Speakers including Focus on the Family founder James Dobson said Monday that scandals in Washington should not suppress “values voters” from going to the polls Nov. 7.
“Yes, what Mark Foley did was wrong, but it is still important to go to the polls and let our voices be heard,” Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family Action, said at a “Stand for the Family” rally in Nashville, Tenn.
Dobson said a congressman has told him that several other gay Republicans will be “outed” in coming days. He said he doesn’t know who they are, but, “They say it is going to be worse than anything that has happened so far.”
“They are dribbling this bad news out so eventually the values voters will get to the point so they will say a pox on both your houses; I’m staying home,” Dobson said. “Folks you cannot afford to do that.”
The Nashville rally was the third of its kind, following events in Pittsburgh and Minneapolis. All three cities are in states with closely watched elections.
“Our goal is to motivate every single believer, everyone who names the name of Jesus, to be involved in the political process,” said Jerry Sutton, pastor of Two Rivers Baptist Church, site of Monday night’s rally.
“We have every intention of out-praying, out-thinking, out-working, out-serving and out-loving our opponents,” Sutton said. “And we will by the grace of God make this a Christian nation.”
Religious conservatives were a key voting bloc in President Bush’s re-election in 2004. Recent polls suggest evangelicals may be less likely to vote for Republicans, if at all, this year. Rally speakers insisted that is not true.
“You are Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi and big media’s worst nightmare,” said former presidential candidate Gary Bauer. “You are values voters, and you intend to vote.”
“There’s an effort underway by the radical left and big media to suppress the Christian vote this year,” said Bauer, chairman of American Values and the Campaign for Working Families. “They believe we are stupid enough to fall for it, and I believe with every fiber of my being you are smarter than all of them.”
Speakers didn’t come out and say that evangelicals should vote for Republicans, but they touted a conservative social agenda opposing abortion, gay marriage and embryonic stem-cell research, while supporting the war on terrorism and President Bush.
“I am not an elephant, and no one is going to make a jackass out of me,” said Ken Hutcherson, senior pastor of Antioch Bible Church near Seattle, Wash., the lone African-American on the program.
Dobson said he hasn’t agreed with everything President Bush has done, but he believes the president “gets it” when it comes to the threat to the United States posed by radical Islam.
Dobson wasn’t the only speaker to praise Bush.
“I have had the privilege of knowing our president since 1988,” added Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “As Dr. Dobson said, he is not a perfect man. None of us are, but I’m telling you he is a godly man.”
“I have never seen any politician who has been vilified and attacked and savaged the way this president has been vilified and attacked and savaged, and it is unfair,” Land said.
Tennessee is one of five states considering constitutional amendments defining marriage as between a man and woman. It is also a battleground state for a key race in the U.S. Senate for both sides seeking majorities in Congress.
“We’re not going to tell you how to vote tonight,” Dobson said. “That is not what we’re supposed to do. That is not legal. But we’re going to talk about the issues, and you figure that out yourself.”
“Elections have enormous consequences and politicians and huge influence and responsibilities, and cultures and spin and turn on the basis of elections,” Dobson said. “And is on is one of the most important to us.”
The event was originally scheduled in arena with tickets to be sold, but later was moved to a church and free admission. Monday’s crowd was substantially smaller than a “Justice Sunday” event held two years ago in the same church.
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.