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HOPE FOR AMERICA? Family Leadership Summit Stirs Base

On Saturday my wife and I attended the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa. Led by former Iowa gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Platts, The Family Leader is an organization that “exists to strengthen families“. It is a Christian organization which champions the principle that “God is the ultimate leader of the family”.

Vander Platts insists that the annual summit is not intended to support any political party (some Democrat speakers were invited but none attended; when they wrote God out of their platform, I think they were serious), but rather to bring “conservatives together for education, motivation and inspiration.” The subtitle for the event was, “Leading with principle over politics.” Speakers included Joel Rosenberg, the Benham Brothers, Pastor Rafael Cruz, Senator Rick Santorum, former Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, Senator Tim Scott, Dr. Alveda King, Tony Perkins (Family Research Council), Governor Rick Perry, Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Bobby Jindal and Governor Mike Huckabee. It was quite a lineup of potential GOP 2016 hopefuls.

Notably absent was Rand Paul who reportedly had other family business. He sent a cardboard cutout for his booth as well as a short video cataloging his outspoken pro-life stand. The video made no mention of his position on sodomy marriage, which is to leave it to the states (even though the courts have repeatedly overruled the will of the people and made it a federal issue).

For us, the day started with a pastor’s breakfast where we heard from Pastor Cruz, father of Senator Ted Cruz. Pastor Cruz fled communist oppression in Cuba. He spoke forcefully about the importance of the church, led by pastors, being engaged in the political arena and not being intimidated into silence, but instead standing for biblical truth. He reminded us that the family is God’s foundation for society. He spoke about evaluating the character of candidates and said that we should not vote for candidates that lie. I thought about Governor Terry Branstad, one of the speakers, who promised four years ago that he would de-fund Planned Parenthood. He lied.

Moving on to the day’s scheduled speakers, I was first inspired by our host, Bob Vander Platts and I thought, “I wish he was Governor.” Full disclosure: I was a Vander Platts supporter in 2010. I was a delegate to the state convention. It was messy. The establishment RINOs don’t play nice.

We heard from bestselling author Joel Rosenberg about the need to support Israel in its efforts to defend itself from terrorists. Then we heard from the Benham brothers. These young successful Christian entrepreneurs had a prospective reality TV show canceled by HGTV because of Twitter comments that they made about their support for traditional marriage (unrelated to the show). They spoke about the importance of not abandoning one’s faith and beliefs when confronted by persecution. The increasing religious intolerance and loss of religious liberty in America was a prevalent theme of the summit. Tony Perkins pointed out that religious liberty, the first amendment, is foundational to our other freedoms.

Rick Santorum appealed to us to expand the Republican base with his familiar populist message about reaching out to the middle and lower class with a plan to expand manufacturing jobs. The message rang true, but Santorum seemed to lack the enthusiasm he showed in the last campaign. Full disclosure: I was a Santorum supporter.

M. L. King’s niece, Dr. Alveda King gave a strong pro-life message about the need for American repentance and revival. She ended by leading the assembly in a standing prayer, arms raised to God. It was almost like church. The assembled media went nuts with their cameras, “There’s the picture!”

Governor Perry spoke about the border crisis. His speech seemed a tad bit deliberate, but he brought the crowd to its feet when he thundered that if the federal government refused to secure the border, Texas would! At this point, he and Ted Cruz remain my favorites for 2016. I think his executive experience would make him best qualified, but if he expects to win the nomination, he needs to sharpen his campaign speech.

Ted Cruz was definitely the most inspiring speaker. He paced the stage like his preacher dad and brought the crowd to its feet in thunderous applause in true stem-winder fashion espousing the abolition of Obama Care and the IRS. The crowd loved it. I think the nomination would be his if this were a true representative sample of the GOP electorate, but it’s probably not. Therein lays the problem. He talked about his leadership role in getting the House of Representatives to pass a border measure last week that would limit Obama’s ability to grant amnesty. He led the House Republicans in rebellion against Speaker Boehner and the RINOs who attempted to pass a bill giving Obama a blank check. Make no mistake, Boehner may have the title, but Ted Cruz is the real leader of the House. You can bet that the establishment has their sights set on Cruz.

Unfortunately, most of the people attending this event were old white people. I think there were more black speakers than black attendees. I did see a black security guard listening to the speeches and wondered what his thoughts were.

There were few people under 40. I suspect that is a reflection of the cultural changes that this land has experienced.

Conservative Christians are not only being persecuted, they are disappearing (Wait! Did I miss the rapture?).

We had a lunch time discussion with one young fellow. He was home schooled. I fear that thirty years of government school indoctrination may have insured a permanent Democrat liberal majority. It was interesting that several speakers raised the topic of repealing Common Core or advancing a school choice agenda and it was received enthusiastically each time. I hope it’s not too late.

Santorum is right. We need to expand the base by reaching out to middle and lower class folks. We don’t need to compromise on conservative principles of life and family. The radical sodomites and baby killers are a small minority. Don’t let the media scare you into believing otherwise. As Rush Limbaugh continually advocates, we need to educate voters that conservative principles offer the only chance for prosperity. How do we do that? The Family Leader and similar organizations need to take the message to the ghetto.

I suspect that 2016 will be the dirtiest campaign yet. As I’ve previously stated here, I think that Elizabeth Warren will be the Democrat nominee. She will engage in the worst class warfare ever seen in this country. Conservatives need to engage in massive efforts to inform the welfare classes that they are being used and that the liberal progressives, just like their Bolshevik predecessors, will never deliver them from dependency.

Allen West (he should have been at the FLS) wrote here about the true motives of the Democrats as revealed by LBJ as he confided, “I’ll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.” Does the GOP have the guts to publicize this all over America? I doubt it. But someone needs to tell them.

The Republican brand may be beyond repair. If they nominate another old, rich, white guy, he’ll be a perfect target for Warren’s demonic assault. It might be time for true conservatives like Santorum, Cruz and Perry to find another home.

It will take a miracle to turn this country around. The most important thing we can do is to pray for revival. Conservative principles will not be advanced without a revival of Christian conscience. That is why the most important initiative of the Family Leader, If7:14, is the most valuable lesson of the summit.



Rick David

Rick David retired from a career in business in 2011. His experience includes service in the USAF, in medical sales and in operations for an educational testing company. He has a passion for and has been actively engaged in conservative issue advocacy and campaigning for over 30 years. He currently resides in North Liberty, Iowa where he also served as a church pastor with his wife of 43 years and travels extensively volunteering in lay ministry.