Following the Republican Party's embarrassing showing in the 2012 elections, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus put together a task force to analyze just what was wrong with the party and which eventually resulted in the release of a report that found that the GOP's ultra-right-wing ideology was making it increasingly unappealing to voters who see the party as nothing but a bunch of "narrow-minded" and "out of touch ... stuffy old men."
Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson kicked off the Republican Leadership Conference at the Hilton Riverside Hotel in New Orleans on Thursday with an entertaining speech in which he mixed his faith in Jesus Christ with an admonition to the GOP to return to the Bible and the fundamental principles of freedom upon which the nation was founded.
“You lose your religion, you lose your morality, you lose your freedom,” Robertson said. “You cannot be right for America if you are not right with God.”
In an event the GOP billed as an “unofficial kickoff” of the 2016 presidential campaign, Robertson drew repeated applause and more than one standing ovation by insisting, “If the country does not turn to God at a fairly rapid clip, we are going to lose the United States of America.”
Robertson jokingly suggested, “The GOP must be desperate to call a person like me.”
Looking at the outfit that is now linked with his Duck Dynasty television persona, Robertson insisted, “These clothes are the best I own.”
What Robertson did not hesitate to speak about was his strong faith in Jesus Christ.
“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians. Where there is no Jesus, the love rate is always real low and the crime rate is always real high. It’s just that simple GOP. You want to turn the Republican Party around, get Godly.”
He rejected the secular society created by Supreme Court decisions he interpreted as an attack on religion.
“We threw God out of the schools. We threw God out of the courthouses,” Robertson said, in a speech that featured quotes from several Founding Fathers, including George Washington, John Adams, and James Madison.
“Separation of church and state? I’m telling you right [now] what our Founding Fathers said and it doesn’t sound like separating God Almighty from the United States of America. It’s a lie. You remove the Bible out of schools, it was said more 200 years ago, and you are going to be wasting so much time punishing criminals. Education is useless without the Bible. Take the Bible out of schools and there’s going to be an explosion of crime.”
Robertson subtly rebutted charges of prejudice, making it clear comments he made to GQ magazine regarding homosexuality derived solely from his religions conviction.
“There is only one race on this planet and that is the human race,” he insisted.
“Look at all humanity as the human race. Therefore, you do not have the right to color code anybody. We are all one family and we are all made in the image of God Almighty. The color of your skin does not determine the character of your person. In the GOP we have the libertarians, and the conservatives, and the establishment party, but you need to get off all of this divisive talk and be one party united.”
Commenting that, “You can tell a lot about a man when you hear him pray,” Robertson recalled George Washington praying at the founding of the nation.
He then transitioned to discussing Barack Obama.
“I watch what I see coming out of the White House and it is downright embarrassing. How many lies are we going to tolerate? Our Founding Fathers created the greatest republic on the face of the earth and we screwed it up in 238 years. But I’m not throwing in the towel yet on it. As was said, the surest way for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
Robertson railed against abortion, asking the GOP audience how a nation killing its unborn children possibly thought it could survive.
“The strength of this nation is not the Constitution,” he insisted, “but the law of God and the Ten Commandments upon which the Constitution was founded.”