriage are the issues that motivate the bloc he has labeled “values voters.” Referring to Jim Wallis’s “Red Letter Christians,” a group that seeks to expand the language of “values” in politics beyond those two issues, he wrote on Wednesday:

Yesterday, leaders of the religious left hosted a press conference to counter FRC Action’s Values Voters Summit this weekend. They called for a “different moral agenda” without an emphasis on abortion and the defense of marriage. I won’t apologize for speaking out on these great moral concerns of our day. These liberal leaders fail to speak to the millions of values voters who were central to the 2004 election and who identify abortion and marriage as key issues driving them to the polls.

However, a newly-released survey from the Center for American Values in Public Life (a project of People For the American Way Foundation) found that abortion and gay marriage were among the least important “values” issues motivating voters.

When given a list of concrete choices and asked which would be the most important to deciding their vote in the upcoming congressional elections, the public ranked abortion and gay marriage last out of eight choices – getting only give percent of the total. Even among evangelical Christians, only 10 percent say abortion and gay marriage will be the most important factor in determining their vote.

In the coming days, Right Wing Watch will feature coverage of the Values Voter Summit and the kind of values the far Right wants to see enacted in public policy.