Washington, D.C. – Presidential contender Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan addressed attendees of the 2012 Values Voter Summit this past weekend, an ecumenical event hosted by the Family Research Council, led by Tony Perkins.
The annual event featured dozens of prominent evangelicals, along with those from other faiths, such as former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, author and speaker Bill Bennett and David Bereit of 40 Days for Life, who are Roman Catholics. Glenn Beck, a Mormon, was also invited to speak at the event, but was not a confirmed guest.
Bennett introduced Paul Ryan.
“I appreciate your kind hospitality, and I count it a special honor to be introduced by my mentor and friend Bill Bennett,” Ryan stated. “It’s good to be part of the Values Voter Summit once again, and this time around I bring greetings from the next president of the United States, Governor Mitt Romney,” he continued, evoking cheers and applause.
Besides addressing the recent attacks on American embassies nationwide and the state of the economy, Ryan also discussed his concerns with the contraceptive mandate in Obamacare due to his Catholic faith.
“I am a Catholic, not because anyone has ordered me to accept a creed, but because of the grace and truth revealed in my faith – and that’s how we all feel about the faiths we hold,” he stated. “Ladies and gentlemen, you would be hard pressed to find another group in America that does more to serve the health of women and their babies than the Catholic Church and Catholic Charities.”
“And I can assure you, when Mitt Romney is elected, we will get to work – on day one – to repeal that mandate and all of Obamacare,” Ryan continued.
However, last week, Romney outlined on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that there were parts of Obamacare that he would keep if elected.
“Well, I’m not getting rid of all of healthcare reform,” he stated. “Of course, there are a number of things that I like in healthcare reform that I’m going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like. … I say we’re going to replace Obamacare. And I’m replacing it with my own plan.”
Ryan discussed the topic of abortion as well.
“In the Clinton years, the stated goal was to make abortion ‘safe, legal and rare.’ But that was a different time, and a different president. Now, apparently, the Obama-Biden ticket stands for an absolute, unqualified right to abortion – at any time, under any circumstances, and even at taxpayer expense,” he remarked. “When you get past all of the President’s straw men, what we believe is plain to state: These vital questions should be decided, not by the caprice of unelected judges, but by the conscience of the people and their elected representatives. And in this good-hearted country, we believe in showing compassion for mother and child alike.”
“We don’t write anyone off in America, especially those without a voice. Every child has a place and purpose in this world. Everyone counts, and in a just society the law should stand on the side of life,” Ryan continued.
However, as previously reported, following comments made by Missouri Senatorial candidate Todd Akin, who told reporters that he does not believe in exceptions to abortion, including in the case of rape, Mitt Romney came out swinging against his remarks.
“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement,” Romney campaign spokesperson Amanda Henneberg wrote on behalf of the Republican ticket. “A Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.”
“[T]he position of the campaign is not to oppose abortion in the cases of rape, incest, and to protect the life of the mother,” Brendan Buck, spokesman for the Romney-Ryan campaign, told Christian News Network. “Congressman Ryan’s personal beliefs provide only a life of the mother exception, but the position of the Romney-Ryan campaign also allows exceptions in the case of rape or incest.”
Ryan also spoke of Romney as being pro-family.
“He’s solid and trustworthy, faithful and honorable. Not only a defender of marriage, he offers an example of marriage at its best,” he said.
However, as previously reported, in May of this year, Romney advised that while he cannot define a homosexual relationship a “marriage,” he does believe that homosexuals have a right to live together and adopt children.
“[I]f two people of the same gender want to live together, want to have a loving relationship, or even to adopt a child, in my state, individuals of the same sex were able to adopt children. In my view, that’s something that people have a right to do. But, to call that ‘marriage’ is something that in my view is a departure from the real meaning of that word,” he stated.
Romney also outlined last month that he disgrees with the Boy Scouts’ ban on homosexual leaders and members.
According to The Associated Press, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul told the news outlet in an email that Romney still stands by his beliefs that homosexual men should be able to serve in the organization. She specifically noted that Romney had outlined his views in 1994 during a political debate, and that his stance has not changed.
“I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue,” Romney stated during the debate. “I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation.”
“Let’s give this effort everything we have. Let’s get this done, and elect Mitt Romney the next president of the United States,” concluded Paul Ryan during his speech to summit attendees.
Hours later, Mitt Romney addressed the gathering of evangelicals and others via video, claiming that he would “uphold the sanctity of life,” “defend marriage, not try to redefine it” and “preserve the American spirit of one nation under God.”
Attendees included well-known evangelical Christians such as Gary Bauer of American Values, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association, Rick Scarborough of Vision America, Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia and former presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann, all of whom have been outspoken supporters of Mitt Romney. Lila Rose of Live Action, actor Kirk Cameron, Dr. Michael Ferris of Patrick Henry College in Virginia, talk show host Dennis Prager and Arthur Ally of the Christian investment firm The Timothy Plan were featured speakers as well. Liberty University of Lynchburg, Virginia was an event sponsor.
In addition to seminars and dinners, the summit featured a variety of giveways, such as glow-in-the-dark George Washington temporary tattoos, Liberty University chapstick, Generation Opportunity drink coolers, and OMG “Obama Must Go” t-shirts.
Former presidential candidate Michael Peroutka stated that Christians such as the ones gathered at the Values Voter Summit are using the wrong standard by voting conservative or choosing “the lesser of two evils.”
“I would ask you, even empirically, where has that gotten us?” he declared. “When we’re voting for a conservative, we’re using the wrong standard. [You're basically voting to] kill one less baby than a liberal.”
“We have voted [for years] for the lesser of two evils, so we get evil,” he said. “And we deserve it because we vote for it.”
Photo: Gage Skidmore