The Awakening Speakers 2012

Uniting our Voices around Shared Values
Turning Voices into Votes

Go to Speaker Biography Page Two or Page Three  or return to The Awakening 2012 Main Page

Dean Shawn Akers, J.D. Esq., is the Dean of Liberty University’s Helms School of Government and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law at Liberty University School of Law. He regularly works with national conservative, faith-based, and public policy leaders and organizations on matters of public policy, lobbying, and elections.   Dr. Akers has served as a Policy Analyst with Liberty Counsel, has drafted a variety of scholarly and popular articles and policy analyses, and has been a guest or co-host on national radio programs discussing political and public policy issues. Dr. Akers provides counsel to public officeholders and has served as a consultant to political candidates and campaigns. Dr. Akers earned his Juris Doctorate and a Masters Degree in Public Policy from Regent University. Dr. Akers served as a member of the Regent University Law Review and represented the law school in Trial Practice competitions. After successful private practice, Dr. Akers joined Liberty University School of Law. During his tenure at the law school, Dr. Akers designed and launched the law school’s first public policy courses which cover all aspects of public policy, including running political campaigns, as well as election law, lobbying, grassroots activism, nonprofit and political organizational structures, political action committees, and proposing and drafting public policy. 

Ted Baehr is Founder and Publisher of MOVIEGUIDE®: The Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment and Chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission® ministry, as well as a noted critic, educator, lecturer, and media pundit. His life’s purpose is to be used of God to redeem the values of the media while educating audiences on how to use discernment in selecting their entertainment. Ted has been a featured guest on Oprah, Hannity and Colmes, CNN, ABC, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and Entertainment Tonight. Ted’s work has been featured in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, The L.A. Times, The Washington Post, Hollywood Reporter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and U.S. News and World Report. Ted is Chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission® ministry (CFTVC), a non-profit organization dedicated to redeeming the values of the mass media of entertainment by influencing the entertainment industry and by informing and equipping the general public of the impact that the mass media has on its audiences. The CFTVC is the only active liaison between studio executives and the general public for issues of family entertainment and faith.

Dean Matt Barber, J.D. Esq., is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. He serves as Associate Dean and Adjunct Professor of Law at Liberty University School of Law. In addition to his law degree, Matt holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy from Regent University. Matt is a published, freelance columnist. Many newspapers and online publications regularly run his columns, including The Washington Times, The Washington Examiner,, and many more. In addition to frequent public speaking engagements, Matt has appeared as a cultural analyst on the Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN and is a regular guest on dozens of talk radio programs and networks, including Michael Savage, the G. Gordon Liddy Show, Dennis Prager, the Michael Medved Show, the Michael Reagan Show and others. Matt also co-hosts “Faith and Freedom,” a daily legal and cultural issues talk radio program heard on 90 stations across the country. Mr. Barber has a background in political campaigns, was press secretary for former gubernatorial candidate Jim Oberweis (R-IL), and is Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action. He sits on the boards of the Reagan Institute, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, and PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays). Matt served twelve years in the Army National Guard, was a law enforcement officer for three years, and a corporate fraud investigator for five years. Setting him apart from others in his field, Matt was an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, retiring in 2004. Prior to turning pro, he was a several-time state and regional Golden Gloves champion, competing in the 1992 Western Olympic Trials and winning a Gold Medal in the 1993 Police and Fire World Games. 

Honorable J. Ken Blackwell has a distinguished record of achievement as an educator, diplomat, and finance executive. As Ohio’s 51st Secretary of State, he was the state’s constitutional officer chiefly responsible for elections, the management of business records, and the protection of intellectual property and corporate identities. In 1994 he became the first African-American elected to a statewide executive office in Ohio when he was elected Treasurer of State. Mr. Blackwell is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and a former member of the federal Senior Executive Service. He is co-Chairman of the board of directors of the Campaign Finance Institute in Washington, D.C., a member of the Advisory Panel of the Federal Elections Commission, and a member of the Harvard Policy Group on Network-Enabled Services and Government. Mr. Blackwell is a member of the national advisory boards of the Princeton Review and Youth for Christ. Several of his speeches and lectures have been published in “Vital Speeches of the Day.” His commentaries have been carried in major newspapers across the United States, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, as well as all major newspapers in Ohio. He is a regular guest commentator for Salem Communications. He also has been a frequent guest on network and broadcast news and public affairs programs, including The O’Reilly Factor, Crossfire, Inside Politics, The Jim Lehrer Newshour, and Hardball with Chris Matthews.

Pastor Eliezer Bonilla has been the head pastor of the Abundant Life Church of God in San Antonio, Texas, since 1998. Abundant Life has grown from 200 members to over 2,000 in worship services every Sunday.  The key to the growth has been spiritual revival and small group plants all around the city. This approach has been manifested by birthing three congregations within the church, where a multilingual emphasis is given in three thriving services, each celebrated in English, Spanish, and the newest a bilingual experience in a highly bilingual community. The church is in the middle of a ten-year strategy, where a total of four campuses are to be planted by the year 2017, two of which are already functional. This approach is what Warren Byrd of Leadership Network calls a multi-hub ministry. Pastor Bonilla is married to Dorcas, and together they have three children, Eliezer Jr, Alyssa, and Priscilla. 

