Rubio, Cruz and Trump address Values Voter Summit
WASHINGTON, D.C. ' Republicans gathered this morning at the Omni Shoreham Hotel for the 10th annual Values Voter Summit to hear addresses from Republican leaders including four presidential hopefuls.
The Values Voter Summit is sponsored by the Family Research Council (FRC), a nonprofit organization founded on advancing "faith, family and freedom in public policy and the culture from a Christian worldview," their website stated.
Upon the opening ceremony of the National Anthem, Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance, FRC president Tony Perkins welcomed the audience.
Perkins said the nation is in a time when values and faith are greatly threatened.
"Our founders were inspired to create for us a government in which we can use our freedoms and preserve our freedoms," Perkins said.
He said that there is a false perception about religious freedom that it is not just the freedom to choose which church one attends.
"Now is not the time to shrink back into silence," he said on the importance of defending religious freedoms and Christian values.
"If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation one under."
Sen. John McCain
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) then took the stage.
McCain highlighted the belief that inherent human dignity should not be limited.
"It's in the American character to see the good in things ... The dignity of all human life should be recognized and supported," he said.
McCain also commented on the terrorist acts taken against Christians in Syria.
"Promoting religious freedom should be in the forefront of our counter-terrorist efforts."
McCain spent time discussing his stance against abortion.
"The right to life is the most sacred of all ... Hopefully we'll have a pro-life White House to work with soon," he said.
Following McCain, presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) spoke.
Sen. Marco Rubio
Rubio was ranked at nine percent in the most recent Fox news poll.
Rubio addressed his ideologies on faith, marriage and the issues that he believes are diminishing the American Dream.
"We've always had this debate about what role faith should play in politics ... As a Christian, I am taught from the earliest days of my life that I am to model Jesus Christ ... My job is to care and love my fellow man because there isn't a person that God doesn't love," Rubio said.
Rubio reminisced on his childhood and the values he was taught growing up.
He said the American Dream and values are slipping from the nation.
"The cost of everyday life is soaring as wages remain the same," he said.
Rubio addressed the conflicting problem many families face of having to work excessive amounts of time and missing out on family.
"The greatest threats against American families is having to choose: being there with their family or working and providing financially," he said, "[if he were elected,] people won't have to sit behind a desk while the most profound moments of their life pass by."
"By the year 2020, I hope to say that abortions at 20 weeks are illegal," Rubio said.
Towards the end of his speech, the crowd erupted into applause and cheer as Rubio announced that Speaker John Boehner is resigning from Congress in October.
"The time has come to turn the page," he said.
A Values on the Hill presentation was then done by Rep. Mark Meadows, Rep. Diane Black, Rep. John Fleming and David Christensen.
Sen. Ted Cruz took a conversational and lighthearted, yet energetic tone as he approached the audience.
Sen. Ted Cruz
"We know that our country is in crisis. It's not a typical time in politics. Our constitutional rights are unresolved each day in Washington ... it's making the world a much more dangerous place. I want to come to you this morning with hope. American people are waking up; help is on the way," he said.
If he achieves the presidency, his goals are to repeal "every single unconstitutional act" and open an investigation into Planned Parenthood. Cruz also promised to instruct the Department of Justice and IRS that "the persecution of religious liberty ends today."
Cruz says another one of his first actions will be to "rip to shreds the catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal and appeal Obamacare.
He also stated that the Department of Education should be abolished.
Cruz is favored 27 percent based on the latest CNN polls.
Ken Klukowski, senior counsel and director of strategic affairs to litigate cases involving the First Amendment and freedom of belief and expression at the Liberty Institute, then spoke.
The next possible future candidate, Sen. Rick Santorum, addressed the audience. Santorum spoke on his stance against abortions and Planned Parenthood.
Sen. Rick Santorum
"I have been standing in the forefront year after year fighting the battles on life," he said.
Santorum said that America's attention needs to be focused on the horror of abortion and that the stamina to fight needs to be rebuilt.
The United States has directly assaulted the first amendment, he said.
Santorum commented on "apocalyptic Islam," saying that it was bringing about end of world.
"How many times does America have to pay a lesson for listening to what desperates want to do and not believe them?" he said. "It is suicidal."
Santorum said his plan is to defeat radical Islam.
"We can't risk any misperception," he said.
Donald Trump, ranking 26 percent in Fox's latest poll, was the final speaker of the session.
Trump began his speech by showing his Bible to the audience.
Trump talked about his bluntness as a strength.
"We have a country that is in such danger and in such trouble to be politically correct ... but who wants to do it? We have to get back to business," he said.
Trump commented on the Iran deal, saying what is going on in Iran is still unclear.
"The deal is horrible," he said, "from any stand point."
As for the Iranian prisoners, Trump guaranteed to get them back.
Trump went against Common Core, saying, "If you're talking from a Christian standpoint, you want local representation."
He said the country needs competence in all areas.
Attendees of the event are now in lunch break and the summit's events will continue throughout the day, including addresses from other Republican leaders and prospect presidential candidates Gov. Mike Huckabee and Dr. Ben Carson.