HOUSTON, April 29, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Gov. Mike Huckabee, presumed 2016 Republican presidential candidate, addressed more than 1,000 Latino Evangelical leaders as the featured speaker at the evening awards dinner at The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC)/CONEL annual convention in Houston, Texas.
"The person I am going to introduce to you is a great friend," said Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of NHCLC/CONEL, in introducing Gov. Huckabee from the platform. "He understands with hard work and a good value system you can live the American dream. He is a born-again Christian, who loves Jesus and he is a champion of many of our causes."
Alluding to the oral arguments regarding same-sex marriage heard by the Supreme Court on April 28, Gov. Huckabee spoke to the critical protection of religious liberty.
"All of our ancestors came to this country hoping for something that we have been uniquely given and that is liberty—religious liberty. And it is under assault," Gov. Huckabee said. "May I say to you that I respect the courts, but the Supreme Court is only that – the supreme of the courts. But it is not the Supreme Being…the court cannot change what God has created."
Gov. Huckabee shared a story of meeting Dmitri, a man who left the Soviet Union in 1988, just one year before the fall of The Berlin Wall. When asked about why he left, the man said it was because his government lied to him.
"I wish more people appreciated their freedom – what freedom really means from the heart of someone who knew what it was like to live without it," said Gov. Huckabee. "God has given us, by His grace, the opportunity to be the preservers of this Republic – not so we could selfishly take from it, but rather give to it."
Gov. Huckabee challenged attendees to pray for our country every day.
"We owe it to our children and grandchildren to give them a world that is not falling apart but one that we are working to put back together," he said. "The one thing we need to do every night of our lives is get on our knees and thank God we live in a country where people are trying hard to get in and not trying to get out of."
In addition to Gov. Huckabee's address, a number of key issues were also discussed during an afternoon press conference, including:
Higher Standards of Education
The NHCLC/CONEL's education directive advocates for Latino student success from preschool through graduate school by resourcing and activating families, churches and communities. Because each student is created in the image of God and deserves a high quality education, NHCLC/CONEL creates education resources and events, which promote discussion and action.
"What we need is to raise the standards across the board," said Dr. Carlos Campo, NHCLC/CONEL education directive leader and founder of the Faith & Education Coalition. "We must begin a new narrative. It is now time to prepare our students effectively for life, for college and for being a citizen in this country. We must raise the standards in the classroom, church and in the home."
NHCLC/CONEL education initiatives and resources are found online at www.faithandeducation.com, alongside links to Christian university and seminary partners.
21 Martyrs Religious Persecution Campaign
Named for the 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians murdered on February 2015 by the hands of ISIS terrorists, the NHCLC/CONEL 21 Martyrs Campaign joins religious leaders from around the nation to call upon all Christians to pray for and stand against religious persecution worldwide.
"NHCLC/CONEL is an organization that knows what it is like to be a minority," said Johnnie Moore, author of "Defying ISIS" and a key partner with the 21 Martyrs Campaign. "And these religious groups are minorities in their countries. Populations that survived Genghis Kahn now face eradication because of ISIS."
Moore went on to challenge the Church to educate itself, raise its voice and put unrelenting pressure on leaders of influence, provide humanitarian assistance – and most of all, to pray.
Liberty Tax Franchise Giveaway
John Hewitt, founder and president of Liberty Tax, announced it is partnering with NHCLC/CONEL to give 20 fully funded business franchises away in an effort to provide an opportunity to 20 Latino entrepreneurs.
TBN Salsa Launch
Scheduled to debut in 38 markets across the U.S. on June 1, 2015, the Convention provided a platform for NHCLC/CONEL and Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN), the world's largest Christian television network, to announce the launch of TBN Salsa. This joint venture 24-hour affinity network will be geared toward second- and third-generation Hispanics who have embraced their culture but have let go of the Spanish language, as well as non-Hispanic viewers who enjoy the unique warmth, passion and flavor of the Latino-American culture and faith community.
In response to Rev. Rodriguez' expressed desire to reach subsequent generations of Latinos with the Gospel, TBN Vice President Matthew Crouch said, "This is an incredible opportunity to reach tens of millions more individuals and families with programming that is engaging, inspirational, and impacts lives."
A full list of sessions and press conferences for the remainder of the Convention and further media information can be found at http://alarryross.com/newsroom/nhclc/2015nhclcconvention/.
NHCLC/CONEL is the world's largest Hispanic Christian organization. It serves as a representative voice for the more than 100 million Hispanic Evangelicals assembled in over 40,000 U.S. churches and another 500,000 congregations spread throughout the Spanish-speaking diaspora. For additional information, visit http://www.nhclc.org.
SOURCE National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference