Two people you didn’t realize are still running for president and one you couldn’t forget if you tried to are attending the “National Religious Liberties Conference” (Freedom 2015), a two-day conservative fest that started Friday.
Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, and Ted Cruz are each making appearances at the Des Moines-based conference which aims to bring together “persecuted” Christians and people who support Christian rights.
“Persecution against Christians is on the rise in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, China, Oregon, and Kentucky,” it says in all seriousness on the front page of the conference’s website.
This event is organized by conservative radio host Kevin Swanson, whose greatest hits include advocating for the execution of gay people and support for Uganda’s draconian anti-homosexual laws, (a country where homosexuals experience “corrective rape”). He also thinks God is going to wipe out America over homosexuality and that America’s welfare system goes hand-in-hand with prostituting women.
Another two speakers appearing at the conference have also called for gay people to be executed. Reverend Phillip Kayser has said he would approve of executing gay people, though he thinks it’s unlikely to happen in America. Joel McDurmon, president of the Christian organization American Vision, has written “the homosexual act as a civil crime deserves the death penalty.”
Bob Vander Plaats, the president of the conservative organization The Family Leader, will also be in attendance. He has compared supporting gay marriage to supporting slavery.
Ted Cruz’s dad, Pastor Rafael Cruz, is also there. Pastor Cruz thinks Hillary Clinton and President Obama are communists who hate religion and want to ban it. The apple doesn’t fall far.
The Benham Bros are appearing—they're two guys who lost their house-flipping show on HGTV after people found out they believed “demonic forces” are pushing the homosexual agenda. It’s going to be quite a crowd!
(Ted Cruz already ducked a question from CNN’s Jake Tapper on Friday morning asking why he’s attending a conference organized by Swanson. “I don’t know what this gentleman has said and what he hasn’t said,” Cruz responded.)
Swanson and his gay bashing friends organized the conference ahead of the 2016 elections as a call to arms against recent policy and cultural changes that go against their religious beliefs, according to its website.
Certain American Christians across the country are concerned with how quickly the country is changing, and politicians have to cater to that fear to get votes. Though Christianity is still by far the biggest and most powerful religion in the United States, the group of Americans who have lost religion is growing.
Worried Christians see things like gay marriage and people like Kim Davis sitting in prison cells and start to pull out their checkbooks for any candidate who can stop what they see as growing culture of sin and amorality.
It all comes back to homosexuality with this group. (The idea that the Supreme Court would let gay couples get married just like straight couples is in itself seen as the persecution of Christianity.)
Enter the special guests—but at this event they are known as “Targeted Men & Women of Faith.”
One of the “targeted” Christians is Fox News darling Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk, who believes he was fired by a lesbian for opposing gay marriage. The problem with that is he was not fired. He actually was reassigned, because he disobeyed an order to punish a staff sergeant who was pushing his anti-homosexual beliefs on other soldiers. Anyone who knows how the chain of command works in the military knows you get in trouble for disobeying orders.
A couple who refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in Oregon are also among the “targets.” Their bakery was eventually shut down after a judge ordered them to pay a large fine for violating Oregon’s anti-discrimination laws.
Judging by the statements pouring out of the conference on Friday, the keynote speakers wasted no time going full tilt crazy to the friendly crowd.
Huckabee said he plans to reject abortion rights and gay marriage if he becomes president (he won’t), essentially referring to the Supreme Court as a group of unelected lawyers. Jindal has said no court can change the definition of marriage and Swanson has already called liberals “tyrants.”
As we saw with the infamous Kim Davis, most of the “persecuted” people at this conference are shouting about their religious liberties because they got in trouble for refusing to do their jobs for religious reasons. The state is not forcing them to get more gay friends or perform abortions, it is simply asking them to do what they signed up for when they started their particular lines of work. As Huckabee has said, gay marriage leads to the “criminalization of Christianity.” You can be sure he’ll be talking about Planned Parenthood while he’s there too.
For these ailing soldiers, it’s just one more battle against a godless bureaucracy in the hopes of one day restoring the America of the Founding Fathers… whether or not that America actually existed in the first place.
“America is no longer the Christian bulwark it once was,” their website decries. “Will you join the historic battle for liberty?”