Traditional values rally set for April 11

The second annual Traditional Family Values Rally will feature former lieutenant governor candidate E.W. Jackson as its keynote speaker.

The rally, which will be held at Skyline High School on April 11, will also feature gospel singer Bekki Smith, evangelist Chuck Doughty of Church of Christ at Mountain View, Chris Freund, vice president of Family Foundation of Virginia and Terry Beatley, president and founder of the Hosea Initiative.

The event is sponsored by the Shenandoah Christian Alliance, which is composed of protestant, evangelical, Roman Catholic and Anglican Church leaders and laymen in the northern Shenandoah Valley.

Dale Carpenter, founder of the alliance, said the event is a way for people who hold “the traditional values of sanctity of life, marriage between a man and a woman” and a representative democracy to celebrate those values.

“It’s really a family-type celebration of what we’ve had for over 300 years … it’s a Christian-based thing and it’s based on the fact we’ve been privileged because a lot of the conversations we’re having today we would not have had in the days of my mother and father,” he said. “It’s a way for people to celebrate traditional values.”

Carpenter said while “most people in this country, that are citizens of this country, care about this country irrespective of what their particular leanings are,” many people do not have the time to be politically engaged.

“The problem a lot of people have is it’s tough to make a living, so they work from morning ’til night so they’re lucky if they can get enough sleep for the next day,” he said. “We just want to give those people and their families an opportunity to see a good, positive presentation of what we’ve been gifted with from our forefathers.”

Carpenter said the event is not meant to sway anybody one way or the other on cultural issues, but rather to reaffirm “traditional values.”

“It’s not to change anybody’s mind, but it’s for those who might feel like they’re alone holding these values,” he said. “This a venue for people to celebrate the legacy of our country we are proud of.”

The event has undergone some minor tweaks from last year, including a more “prominent” list of speakers and a dialing down on certain political aspects of the rally, Carpenter said.

“There were some complaints that maybe it had a political tint to it, although I don’t think it’s a party thing or anything like that,” he said. “We try to make it a little more … I don’t know if I want to characterize it as less political.”

He added, “When you try to encourage people to use a Christian worldview, it’s political … it’s only political in that anything you do when you talk about the culture, a lot of that is guided by our political situation on any given day.”

With the rally being held by a broad range of Christian denominations, Carpenter said, “there is an ecumenical flavor to this whole thing.”

“We come from such different denominations and theologies, but the core values and the core things we have that were given to us are core values and there is no denomination that has any ownership of it,” he said.

“It’s an American thing, I’d like to think,” he added.

The event is free, open to the public and starts at 4 p.m. April 11.

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com