The Daily Gamecock

Christian rally at SC Statehouse draws thousands

Thousands of people — including presidential hopefuls former Texas Governor Rick Perry and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and with South Carolina Senator Tim Scott — gathered on the steps of the Statehouse lawn Saturday afternoon to "encourage and empower God-fearing citizens to stand in this evil day," according to the Pro-Family Rally group which sponsored the event. 

Speakers like Cruz emphasized the importance of adhering to Pro-Life, Christian values and spoke to the crowd gathered at the Statehouse about a Christian renaissance in America.

"Our nation is in crisis right now. But I want to tell you there is a spirit of revival that is sweeping South Carolina, that is sweeping the country. Americans are waking up," Cruz said. 

The organization, known as We Stand with God, states on their website: "As Christians we do not hate homosexual people. But we must stand where God stands regarding sin."

Ron Baity, a Baptist preacher and one of the speakers at the event, addressed pastors directly, urging them to speak out against Planned Parenthood and same-sex marriage in their congregations.

"Y'know, Planned Parenthood is an oxymoron. How can you plan parenthood if you kill them before they can become parents?" he said, referring to the organization's practice of providing abortions.

Though he took aim at government programs and social issues, his rhetoric also touched on the apocalyptic. 

"The judgement of God will eventually fall on the nation that cheapens marriage," Baity said. "God had an urban renewal program for Sodom and Gomorrah." 

The event drew attendees from across the country. Matthew Dearien, a West Virginia native, drove nine hours to attend the event.

"I enjoyed it. We haven't had nothing like this in West Virginia," he said. "All of them had something good to say — it's good to see that so many people showed up."

Sam Wooldridge, a veteran of the Vietnam war, thoroughly enjoyed the proceedings.

"I thought it was excellent. It's what I fought for — what I got shot for," he said.

Of the speakers at the event, he liked South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott best. 

"[Scott] told truth," he said. "He didn't politicize it. He just spoke it and that was it. Told the daggum truth."

Unlike Scott, Perry spoke about how the federal government is threatening the privilege of every American citizen for religious liberty. 

"For generations, this city was taught right from wrong in our synagogues, in our churches. We see these under attacks today, literally the foundation of America is under attack from those on the left. It's under attack from Washington, D.C," Perry said.

According to the event's organizers, over $22,000 was raised over the course of the rally and will be used to fund more rallies in the future.