CPAC’14 preliminary schedule shows little about the life issues

CPAC 2014 is less than two weeks away: probably the biggest gathering of conservatives (not all of them pro-life) you’re likely to find outside a party convention. My media credential is printed and ready to be packed. A preliminary list of topics for the main-stage and breakout sessions came out today.

Note the parenthetical phrase in the preceding paragraph.

At last year’s CPAC, I listened to Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life and Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List, and I watched an early screening of 3801 Lancasterand I heard mainstage speakers like Ben Carson and Eric Metaxas take on  “social issues” with gusto.

Well, at least Metaxas and Carson will be back this year.

This year’s schedule so far includes presentations and panels on Obamacare, the role of the executive branch vis-a-vis the legislative branch, the economy and immigration. I can attend sessions about marijuana legalization, privacy issues, criminal justice reform, Common Core, conservatism within the entertainment industry, entrepreneurism, and social media.

Life and religious liberty haven’t made the cut yet. There’s nothing listed about the HHS mandate, with a Supreme Court ruling on it due within a few months. This is an odd omission. “Expect additions and changes in the coming days,” says the schedule. Let’s hope so.

I do see a scheduled panel entitled “Why Conservatism is Right for Women: how conservatives should talk about life, prosperity, and national security.”  I devoutly hope no one from the RNC – at least, no one who was on the RNC in 2012 – will be on that panel to try to explain how conservatives should talk about life.

The truth remains that not every pro-lifer is conservative, and not every conservative is pro-life. Undoubtedly, some of CPAC’s mainstage speakers will seize the opportunity to put life and religious liberty up there where they belong. It’s interesting, though, to see what’s on the agenda so far.