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January 8, 2006
JS III: The Event

7:02 - Dr. Lusk opens up the festivities on the same note that he left the crowd, and he gets the crowd on their feet to greet Tony Perkins. Perkins thanks congregations and pastors around the nation that have tuned in for the JSIII event.

7:04 - The protestors have swelled to about 75 or so and have pushed into traffic, drawing attention from the Philadelphia police department. ACT-UP appears to comprise most of the additional protestors, who have brought the usual effigy of George Bush.

7:05 - Santorum notes that William Penn spent his life establishing religious freedom in Pennsylvania. He is focusing on judicial activism and the destructive, corrosive nature of it on representative democracy. He challenges the audience to answer "No!" to Democratic efforts to "drag the hearings into the gutter". Not a bad speech, really, and pretty darned short.

7:13 - Martin Luther King's neice, Dr. Alveda C King, starts off with a song and a reading from Leviticus. She quotes a warning from her uncle that America has left God behind, an unconscious act stemming from our material pursuits. She derides the "little gods that are here today and gone tomorrow". She gives a powerful rendition of MLK's speeches. She finishes with "We Shall Overcome", which raised a couple of eyebrows in the media center.

7:17 - So far, the FRC has learned a lesson from the last event. The speakers have focused on the specific issue of religious freedom and the problem of judicial activism, instead of getting hung up on homosexuality.

7:21 - Dr. Lusk comes back for his speech, starting with Psalms. He moves to gay marriage, perhaps a mistake, but Democrats should note the big response it gets from the congregation.

7:25 - "I may not speak for all black people ... but I speak for some black people!" That gets an ovation. And that's just the warm-up. "The church has worn out a million hammers ... the more you hit us, the stronger we get." This man knows how to get people up out of their seats. He does not disappoint. "Take a look at the graveyard. All the men who have put their names above Jesus have passed away, only known for the desolation they have left behind." That could be the epitaph of the 20th century.

7:32 - Just looked at the Steeler score and startled the other bloggers. The Iron City Gange leads the Bengals 31-17 with 4:03 left in the game.

7:34 - Dr. Dobson takes the stage. This time he's at the event; for JSII he could only attend via video. He starts off by thanking Dr. Lusk and says, "Wherever you're fighting, I want to be standing beside you."

7:39 - He gives a tepid speech but a grim and detailed description of partial-birth abortion. He may not have the style to hang with Dr. Lusk -- he seems oddly off his game tonight as a speaker -- but the speech itself is pretty good. This time, he's focusing on the fact that the court has bypassed the legislature and the people in deciding on issues like gay marriage (rejected in every state where the question has been posed) and partial-birth abortion. This is a more effective presentation than the last event, which tended to go off about the "agenda" of the homosexual lobby in dark and scary tones. This presents the argument more objectively.

7:43 - Right Wing Sparkle laughs at me for giving a silent fist-pump. She knows I just peeked at the final score for the Steelers game -- 31-17 Pittsburgh.

7:45 - Jerry Falwell comes up next. I'm curious on how he will be received here, and what kind of speech he wants to give.

7:50 - "If the pulpit is not to address [moral] issues, then what are we to address?" He wants to celebrate the culmination of a 30-year effort to bring conservatism back into the mainstream, and it's hard to argue that he hasn't succeeded. In 1976, people thought Ronald Reagan too extreme to ever get nominated, let alone elected -- and at the time, they were right, but not about Reagan. Reagan had to wait until the Left had destroyed its credibility before people realized that Reagan wasn't extreme at all. And the Left has done the same thing over its desperation over John Roberts and Sam Alito.

7:54 - Falwell gives a better speech than Dobson, using a warm, inclusive, and sunny disposition to make up for the lack of fervor that easily contrasts him with Dr. Lusk.

7:56 - Some of you may wonder why I haven't included any photos on my posts this time. Unfortunately, I misplaced my digital camera. Stacy, however, has posted a number of great photos of the event and the protests.

8:02 - So far, I think this event has been more successful in pushing through a positive message. It hasn't focused on a negative, us-vs-them sort of rhetoric.

8:04 - The latest cause, the ACLU suit against the Indiana state house's tradition of prayer in opening its sessions, gets an interesting audible comment from La Shawn. When the taped presentation lays out the case and the ACLU's efforts to keep Christians from uttering the name Jesus Christ in public venues, she asks, "Who are the real fascists here?"

8:10 - Bishop Wellington Boone proves to be a terrific finish for the evening. There will be a close by Tony Perkins, but the emotional close comes with Bishop Boone. What a powerful speaker! To the liberals: "Don't spit in my face and call it rain!" I hope everyone has a chance to watch this man on the FRC site. It's an amazing speech.

8:15 - Time to do what they have spent all night urging us to do -- pray!

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 8, 2006 6:01 PM

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