Quite a lot has been made of last weekend’s “Values Voter Summit”. It was the largest DC gathering of Christian conservatives since the late 90s. All the major Republican presidential candidates attended. The media was all over it. Many are saying it is the return of the religious right.
Not so fast.
While the VVS convened a lot of people, the Christian Coalition events from 93-98 convened many more people and more importantly they convened their members. The Coalition was such a powerful political force because it helped unify and direct the previously diffuse and competing (if not warring) factions of the Christian conservative movement.
It is easy to forget but at its peak, the Coalition had more than a million members. While those members didn’t always agree on which candidates to support, there was the absolute sense they were part of the same team and the same movement. Such is not the case with the religious right today.
So while the VVS got attention, no one should mistake a two-day conference for a resurrection of religious right at its most powerful.