The "teavangelicals" are back and they're ready to rumble.
At the Road to Majority Conference in Washington Friday, a convention designed to "build a conservative, pro-family majority" in coming elections, hundreds of socially conservative delegates heard from GOP leaders about how President Barack Obama's administration had trampled on their religious liberties - and that now is the time to do something about it.
"We need to hear from you. The left likes to think that we are the fringe. Guess what: You, us, we are the mainstream," said Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. Ryan said that the mainstream has had enough of "big government undermining religious liberties," such as recent revelations that the Internal Revenue Service had targeted conservatives, including pro-life groups.
A similar refrain was heard by tea party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who told Whispers she expects faith-based voters to turn out in droves in 2014 and 2016 because "they're recognizing they're losing religious liberty."
Bachmann has long warned that the government was trampling on Americans' religious liberties, including a recent allegation that the Pentagon might court-martial soldiers of Christian faith.
Michael Medved, a conservative talk show host, told delegates at the conference that "teavangelicals" had only lost the 2012 presidential election because of "lopsided" demographics.
"We lost because Barack Obama won crushing lopsided majorities among Americans who are single, poor, irreligious," he said. "Who wants to live life as single, poor, and irreligious?"
Medved noted that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney won majorities among people who earn well, go to church or synagogue, or are married – and that social conservatives could win if those people turned out in 2016.
Conservative evangelical leader Ralph Reed, whose Faith and Freedom Coalition hosted the conference, said the "road to majority" meant winning majorities in the House and the Senate, as well as taking back the White House in 2016.
"We don't want to be greedy," Reed said, then boasted that social conservatives would win upcoming gubernatorial races as well.
The Faith and Freedom Coalition is already working toward its goals on the ground. In Virginia, which will hold elections for governor and attorney general in November, the group has three field directors and five full-time field offices in place as part of a $1 million get-out-the-vote campaign.
"A lot of people… have dual citizenship: They have a membership card in the tea party movement, and they are also conservative evangelicals or Catholics," Gary Marx, executive director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, told Whispers. "So we're working to get them trained and equipped to work at the grassroots level."