Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll gave a rip-roaring, 6½-minute speech Thursday that could substitute as a Sunday morning sermon at most any evangelical church.
"Today, unfortunately, many in the media would like nothing better (than) to ridicule Christians," Carroll said at the Faith & Freedom Coalition event kicking off Presidency 5. "They promote the Da Vinci Code, they place doubt in the public's mind that Christ was not risen and they condemn the Passion of the Christ."
Carroll said Americans were allowing "the minority to poison the minds of the majority."
"This is exactly what dictators and socialist rulers did," Carroll said.
Carroll described an America where Christians are politically persecuted for their beliefs. She asked whether anyone would recognize Jesus if he appeared.
"In today's society we will trust the car salesmen and the government more than we trust in the Lord," she said.
Carroll says she made it through a recent health scare because of prayers. "The only reason I survived was because God heard my professed commitment to him."
"There is no gray area," she said. "You either believe or you don't believe."
She said God "whips up a storm to let us know we are not in control."
"When these storms are brewing up you never hear anyone praying to Satan," Carroll said.
Swag and luxury
Presidency 5 came to life at the Orange County Convention Center with delegates and reporters registering and booth after booth being assembled and stocked for the three-day Republican bonanza. Rick Perry is going all out, hanging large banners above a main intersection and stocking the swag bag with stickers, literature and two tickets to the delegate breakfast he is paying for Saturday morning, hours before the straw poll.
The media room is over-the-top, a tricked-out lounge furnished by Google with plush carpeting, couches, bean bag chairs, a smoothie bar and more. The Republican Party of Florida has issued 600 media credentials, representing about 350 different organizations.
Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter has ended his longshot bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
McCotter's congressional office said he will support former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and will likely run again for his House seat representing suburban Detroit.
McCotter is a conservative who was first elected to Congress in 2002. His presidential bid gained little traction after he entered the race in July.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.