U.S. social and religious conservatives will be searching for someone to fill that void as they gather in Washington this Friday to Sunday for the fourth annual summit of self-styled “Values Voters.” (Photo: Conservative protesters near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, 12 Sept 2009/Mike Theiler)
Dubbed the “Religious Right,” they have been stirred by a summer of discontent when their activists went on the offensive against Democratic President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority of healthcare reform, taking part in widely publicized town hall meetings on the issue that often turned raucous.
Formerly high-profile leaders of the religious right such as televangelist Jerry Falwell and political operative Ralph Reed have died or retreated from prominence. Last year’s economic crisis helped propel Obama to the White House.
“Social conservatives are looking for leadership and this is one of the places these folks are going to be shopping,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobby group organizing the summit.