Values Voter Summit 2019: Be Faithful and Fearless No Matter the Cost
By FRC Staff
"We are not going to wave the white flag and surrender" was a commitment woven through the morning session of the 2019 Values Voter Summit today in Washington, D.C. Speakers and conservative luminaries addressed the challenges facing those who are working to apply timeless truth to daily events, especially as activists target people of faith.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins noted that the struggle has moved passed simple political disagreements. "This is no longer a skirmish between conservatives and liberals. This is an epic battle between ideologies ... No matter how much they threaten to take away our tax exemption for believing the Bible ... we're not going to surrender. We will not be deterred in our mission to pray, stand and vote."
Echoing that sentiment was Rep. Mark Meadows (R), a fourth term congressman from North Carolina and chairman of the Freedom Caucus. "Our nation will be healed with committed believers and people on their knees before their Heavenly Father praying for our land, each and every day. If you will pray, He will be faithful," he said.
Meadows joked that politicians need to be inoculated from "Potomac fever," that "infects" elected officials, making them forget the needs and values of those who elected them.
"Members of Congress ... get elected; they raise their right hand; they say they're going to defend the Constitution; they're going to support your values. They come across the Potomac River and they lose their mind," Meadows said to laughter. "You know, they have the backbone of a banana. When you peel it back, it gets real mushy. It is time that we elect people that have a backbone of steel and are willing to stand up for the values that our God holds dear."
Chief among those issues at play this year is respect for life and the tragedy of abortion.
Perkins noted FRC and FRC Action efforts to force a vote on the Born Alive Infant's Survivor Act, which has been blocked by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Standing in front of a baby crib full of thousands of baby hats, Perkins said that 90,000 hats would be sent to Capitol Hill as part of an End Birthday Abortion Campaign, as FRC and others work to send a message to Speaker Pelosi that Americans care about those who are most vunerable. It takes 218 members of the House to sign on to a discharge petition, which now has only 203 signatures. A vote on protecting infants born during abortions can't take place until enough legislators take a stand. But some pro-life legislation is getting passed. With the help of FRC and others, 58 new, pro-life laws have passed at the state level in this legislative session.
Such victories are only possible because of the growing number of pro-life elected officials making a difference. Three heroines of the pro-life movement at the state level discussed the struggles of fighting for the least of these. Jessica de la Cruz, State Senator, (R-R.I.), Katrina Jackson, State Representative, (D-La.), and Pat McElraft, State Representative, (R-N.C.), struggled in very different political environments, but shared a common commitment to putting God's perspective over political correctness.
"God hates the shedding of innocent blood," said Jackson. "If you were born after Roe vs. Wade, when you fight for life you fight for yourself as well because someone had to choose you."
Cruz agreed and noted that abortion "the great injustice of our time" infects other issues as well.
The elderly and ill are also at risk, she noted, adding, "Who decide who lives and who dies ... I just don't know where it will stop."
The legislators spoke of overcoming obstacles to get laws passed or to block disastrous approaches, moved by what they have seen from a predatory abortion industry.
Though a Christian and raised in a Christian home, McElraft came to her pro-life convictions after seeing buckets of aborted infants in the facility where she was working on her degree in medical lab technology. She also heard about infants surviving the abortion procedure whose lives were ended by the abortionist.
And that continues today, she said, not just 40 years ago, noting abortionists are abandoning babies that survive an abortion. "They are putting them in closets. They are throwing them on a table ... They are having their last breaths without anyone caring for them."
Quiet heroes in everyday life were on display in a panel whose religious liberties were in jeopardy when their support for marriage between a man and a woman came to light.
Joanna Duka, co-owner, Brush & Nib Studio, came to prominence when she and her business partner did not want to create edible art for a gay wedding. And while it has been a struggle to fight for her freedoms, Duka said that the capacity to stand for faith was one of the privileges of living in our nation.
"The great blessing of living in the United States of America, and a having a system in which we can stand for our rights ... it is better when everyone is free and consistent for what we believe," she said.
Those kinds of rights are not universal.
Mark Green, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, discussed tragedies around the world for people of faith, which deserve our attention.
"Protecting each other's right to worship is really protecting each other's humanity," Green said.
His sentiment was echoed by former Deputy Assistant to President Trump and radio talk show host Sebastian Gorka, who brought the morning events to a rousing conclusion as he laid out the stakes for our democracy.
Gorka described learning at eight of his father's torture and imprisonment at the hands of fascists and then communists in Hungary and how his father and mother crawled, literally through a mine field, to escape to freedom.
"From that moment I knew that evil is real, that it exists in the hearts of men and it walks on the earth," he said. And yet, in today's society, politicians play at creating a socialist government and destroying all of democracy's freedoms.
"This ideology has caused the deaths of an estimated 100,000 million souls in the last century," he said, and for those who wish "to realize it here, and we cannot let them."
With all that is at stake, Americans must understand that we are always one generation from the loss of our liberty. "What are you prepared to do for the next 389 days?" he asked, calling all within the sound of his voice to fight for the values that make America great.
No matter the issue, these morning speakers all agreed, that with God's help and our diligent efforts, America can continue to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. You can view these and other speeches as the conference goes on, at valuesvotersummit.org.