The 15th annual Values Voter Summit kicked off last night during a time of great uncertainty and fear in our nation. But as guest after guest emphasized during the broadcast, what is more than certain is just how consequential the November election will be for the soul of our nation.
Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) led off the evening by discussing the gravity of the Supreme Court vacancy. "This is a moment where we will be able to shape the future of this court for decades to come." Hawley made it clear that the time for conservative establishment guess work as to how a SCOTUS nominee will rule on abortion is over. "I want to see some actual public evidence" that the nominee is pro-life. "It's time we did some verification," Hawley said. Later in the program, Dave Hoppe, former Chief of Staff for House Speaker Paul Ryan, laid out the stakes of the Supreme Court nominee: "Abortion and religious freedom are two of the most important issues that this nomination will be all about."
New York Times bestselling author Eric Metaxas discussed the not-so subtle Marxist roots of the current radical left movement in America that includes BLM, Antifa, and other groups. "This is a real existential crisis in America. This is not just another election." He issued a challenge to believers: "This is a biblical charge to the church, that we have an obligation to stand against the wickedness of Marxism, which is atheistic and which has never helped people on any level ... and to vote for those candidates who believe in capitalism, in law and order, in the very things that, though flawed, have been what we have used to lift people out of poverty, to lift people into freedom and into flourishing. It's a duty the church has. It's not easy, but we really have to face this."
Allie Stuckey, author and host of the Relatable podcast, discussed the importance of culture and raising up the next generation of believers. "Politics are downstream from culture, and culture is downstream from theology," she said. "What we think about God shapes what we think about everything." She challenged pastors and parents to not water down the truths of the Christian faith as they teach children: "Our primary order of business is not to change [young people's] politics but to shape their worldview by igniting their faith," she said. "If you want to change the country, influence what people think about God. That starts with you. Make sure you know your Bible. Make sure that your kids know their Bible."
Walker Wildmon of the American Family Association elaborated further on what is important to the next generation: "Young Christians want to see [Roe v. Wade] overturned because that's one of the ways that we're going to see more babies' lives saved." But as he acknowledged, overturning Roe is an incremental step in the right direction, and believers have to stay patient: "Christians need to do a better job of fighting the long game ... we need to do a better job of setting long-term goals and not expect victories overnight."
Part of that long game is showing up at the voting booth for every election. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who is running against none other than abortion extremist Wendy Davis, said, "If you want to see a distinction, Kamala Harris is right there with Wendy Davis in terms of third trimester abortion. We know where they fall on religious liberty. We know where they fall on the issue of the court and who they want to put on the court. We are at a place right now where we can grab that mantle back for our kids and grandkids, and so that's why so much is at stake this November."
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) reminded viewers of what President Trump has accomplished: "Promises made, promises kept. That's not just a slogan, that is the reality with this president ... We have had the most pro-life president we have ever had."
President of American Values Gary Bauer led off the religious freedom portion of the evening, revealing the disturbing trend of how China is attempting to export their hostility to religion on other countries, including by blackmailing them to pull out of the U.S.'s 2019 ministerial on religious freedom. His outlook was sobering: "In my view, [communist China] is an existential threat to the United States, and it won't be resolved in a day, week, or year. This is a 50-year struggle."
Pastor Andrew Brunson, who spent two years in a Turkish prison for spreading the faith there, warned that hostility to religion will only increase in America: "As a church, we are to prepare and learn how to stand in these difficult times of pressure because greater pressures are coming." How do we prepare? Brunson made it clear: "If we focus on loving God, then we are more willing to suffer for the one that we love." He also shared a beautiful prayer that all Christians should start their day with: "Jesus, I want to live today in such a way that when I stand before you, I will not be ashamed."
Near the end of the broadcast, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo illustrated a clear picture of the importance of religious freedom: "Absent religious freedom, the lives of people around the world are very difficult. Authoritarianism almost always follows the oppression of religion. Pushing religion out of the public square drives oppression, drives authoritarian regimes, and really gets at human dignity." He went on to emphasize that despite the struggles we currently find ourselves in, our country's fighting spirit remains: "There's a group of people who believe America is in decline. I don't believe that for a single minute. This is a nation that is strong and resilient."
Be sure to watch the full program of episode one of the Values Voter Summit. And stay tuned tonight at 8 p.m. ET for episode two of VVS, which will feature Dr. Bill Bennett, Abby Johnson, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), House Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), Dana Loesch, Dr. Albert Mohler, and much more.