Faith and Freedom Coalition
|Founder(s)||Ralph E. Reed, Jr.|
|Area served||United States|
|Focus(es)||Social conservative political advocacy|
|Motto||Restoring America's Greatness & Founding Principles|
The Faith and Freedom Coalition is an American ecumenical, social conservative 501(c)(4) non-profit organization with an avowed commitment to "educating, equipping, and mobilizing people of faith and like-minded individuals to be effective citizens." It promotes the pro-life cause, opposes same-sex marriage, supports limited government, lower taxes, and education reform, works to help "the poor, the needy, and those who have been left behind", supports the free market, and supports a strong national defense including backing for Israel. The organization was founded in 2009 by Christian Coalition founder Ralph E. Reed, Jr., who described it as "a 21st century version of the Christian Coalition". Reed designed the coalition as a bridge between the Tea Party movement and evangelical voters.
After serving as executive director of the Christian Coalition in the 1990s, Reed founded the Faith and Freedom Coalition in June 2009. The organization has grown quickly with hundreds of thousands of supporters and several hundred local chapters.
Faith and Freedom Conference
The 2011 conference was also held in Washington in June 2011 with several hundred attendees. Nearly all the Republican 2012 presidential hopefuls spoke, including Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Jr., Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul. The Associated Press described the conference as a "tryout for candidates hoping to fill a void left by former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, an ordained Baptist minister who won the 2008 Iowa caucus but is not running for the 2012 Republican nomination." The Los Angeles Times said Bachmann was the most enthusiastically received by the crowd. Haley Barbour and Donald Trump, both of whom considered running but decided not to do so, also spoke. Cain was the keynote speaker at the closing banquet. Commentator Glenn Beck was scheduled to speak at the conference but canceled after his father-in-law was rushed to the hospital with an unspecified condition.
At the June conference, Reed said that Romney had answered questions about his religious beliefs during his 2008 presidential bid. Romney, an early front-runner in the Republican Party primary campaign, has been the subject of conjecture about whether his Mormon faith will hinder his campaign. A Pew Research Center poll revealed that one-third of white evangelical voters would not back a Mormon presidential candidate. Reed expressed confidence that Romney's faith would not be a problem: "I think he is much more likely to have to answer questions about Massachusetts health care now."
In May 2012, the organization announced a Jewish outreach component. At the June 2012 conference, a Shabbat program was held, with traditional, kosher Shabbat meals and Orthodox Jewish prayer services.
- Gilgoff, Dan (June 23, 2009). "Exclusive: Ralph Reed Launches New Values Group: 'Not Your Daddy's Christian Coalition'". Politics & Policy: God & Country. U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
- About the Faith and Freedom Coalition
- "Ralph's way: The Wunderkind returns". The Economist. September 16, 2010. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
- Republican contenders compete for Christian conservatives
- Bob McDonnell 'tip of the spear'
- Conference Offers Tryout for Hopefuls
- Barbour, RNC Chair Warn Conservatives
- Donald Trump dings Eric Cantor, reprises birther talk
- Herman Cain says 2012 is his to lose
- McLaughlin, Seth (June 2, 2011). "Romney's in; Mormon faith still a hurdle". The Washington Times. p. 2. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
- Babington, Charles (June 4, 2011). "2012 Republican hopefuls court religious right". The Boston Globe. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
- Kaleem, Jaweed (June 4, 2011). "Faith And Freedom Conference: How Will Religion Affect Evangelical Votes?". HuffPost Religion. The Huffington Post. Retrieved June 5, 2011.