Two possible contenders for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination – Senator Ted Cruz and former Gov. Mike Huckabee – are scheduled to be in Charlotte on Sept. 14 to headline “Star Spangled Sunday,” a live national webcast from First Baptist Church of Charlotte.
The Rev. Mark Harris, who pastors First Baptist, said the event celebrating the 200th anniversary of the National Anthem, a.k.a. “The Star Spangled Banner,” is also set to include some other speakers popular with conservative Christians.
Namely Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, the national chain of craft stores, and the Benham brothers – David and Jason – of Concord.
Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act led to a narrow U.S. Supreme Court ruling this year saying corporations with religious owners cannot be required to pay for insurance coverage of contraceptives. And the twin Benham brothers made national headlines when HGTV canceled their house-flipping show before it aired because of David Benham’s past comments on gay marriage and abortion.
Harris said churches all over the country will simulcast the event, which he said will enlighten Americans about “how God used ordinary Christians in the War of 1812 to do extraordinary things.” Witnessing the bombarding of Fort McHenry during that war -- on the night of Sept. 13-14, 1814 -- lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key penned the lyrics of what became the National Anthem.
Sponsored by the Family Research Council, “Star Spangled Sunday” will start at 7 p.m. at the church, 301 S. Davidson St.
Asked whether the inclusion of Cruz of Texas and Huckabee of Fox News made the upcoming event look and sound a lot like a GOP rally, Harris said no way.
“The Family Research Council has spent a great deal of time reaching across party lines,” said Harris, who ran unsuccessfully this year for the Republican Senate nomination in North Carolina. “It’s less interested in party labels than it is in standing up for the principles we hold dear.”
-- Tim Funk