By NIKKI JUNEWICZ, WZTV
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - Vice President Mike Pence rallied his conservative Christian base in Nashville on Tuesday.
He addressed the crowd at the 75th Convention of National Religious Broadcasters, an event focused on freedom of speech for conservatives. Representatives of the NRB think of Pence as one of their own, an evangelical Christian with a passion for religious freedom.
Christian values as they relate to foreign and domestic policy served as the basis for his remarks Tuesday afternoon.
"I'm a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order," Pence said.
Pence has never been shy about his beliefs and Tuesday he fired up a crowd of his Christian supporters. He touted the ways in which his administration is on their side, whether it's in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism or abortion.
"I was honored to cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate and have the president sign a bill that empowers all 50 states to defund Planned Parenthood," Pence said.
U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and 2016 presidential candidate Ben Carson joined Pence as a surprise guest at the Nashville event. Carson told the crowd the story of a time he talked a woman out of having an abortion.
"When you speak out, you'll be demonized and you'll be accused of everything under the sun, but that's OK," Carson said. "Our job as people of faith is simply to do what's right."
The main focus of this year's NRB Convention is online censorship of content expressing Christian values. For instance, the Twitter dispute with Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. As an example, organizers raised the site pulling her campaign announcement video where she claims she "stopped the sale of baby body parts."
"We believe freedom of speech is an important First Amendment principle and that one of our duties is to aggressively defend freedom of speech, and so we're doing that online as well as in other formats," said Jim Smith, NRB vice president of communications.
Pence concluded his remarks by talking about this month's horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida, telling members of the NRB that their ministry is needed now more than ever.