The event was promoted heavily by the Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition, and it was held in a facility owned by the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest non-Catholic denomination and a religious body closely aligned with the Bush administration.
In an opening prayer, American Vision President Gary DeMar set the stage for what would be a major theme running through the gathering: restoring the sovereignty of God and God's people - namely, folks like those at the conference.
"We know," said DeMar, "that you are a sovereign and omniscient God.... We know that you have called us to be responsible servants in the advancement of your kingdom through the proclamation of the gospel and the application of your word in every area of life."
Worldview speaker after speaker vacillated between decrying the nation as wildly secular and ready for a radical makeover led by fundamentalist Christians.
One of the first speakers, Gary Cass, offered a dire picture of a country that is doomed unless it embraces a rigid form of government led by fundamentalist Christian edicts.
"We need a new American vision," said Cass, former head of TV preacher D. James Kennedy's now-defunct Center for Reclaiming America for Christ, "because we've lost our biblical heritage, our Christian birthright, which has been given to us by our founders, we have squandered for a poisonous bowl of atheistic humanism and political correctness.
"And now our culture is experiencing its deadly effects," he continued. "The putrid stench of the culture of death fills our living rooms, coming to us every night on the evening news. And this Worldview weekend, I believe, is the antidote for the culture of death."
He continued, "By God's grace you are here to reclaim our godly heritage and to reassert, without apology to the atheists and the neo-pagans of our day, that this was and is a Christian nation, built on Christian ideals."
Cass's stark call for a fundamentalist Christian takeover of America was later followed by claims that the nation is increasingly hostile to religious people. To some chuckles from the audience, he insisted that the United States is in "great need of a Christian anti-defamation league."
"Defamation," Cass argued, "is the precursor to persecution." Defamation leads to marginalization, he continued, and marginalization sets the "stage for discrimination," which inevitably leads to the final stage of religious cleansing.
"Genocide being the ultimate expression," Cass declared, "the deliberate, systematic extermination of a group of people." Kind of like what is happening in Sudan's Darfur region, he added.
Other speakers brutally attacked the public school system and promoted home schooling and private Christian education. The Ridgecrest bookstore was full of materials offering curriculums for parents interested in escaping the public schools.
On the conference's first day, attendees gathered in Ridgecrest's Spilman Auditorium were treated to a lengthy rant against public schools by a Baptist preacher from Texas.
The Rev. Voddie Baucham Jr., pastor at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas and founder of Voddie Baucham ministries, is indignant that so many "blood-washed" Christians choose to send their children to public schools. He boasted about his involvement in pushing a resolution before the Southern Baptists' annual convention that calls on church members to yank their kids from public schools.
"If we continue to send our children to Caesar for their education, we need to stop being surprised when they come home as Romans," Baucham said.
Baucham encouraged the gathering to do what his family does, which is to keep children at home and immerse them in religiosity. The towering pastor - virtually the only African-American at the conference - noted that his son Trey travels with him full time.
"Trey travels everywhere with me," he said. "Trey is 14 years old; I am his teacher. When our sons reach the age of 13, they go through a rite of passage; they enter into manhood. And when they enter into manhood, their mother closes up the books and hands them to me."
Wouldn't you like to know what that "rite of passage" is? Probably something sexual and most likely against the law of the land, such as it is for people like this.
Ridgecrest is a very large Baptist "retreat." I once attended a weekend conference there when I was still a believer. It's quite impressive as those kinds of places go, and I'm not surprised that these extremist Christians really believe fervently what they're saying. They're nuts...and they're very dangerous in more ways than one. Before Bush became president they were viewed more as cultists, although they were and are tolerated by other, less radical Christians, kind of like snake handlers are. Now, they're Christian "soldiers" who want a piece of that powerful political pie.
They're scary, they're dangerous, and they're very extreme, just like the present POTUS and VPOTUS. Islamic extremists have absolutely nothing on these people.
(See dori's link for the quote).