Has Obama Awakened the Evangelical Vote?

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Grassroots Christian activists from across the country are in Washington, D.C., learning how they can help change the course of the U.S. in November.

The conference is being hosted by the relatively new Faith and Freedom Coalition. However, the group is already experiencing growing pains.

The Faith and Freedom Coalition's first national conference will be filled with hundreds of grassroots leaders from across the country this weekend. Ralph Reed, the organization's founder, told CBN News that President Barack Obama's policies are making it easy to mobilize people of faith this year.

"Barack Obama has awakened the slumbering giant of the evangelical vote," Reed said.

It's Reed's goal to turn out so many evangelical Christians that they will make up more than 30 percent of people casting votes Nov. 2.

"If you can do that what looks like a wave is going to turn into a tsunami," he said. "Now, we do have some challenges. We have churches who believe that they're not supposed to be political and we would certainly agree with that in the sense of being partisan."

"We don't think that a pastor or a church or a denomination should necessarily advocate the election or defeat of a particular candidate though we think that's there right under the First Amendment," Reed explained. "We're not advocating that."

"What we're advocating is that the churches of America make sure three things happen," he said.

"Number one -- that every single member of that church, every member of their congregation is registered to vote. That's simply not true today," he said. "You've got between one out of every four and one out of every two evangelicals either isn't registered to vote or isn't voting frequently."

"Secondly, we want them to be educated and informed and equipped on where candidates stand on the issues," he said. 

"And thirdly, we want them to vote and we want them to encourage their friends to vote," he continued. "That's really not controversial. They should be doing that as effective citizens anyway at all the churches in America, whether their liberal or conservative, should be teaching their members the importance of effective citizenship."

Speakers at the conference include rising Republican stars like Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. The speakers and breakout sessions are designed to inspire and give activists the tools they need to turn out the vote in November.

Many of the attendees are expected to stay until Sunday for the 9/12 rally on Washington's National Mall that's designed to protest big government and support lower taxes.

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CBN News
Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.