February 9th, 2008
10:20 PM ET
14 years ago

Huckabee to speak at Falwell's church

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/07/art.huckabee.ap.jpg caption="Huckabee will speak at Thomas Road Baptist Church on Sunday."]

RICHMOND, Virginia (CNN) - If it's Sunday in a primary state, it must be time to meet Mike Huckabee at your local church.

But the place of worship Huckabee is visiting tomorrow isn't just any old Baptist church.

His just-released schedule lists a 10:55 a.m. speaking appearance at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. Observers of the American evangelical movement will recognize the venue as the once-obscure 35-member congregation founded in 1956 by Rev. Jerry Falwell.

Before his death last May, Falwell transformed Thomas Road into a thriving megachurch and the cornerstone of his influential network of Christian conservatives, headquartered in Lynchburg.

Though John McCain and Falwell made public amends in 2006 after McCain had famously labeled him and Pat Robertson "agents of intolerance," Falwell's family members have not endorsed any Republican presidential hopeful. (Falwell's son Jonathan said he had spoken to McCain on the phone in recent days, but was not ready to endorse him.)

Though McCain remains the favorite to win the Virginia primary on Tuesday, Huckabee, the ordained Baptist preacher, will get a symbolic boost out of the appearance and is likely to get the sort of warm reception that has greeted him in pulpits around the country during his underdog presidential bid. An estimated one-third of Virginia primary voters call themselves evangelical Christians, according to the Washington Post.

Huckabee will also speak at a church in the Richmond suburbs late Sunday.

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Mike Huckabee • Virginia
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Kirsten, F'burg, Virginia

    Actually, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Chancellor of Liberty University, has endorsed Huckabee.

    February 10, 2008 05:46 am at 5:46 am |