For those trying to write the political obituary of conservative evangelicals, they might want to take note of what’s happening at the JW Marriott hotel later this week in Washington DC. The “Teavangelicals” are back. Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition holds its, “Road To Majority
Conference” starting Thursday and it is turning into a must-see political event considering that many potential Republican candidates for president will be on hand. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan and Rick Santorum are coming in for the big affair and it will give conservative Christians their first real chance to size up the possible presidential candidates. It will also give these Republicans a chance to see how they might fare among the key voting constituency in the GOP Primaries. Other speakers include Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Donald Trump and many more.
The conference isn’t just a cattle call of speeches by top conservatives. The real goal is here to make sure the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s 700,000 plus members are engaged early in the political process. There will be training and education sessions so that they can reach the goal of registering one million new voters by Election Day in 2014, 100 million new voter contacts and distributing 40 million voter guides.
There is a lobbying aspect to the group’s efforts as well. Immediately following the kick-off luncheon on Thursday, more than five hundred FFC members will hit Capitol Hill for what is being called, “Lobby Day.” They will meet with their Senators and Congressmen to lobby on marriage, immigration and IRS reform. On marriage, the thrust of the conversations will center on pushing lawmakers to start figuring out a replacement for the Defense of Marriage Act, assuming the Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional. Immigration talks will focus on making sure any immigration reform bill is fully anti-amnesty and full of real border security requirements. As for the IRS, FFC members will be lobbying for passage of two bills: The first one has a clever name: It’s called, "Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013" and is sponsored by Tom Price in the House and John Cornyn in the Senate. It seeks to stop the Internal Revenue Service from putting into place or implementing any requirements of ObamaCare. The second bill is the IRS Anti-Abuse Act, sponsored by Paul Gosar. This legislation would make it a crime to discriminate against organizations and individuals based on their political affiliation or ideology.
There’s no doubt that the IRS scandal has given Teavangelical activists a shot in the arm as they try and recover from November of last year when President Obama won a second term. A malaise of disillusionment settled in after Obama began his second term but the IRS scandal targeting Teavangelical type groups, combined with a hopeful looking 2014 congressional electoral map has given conservative Christians some optimism that better days are ahead. Those days start Thursday in DC as the crucial base of the party gets its first side-by-side look at the Republican presidential hopefuls who they hope will lead them back to the Promised Land.