A summit of evangelical Christians and conservative Catholic and Jewish activists yesterday produced a “Values Voters’ Contract with Congress,” an outline of what the religiously minded expect their elected representatives to bring about in the near future.
Modeled after the Republican Party’s 1994 “Contract with America,” the “Values Voters’ Contract” stipulated 10 aims, ranging from legislation to keep the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance to laws guaranteeing greater religious freedoms in the workplace, prohibiting human cloning and embryo research, and guaranteeing a “right to life” to all children before birth.
“It’s time for the values voters to tell the government what we expect of them,” said the Rev. Rick Scarborough, founder of the Lufkin, Texas-based Vision America, which organized the summit. “This contract tells Congress they can count on our vote if these things become front-burner issues.”
It also addresses President Bush, Mr. Scarborough added.
“With all this discussion of marriage before the election,” he said, “we just heard a State of the Union message where there was no mention of a marriage amendment.”
The “contract” was released at a “War on Christians and the Values Voters in 2006” conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, where speakers painted a gloomy picture of a war by “neo-pagans” against “values voters” for about 300 listeners.
“Let’s not say, ‘Oh, it’s not that bad,’ ” said the Rev. Tristan Emmanuel, director of the Equipping Christians for the Public Square Centre in Jordan Station, Ontario. Secularists, he added, practice “Christophobia,” which he deemed “an irrational fear of anything Christ-based.”
“When you listen to their rejection of our participation in the public square, it’s visceral,” he said.
Ron Luce, president of Teen Mania Ministries of Garden Valley, Texas, told the audience that only 4 percent of today’s “millennial” generation of teenagers are evangelical Christians able to transform the culture.
“If we only have 4 percent, we all lose,” he said. “We look at ‘In God We Trust’ on our money and think [losing] it will never happen.”
Five Jewish speakers on one of the afternoon panels seemed unconcerned by other speakers’ rhetoric about “losing Christian dominance of America” by noting that their safety depends on the existence of evangelicals.
Jokingly referring to the quintet as “Jewish co-conspirators on the religious right,” Jeff Ballabon of the New York-based Center for Jewish Values said today’s culture wars “aren’t just a war on Christians.”
“This is a war on America, a war on God and a war on all believers,” he said.
“Our battle,” said Rabbi Aryeh Spero, president of Caucus for America, “is the battle of the ages, and that’s of great import. We are aligned with Elijah, with Jesus and with Moses.”
Values voters are believers aligned against pagans, he said, adding, “Elijah went up against the pagans of his day. We should be happy this day we can fight the battle of God.”