Des Moines, Iowa — Seven Republican presidential candidates gathered around a table in Des Moines Friday night — in front of hundreds of Christian conservatives — for a discussion that focused on the “coarsening” of America and how to spark a revival. The event was put on by the Family Leader, a Christian conservative group headed by Sheldon native Bob Vander Plaats. Protesters disrupted the event twice.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee responded.
Huckabee later said he wasn’t bothered by the protesters, because they won’t be thrown in prison or shot like they would in other countries where there are no free speech rights. Texas Senator Ted Cruz told the crowd the greatest moral threat facing the county is an assault on Christian values by Washington, by Hollywood and by the media.
Retired surgeon Ben Carson criticized political correctness, especially on college campuses.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio says the country’s threatened by an erosion of values and it starts at the top.
In the second hour, moderator Frank Luntz asked the candidates to define what they would consider to be a “just” war. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum says it’s time for acknowledge Islamic terrorists believe they are in a holy war.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul called not only for broader background checks on refugees from more than 30 countries where Islamic terrorists cells are forming, plus Paul says there should be broader restrictions on all travel into the United States.
At the end of the event, the moderator asked questions designed to the get the candidates to talk about their faith and how it had been challenged. Former Hewlett-Packard C-E-O Carly Fiorina discussed her battle with cancer, her daughter’s death and how faith had sustained her during it all.
The forum was organized by The Family Leader and Bob Vander Plaats, the group’s president, urged the crowd to consider what was said by the candidates, pray about what they heard and choose one to support.
Vander Plaats and The Family Leader’s board of directors will meet to consider endorsing one of the candidates.