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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Christian conservatives who support the Republican Party have held a rally in Tampa, Fla., ahead of this week's Republican National Convention.
The Faith & Freedom Coalition heard prayers, music and speeches from GOP conservative leaders and hopefuls looking for the support.
The coalition was founded by Ralph Reed, a conservative political activist who once headed the Christian Coalition during the 1990's and later worked with the Bush-Cheney campaigns. Reed says the Christian right didn't turn out in force in 2008 and deserves some of the blame for the outcome of the election.
Former candidate Newt Gingrich said he believes evangelicals will play a major role in upsetting what he called the "Washington establishment" and will help get the country "back on the right track." Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said the Obama administration and Congress have threatened religious freedom by passing health care reform legislation.
The coalition event, held at a theater, drew a protest from demonstrators opposed to the coalition's position against abortion and same-sex marriage. About 50 people blocked a nearby street but moved on when police asked them to leave.