Des Moines, – The Family Leadership Summit, hosted annually by the conservative evangelical organization The Family Leader, held its 12th edition on July 14, 2023, at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines. The summit serves as a significant platform for Republican presidential contenders seeking to secure the support of Iowa’s influential evangelical voters. The event is not limited to politics alone; it aims to encourage cultural transformation in various spheres, including government, faith, business, and entertainment.
Family Leadership Summit Details:
Confirmed Speakers and Invited Guests:
The summit boasted a star-studded lineup of speakers, with at least six Republican presidential contenders confirmed to address attendees. The list included:
- Former Vice President Mike Pence
- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
- Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley
- South Carolina U.S. Senator Tim Scott
- Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy
- Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson
ASA HUTCHINSON Confirm for 2023 Family Leadership Summit Will join Tucker Carlson for a live, one-on-one, on-stage interview
Notably, former President Donald Trump was also extended an invitation, along with President Joe Biden and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a Democratic challenger with slim chances. Additionally, conservative political commentator Tucker Carlson moderated interviews with the candidates, focusing on educating and equipping Americans to envision a positive future for the country.
The Purpose and Significance of the Event:
At a pivotal moment in the nation’s history, The Family Leadership Summit aimed to transcend traditional politics and delve into the principles and visions that could propel the country forward. The event sought to empower Americans to make well-informed choices, not just for the upcoming 2024 election but also for the years beyond. By bringing together prominent national leaders from various fields, the summit aimed to encourage Christians to engage in Christ-centered cultural transformation that extended beyond the realm of politics.
Impact on Iowa’s Political Landscape:
The event’s significance on Iowa’s political landscape cannot be overstated. As the kickoff caucus state, Iowa holds tremendous importance for presidential candidates. The summit’s gathering of influential evangelical voters provided a unique opportunity for Republican contenders to connect with hundreds of potential caucus-goers. Not only did it enable them to communicate their vision and policies, but it also allowed them to understand and address the concerns of this critical voting bloc.
Role of The Family Leader in Conservative Evangelical Circles:
The Family Leader, led by Bob Vander Plaats, holds a prominent position in Iowa’s conservative evangelical circles. Vander Plaats is widely recognized as Iowa’s most prominent social conservative. The organization’s commitment to cultural transformation beyond politics resonates with its target audience, making it an influential voice within the community.
Controversies and Notable Aspects:
One notable aspect of the summit was the invitation extended to former President Donald Trump, who attended the 2015 summit. Given the controversies and divisions surrounding Trump’s presidency, his presence at the event garnered significant attention and mixed reactions. Moreover, the inclusion of President Joe Biden and Democratic challenger Robert F. Kennedy Jr. led to speculation about the event’s bipartisan nature. However, it was unlikely that Biden and Kennedy Jr. would attend an evangelical Christian summit.
Additionally, The Family Leader’s call for the impeachment or removal of three Iowa Supreme Court justices who opposed the state’s “heartbeat law” further added to the event’s controversies. Such stances by the organization illustrate its commitment to conservative values but also sparked debates within and beyond the summit.
The 12th Annual Family Leadership Summit successfully brought together key Republican presidential contenders, providing them with a crucial platform to connect with Iowa’s evangelical voters. Beyond politics, the event encouraged cultural transformation that extended beyond the boundaries of traditional political discourse. The summit aimed to equip attendees with a positive vision for America’s future, emphasizing the principles that would guide the nation forward.
The event’s success can be measured by the significant turnout it garnered. Last year’s summit drew over 1,700 participants, including local and national media coverage. The presence of esteemed speakers such as former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and other notable figures from various fields further added to its allure.
The Family Leadership Summit not only focused on political leaders but also featured distinguished individuals from different walks of life. Pastor Alistair Begg of Parkside Church and the daily radio program Truth For Life, Dr. Bill Lile, a renowned pro-life OB/GYN known as the Pro-Life Doc, and the 11-time GMA Dove Award-winning musical group Selah were among the featured guests. This diverse lineup reflected the summit’s commitment to addressing meaningful impact in the spheres of government, faith, business, news, entertainment, and more.
While the event primarily targeted the Christian audience, it aimed to transcend politics and engage leaders and believers from all domains. The Family Leader’s overarching message emphasized the importance of leading a meaningful impact in the nation by embracing Christ-centered values and principles.
Despite controversies and differing perspectives surrounding the summit, including the invitation extended to former President Donald Trump and the call for the impeachment or removal of Iowa Supreme Court justices, the event remained a platform for dialogue and engagement.
In conclusion, the 12th Annual Family Leadership Summit served as a crucial event in Iowa’s political landscape. By bringing together presidential contenders, influential speakers, and a discerning Christian audience, the summit facilitated meaningful conversations, highlighted diverse perspectives, and encouraged attendees to choose wisely as they prepared for the upcoming 2024 election and beyond. The Family Leader’s commitment to cultural transformation and its role in conservative evangelical circles solidified its influence and impact within Iowa’s political sphere.