Football fans have the Super Bowl.
Brainiacs have Science Fairs.
Geeks and Nerds go to Comic-Con.
Techies love the Consumer Electronics Show.
And for Tea Party/GOP extremists, there’s the annual Values Voter Summit—a convention of Chicken Little imitators incessantly clucking about the sky crashing down around us.
Note: The organizer of the annual politico-religious summit is the Family Research Council, designated a Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). That should tell us from the outset the foundational “values” of this event.
As usual, there was a packed coop of well-known, right-wing politicians, pundits, preachers and Fox News commentators. Sprinkled in were a few “celebrities” such as Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty), Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight and former teen TV heartthrob-turned-minister, Kirk Cameron. (Was Scott Baio busy?) This year’s henhouse also included Rooster-in-Chief-Wannabe, Donald Trump.
The fowl-minded flock of prophets united in the nation’s capitol to predict America’s impending doom, caused by (among other things) allowing women the right to choose, eight years of (black) President Obama, and the calamitous possibility of a Clinton (female) Presidency. The brood of presenters brought a screeching cacophony of squawking about such atrocities as LGBT equality, Mexicans and Muslims, and the erosion of Second Amendment rights. The bevy of poultry passionately cajoled citizens to re-claim traditional American “values,” which I took to mean embracing their specific beliefs, supporting their vital cause, and voting for their designated candidates. (And I sure they hoped to raise money for their respective organizations in the process!)
Having monitored the speeches, not much surprised me; it was the same old bird crap. They are purporting to inform voters, but they exclude (and ridicule) anyone who's different, thus ignoring the foundational principles of our country. "We the people" gives way to "Us" and "Ours." They preach “values,” but I think they de-value what makes America strong!
Disclaimers: I’m not a political analyst; just a voter, albeit an informed one. I am a Democrat, and a Christian. I’m also gay, and contrary to what was assumed at the Summit, I have values. More importantly, I am a concerned citizen who's alarmed by the message of these leaders, some of them serving in elected government positions and ONE of them seeking the highest office in our country!
If you’re a fan of any of these folks (e.g., Donald Trump), then what I’ll say probably won't appeal to you. My perception is harsh and my assessment will be brutal. As the old sign reads: Enter at your own risk!
I’ve “consumed” as much as I could from the conference, without contracting the partisan equivalence of salmonella, and I've written Six Personal Observations. I acknowledge in advance my verbosity; there was three days of religious lunacy and political absurdity by some of the most fanatical speakers in the country; it was difficult to condense. (By the way, they are MY observations, which I present with an admitted, unapologetic bias.)
1. Absence of “Christian” Credibility.
They claim to be “Christian” and talk about “values,” but little about the content I heard would back up those assertions. In fact, much contradicted both designations. What I saw was the expected display of a narrow, restrictive Fundamentalism not reflective of the mainstream Christian faith, much less the majority of Americans.
First and foremost, the very fact this group embraced Donald Trump and his vision for our country removes any doubt in my mind: this is not about being “Christian!” Trump can wave his Bible and parrot the scripted message, but his words and his actions speak to the contrary. He has shown himself to be arrogant, dishonest and revengeful. From his campaigning, we learn the “values” he brings are sexism, pathological lying, misogyny, bigotry, petulance and xenophobia. The fact that so many at the Summit could doubt the faith of President Obama while affirming the faith of this man dumbfounds me. (With the operative word being dumb!)
As one who’s spent my life studying and teaching the Bible, I noted their speeches and presentations ignored the teachings of peace, justice and taking care of “the least of these.” I didn’t hear pleas for humility, love, compassion, empathy, mercy and justice…all of which the Bible presents as evidentiary traits of faith. Where was the inclusive Good Shepherd who came for the poor, the downcast, the burdened, the oppressed? They seem to know nothing of the God of Good News, who invited and included everyone—“red and yellow, black and white.”
In what universe would such attributes be considered “values,” much less “Christian?”
2. Their Targeted Audience.
I think those who are drawn to this kind of conference and these viewpoints are uninformed, predominately white voters, anxious about the changing demographics of their communities and longing for the “good ole’ days.” They will generally listen without scrutiny; they don’t...or won’t...question the racist subtext, ludicrous accusations, misogynistic overtones, overt militarism and out-of-context Bible-Thumping. Rather, they’ll grasp onto comfort words like “Christian heritage,” “traditional values,” “religious liberties,” and that ultimate goal of “making America great again.”
The weekend was rift with dire predictions, rampant speculations, outright fabrication, distorted statistics and rampant fear mongering. (How’s that for “values?”) If I had to assign a theme, it would be something akin to “Hillary and the Apocalypse.” Anyone who disagreed was fodder for their diatribes of disaster, painted with sweeping characterizations as godless, liberal, secular humanist or socialist. Definitely not Christian and certainly less than a true American patriot.
In Part Two, I'll conclude my Personal Observations.
I welcome your thoughts, insights and questions. I do not intend to argue, nor will I allow this to become a forum to promote GOP candidates or causes, but I'm open to civil discussions.