Religious Conservatives Gather to Discuss 'War Against Christians'
Sunday, April 2, 2006
By: Jake Tapper - ABC News
Evangelical Leaders Worry They Are Losing the Culture War
March 28, 2006 — - At the Bethlehem, Ga., First Baptist Church on Christmas Avenue, Pastor Jody Hice told his congregation Sunday that the battle lines are being drawn.
"We find ourselves, without question, in the midst of a cultural war," he said. "It's a war on Christians."
His congregants were ready to sign up. "The Bible-believing Christian conservatives are banding together," said Bryant Dunsha, one of the faithful attending the service.
To fight back against the perceived anti-Christian agenda, Hice today attended a two-day conference called "The War on Christians," sponsored by the conservative evangelical group Vision America.
It featured prominent conservative Christian leaders discussing how they believe they are losing the culture wars on issues such as abortion, gay marriage, liberal judges and the latest from Hollywood, like the movie "V for Vendetta."
"The message of 'V for Vendetta' is that Christians are plotting to seize the reins of power," said Don Feder of Vision America.
They also called the enormously popular Web site MySpace.com poison for its millions of young users. "It's a pornography hole," said Rebecca Hagelin, of the Heritage Foundation.
But Rev. Jim Wallis, a self-described progressive evangelical, said these activists are not focused on what Jesus would care about.
"Fighting poverty is a moral value, too," Wallis said, "and I don't see poor people anyplace on their agenda."
Some Attendees Feel 'Used' by the GOP
Political observers say so-called values voters were key to President Bush's re-election victory. But at the convention, many of those same voters, their pastors and their leaders said they felt duped by Bush and the Republican Party.
"In the latest election, values voters were used," Rick Scarborough told the convention audience.
Critics such as Scarborough say Republicans paid lip service to and then ignored their issues, such as the proposed constitutional amendment against gay marriage.
"If our president would speak more directly to that issue even when he was not running for election, we would get a lot more traction in the Senate and the House," he said.
Embattled Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, was received warmly by those at the conference. But even he seemed to distance himself from the Republican establishment. He praised the religious beliefs of Presidents Reagan and Roosevelt but did not even mention Bush, nor did he make a pitch for the Republican Party.
"In America, the greatest leaders aren't the ones in the houses of Congress but in houses of God," DeLay said.
The biggest threat for the Republican Party is not that these distressed "values" voters will vote for Democrats but that come this November's mid-term elections, they won't vote at all.