On the second day of the Republican National Convention, Aug. 30, the Bush-Cheney campaign held the “Faith, Family and Freedom Rally” for religious conservatives behind closed doors, portraying President Bush as a man of faith.
While the Republican National Convention’s focus on moderate representatives displayed the party’s diversity but left little room for speeches from Christian leaders, the private rally reminded evangelicals and religious conservatives that neither they, nor their values, were forgotten.
President Bush, a born-again Christian, appeared on video and reaffirmed his opposition to abortion and same-sex “marriage,” two hot button topics among evangelicals and religious conservatives.
In the past, Bush has consistently opposed both issues through his policies. A pro-life supporter, Bush limited funding on the controversial embryonic stem-cell research in August 2001 and in November 2003 signed the Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act. He also adamantly supported the Federal Marriage Amendment, a constitutional amendment preserving marriage as between a man and woman and banning same-sex “marriage.”
Bush promised to "foster a culture of life" and "end discrimination against people of faith” as he spoke on screen.
A leader of American Life League told Associated Press that the campaign wanted to show Bush as “a man of faith.”
Other speakers were Ralph Reed, a Republican Party strategist and former leader of the Christian Coalition and Republican Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas.
Among the hundred attending were well-known Christian figures Rev. Jerry Falwell, president of Campaign for Working Families and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, and President of Family Research Council Tony Perkins, who were introduced at the rally but did not speak.
“I don't know of any president who is more beloved by conservative evangelicals than President Bush,” Falwell told San Francisco Chronicle in an interview a week prior to the convention.
In another appeal to Christians, the campaign distributed written endorsements from evangelical leaders including the Rev. Jack Graham, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Dr. James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family.
"I'll be voting for President Bush,” Dobson wrote. "President Bush understands the great moral issues of our time."