I was curious to know who constitutes the Family Research Council and what it stands for, so I spent several hours yesterday afternoon watching its presentations on C-SPAN. So far as I could tell from the camera surveys of the audience the membership — at least at the current conference in Washington — consists almost exclusively of white, middle aged, well fed Christians. According to an Orthodox Rabbi who addressed the group, there were about 3,000 Christians in attendance. They are being given the opportunity to cast straw poll votes for their preferred presidential candidate — presumably Republicans who are appearing to invite their votes. The latest reports suggest that they will not opt for a third party as rumored, out of fear of splitting the right wing evangelical vote.

When I say that the group is virtually all white folks, I did not see a single African American in the audience. Interestingly enough, however, almost half of those presenting or introducing people on stage were African Americans. Star Parker had converted from bad times after she had had four abortions (her stress) to head a coalition on urban reforms: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Parker

Rabbi David Lapin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Lapin
spoke of the Hebrew ties of founding father era Americans, former Pennsylvania Senator, Rick Santorum, regretted the Democratic takeover of the Congress, and Newt Gingrich concluded the session with numerous stats indicating overwhelming American support for such things as crosses. menorahs, and the ten commandments being posting on public properties, prayers being featured in public schools along with the teaching of religion there, etc. It is only a matter of time, he suggested, before the people will prevail over the intellectuals, pols, and judges.

One certainly learned from the assorted speeches what the group hates — the ACLU, “secular humanists,” “secular socialists,” Hillary, abortion supporters, gays, Muslims (or at least those who are not Judaeo-Christians), Hillary, Washington politicians, big government, welfare, taxes, academics, judges who defend abortion, etc. Rousing stand up cheers signified these hates as they were mentioned by this or that speaker — the moderator reassured the assembly on breaking for dinner that their many rousing stand ups would have produced a 1,200 calorie weight loss by his count so that they could go eat heartily.

I gather that the various Republican candidates for the presidency are scheduled to speak. The moderator corrected his earlier report that only one Democrat had declined to speak, but adding that several had.

I was a bit hard pressed to figure exactly what this group is for. They say that they are Christians, but they are the oddest disposed Christians since the Inquisition and religious wars of past centuries. Hate obviously predominates over brotherly or any other kind of love.

One speaker, the Bishop of the New Hope Church in the D.C. area in a town in Maryland, Harry Jackson:

http://www.thehopeconnection.org/bishop.htm

did not entirely please the group. While he shared their views on abortion, he said he was still a Democrat on the books. He is the founder of HILC (the High Impact Leadership Coalition). He has appeared widely on talk shows and is a talk show host himself, heard on some 400 stations nationally. He made the switch from the Harvard Business School to a religious ministry somewhere along the line. He was the only speaker who did not seem to please his audience entirely — a Democrat still?

And while he got a cheer speaking about protecting the lives of unborn children, the silence was stony when he added caring for children after they are born. That was what produced his comment in the subject line above. “Hey, I need some Amens here!” He did not get them.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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