Scott Powers – Orlando Sentinel
An upcoming Winter Park conference sponsored by a variety of social conservatism groups expects 1,500 or more people focusing on issues ranging from political activity by pastors to federal debt.
Co-organizer Mathew Staver, founder of the Orlando-based Liberty Counsel and the Freedom Federation, said the April 20-21 “The Awakening 2012″ conference at Calvary Assembly of God, 1199 Clay St., Winter Park, is geared toward multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-generational thinking on social conservatism.
Staver said the conference, the third-annual affair sponsored chiefly by Freedom Federation, a national social network for social conservatives, is not overtly geared toward the 2012 elections, but “it obviously has election ramifications.” Indeed, an introduction on the conference’s Website declares,”” The time has come to turn our voices into votes and to change the course of history.”
Among confirmed speakers are former Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, whom CNN named “The leader of the Hispanic Evangelical movement,” and Carlos Campo, president of Regent University. GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich all were invited to speak; none has yet confirmed. U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Winter Garden, also is a non-confirmed invitee but Staver expressed confidence he will be speaking.
Among topics of scheduled panels: Engaging and Mobilizing the Hispanic Community; Hitting the Debt Wall: Preventing the Demise of America; Restoring the Sanctity of Human Life; Radical Islam and National Security; The LGBTQ Agenda; Israel and the Middle East; How Pornography & Sexual Promiscuity are Destroying This Generation; and Pastors, Churches and Political Activity: Re-energizing the Pulpit.