The Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference continues Friday in Washington, DC with speeches by former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and radio talk show host Glenn Beck.
Speakers discuss the 2012 presidential election and the Affordable Care Act, which requires some religious institutions to provide health care coverage for birth control.
The Faith and Freedom Coalition is a "grassroots organization of hardworking Americans who love our country and want to preserve this great nation to the next generation."
The theme of the conference is "America at a Crossroads" and is billed by organizers as "an important training and equipping weekend" for state chapters, members and supporters preparing for the 2012 elections.
The morning's first speakers, including National Review editor Jonah Goldberg, commentator/author S.E. Cupp, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), spoke on freedom of religion, stating their belief that President Obama and the media are waging a war of sorts on Christianity and religion. This was followed by a panel discussion with Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and Jim Martin of the 60 Plus Association on the health care law. Rep. Price noted that the House already voted to repeal the new health care law and talked about a number of ways all Americans can get health insurance without involving Washington.
Sen. McConnell (R-KY) spoke about President Obama’s “attack” on the First Amendment. He talked about the recent Citizens United case before the Supreme Court and accused President Obama of targeting the political speech of his opponents. This was followed by a panel titled "Campaign 2012: The National Political Landscape" focused on the current political cycle. Scott Rasmussen talked about recent polls that have Mitt Romney in the lead. The panel also discussed the challenges with polling because people under 35 no longer use land lines and how the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the health care law could affect the presidential election.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus criticized President Obama, saying that "This president’s priorities are not America’s priorities." He called Obama a committed leftist that bows to foreign leaders rather than stand up for America, and noted that the Republican Party is not in conflict with the Tea Party. Priebus was followed by a panel on religious freedom, focused on the recent HHS mandate to have employers provide contraception coverage to their employees. Panelists called it an all out assault on the American religious community.
Former Speaker of the House and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich (R-GA) talked about the Wisconsin election and the media’s portrayal of it. He criticized President Obama, saying he’s for a smaller private sector and a bigger government sector, paying for it with our children. Gingrich said that Obama's campaign last election was based on “yes we can” and now it’s “why we couldn’t.” He talked about the importance of Senate races and the need to retain control of the House. Gingrich asks the audience if they can afford four more years of the worst economy ever. He completed his remarks by saying that there’s a simple phrase that governs, “we can do better,” and that America is a model worth fighting for.
The final speaker, radio talk show host Glenn Beck, talked about everything from the future of America to divine providence and the leadership of Thomas Paine. He had a number of books that served as examples of the relationship to God. Beck warned people that being against big government is not enough, they must also be for something, like charity.