A small group of pastors and other activists gathered today at a hotel in Heightstown, New Jersey, for a first-of-its-kind conference. The first annual God and Country Conference of the New Jersey Tea Party Caucus proved an enjoyable and educational experience for all who attended.
God and Country, the Tea Party, and the Law
RoseAnn Salanitri, head of the New Jersey Tea Party Caucus, estimated that seventy people attended the God and Country Conference. She admits this was a small crowd. But, she said,
We hope we planted the right seeds. The rest is up to God.
Demetrios K. Stratis (center) discusses some of his freedom-of-conscience cases with The Rev. Stephen Louis Craft (L) and Fr. Richard Davidson (R) at the 2012 God and Country Conference of the NJ Tea Party Caucus. Photo: CNAV.
Several attendees were pastors. The most valuable part of the conference, for some, was the chance to form new networks. First to speak, for instance, was Demetrios Stratis, a lawyer who has pleaded several cases for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF, formerly Alliance Defense Fund). During the first break of the day, several pastors approached Mr. Stratis to offer any help they could.
Besides Mr. Stratis, these others spoke at the God and Country Conference:
Frank Cottone reviewed key documents to show that America has always been a Christian nation. (He acknowledged that the US Constitution does not mention religion at all. He explained by saying that the Framers felt that State government, not the federal government, should deal with religion.)
RoseAnn Salanitri spoke twice. First she compared the Tower of Babel incident (Genesis chapter 11) with the UN Division on Sustainable Development (UN Agenda 21) and other programs of the United Nations. Later she spoke on education reform and described her own experience in setting up a Christian school.
Brad Winship spoke on the foundations of socialism and liberalism on one side, and capitalism and conservatism on the other. He identified those foundations as “Man” and God, respectively.
Michele Talendo spoke about upcoming Tea Party activities in New Jersey.
Nick Purpura regaled the group with stories of the “Black Regiment” during the American War for Independence. He also suggested that pastors directly challenge current IRS policy on “politics in the pulpit.” (A thousand pastors across the country are getting ready to do just that.)
The Rev. Stephen Louis Craft spoke at length on various subjects. Most had to do with ways that, he says, liberal leaders have deceived black churches and their congregants. Among other things he suggested that the federal government might have gotten blacks out of the literal slavery of the antebellum South, but now kept them in a different kind of slavery.