Jared Bridges is Director of Online Communications for Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., where he oversees the organization's internet strategy including web, email, video, social media, and whatever arrives next on the scene. A native of Tennessee, he studied advertising at the University of Tennessee, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Communications. Following his undergraduate work, Bridges lived in the former Soviet Union, where he served as a campus minister with Campus Crusade for Christ. Upon returning to the States, he studied at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, majoring in biblical and theological studies. He received a Master of Divinity in theology in 2003. An internet veteran, Bridges published his first website in 1996 (the dark ages of the Internet) and has since maintained a presence on the web. From 2000-2006, Bridges worked for Spalding Group in Louisville, where he designed and implemented web and e-commerce solutions for political candidates whose offices ranged from city council to the U.S. Senate and the White House, including the design and maintenance of the official campaign store for the Bush-Cheney Presidential campaigns. He has operated his personal blog, TruePravda, since 2003, and also writes for First Things' evangelical blog, Evangel.

Vonette Bright is cofounder of Campus Crusade for Christ, along with her late husband, Dr. William R. Bright. She earned her B.A. in home economics from Texas Women’s University and did graduate work in the field of education at the University of Southern California. Vonette taught in Los Angeles schools before joining Bill full-time at Campus Crusade. Vonette’s commitment to help reach the world for Christ has fueled a passion for prayer and a desire to help others develop a heart for God. She serves as Chair for The Bright Media Foundation and maintains an amazing schedule from her home in Orlando.

Tony Calatayud is the National Director for Salem Espanol, the 7 station Spanish language division of publicly traded Salem Communications. Tony was given the charge of creating the division from its genesis in 2007. During the next 18 months, he identified and launched the ‘Radio Luz’ brand of Hispanic Christian Talk/Teach programming in Denver, Atlanta, Boston, Sacramento, Seattle, Omaha and Miami. Tony also is General Manager of Salem’s successful Miami cluster of stations since 2006 which include 1080AM-WMCU (English Christian), 1360AM-WKAT (Spanish Christian) and 880AM-WZAB (Business Radio). His background includes investment banking, television, international business, motivational speaking and radio including being the founder of a Hispanic Christian radio station in Miami from 2001-2005. Tony has been on the Board of Directors of the Florida Association of Broadcasters (FAB) since 2005. He is also on National Board of Directors of the (NHCLC), the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the nations top evangelical Hispanic organization encompassing over 31,000 churches under its umbrella. In addition, Tony is the founder and Chairman of the growing Hispanic Conservative group Conservadores based in Coral Gables, Florida which was one of the earliest supporters of the Marco Rubio for US Senate campaign and was 6 for 6 as to assisting Hispanic candidates in the 2010 election cycle to win their respective races.

Mandi Campbell is the Legal Director of the Liberty Center for Law and Policy, a partnership between the Liberty University School of Law and Liberty Counsel; the Director of Public Policy for Liberty Counsel Action; and is an Adjunct Professor of Paralegal Studies at Liberty University School of Law. Mandi focuses her time on monitoring and analyzing legislation and policy and working with local, state, and federal elected and appointed officials and agencies in drafting legislation that relates to the sanctity of life, the family, and religious liberties. Mandi also interfaces with elected and appointed government officials to open opportunities for internships and externships for students. Mandi began her career in law as a legal secretary for a small firm in Georgia, while she completed her Bachelor of Business Administration at Augusta State University. After completing her BBA, Mandi attended Liberty University School of Law, where she obtained her Juris Doctor.

Carlos Campo, Ph.D., is President of Regent University. He joined Regent as Vice President for Academic Affairs in 2008, following an impressive 20-year career in higher education. Campo has led a Regent University team to full accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Working with Regent's Board of Trustees, Campo helped form a “Spiritual Vitality Committee,” which initiates and enhances spiritual activities on campus to sustain the University’s Christ-centered mission. In addition, he worked with an effective team to launch “RU Global” and Regent University’s “Quality Enhancement Plan,” which focuses on “defining and enhancing Christian global competence” in students and faculty. A much-sought-after speaker, Campo delivered a keynote address at the third annual “Encuentro,” held at Virginia State University. He also delivered the commencement address at the International University in Vienna, receiving an honorary doctorate. Campo is a four-time recipient of one of academia’s most coveted recognitions, “Who’s Who Among American Teachers,” an accolade that is student-generated, recognizing a professor who has had a significant impact on the nominating student’s life.

Rev. Dr. Clenard Childress, Jr. is the founder and director LEARN Northeast and assistant national director of LEARN, Inc. His runs the website, which is the main page for black pro-life activism and videos.  He also appears on the documentary Maafa 21 Black Genocide in 21st Century America and has been very effective on reaching the membership of the NAACP. Dr. Childress is also the author of the book No Shepherd's Cry which was featured on the 700 Club. He is published in Washington Times, Christianity Today and others.

George Cope has pastored Calvary Assembly of God in Winter Park, FL, since 2006. Following a direct command from the Holy Spirit he received at the age of thirteen, Cope has openly shared his testimony throughout his ministerial career. His childhood journey was burdened by undiagnosed retention dyslexia, but following the Lord’s leading, he eventually became the president of Zion Bible Institute. His story has encouraged countless listeners throughout his years in ministry. Cope has also had a great deal of involvement in youth and inner-city ministry.


Dr. Alberto Delgado is the Founder and Senior Pastor of Alpha & Omega Church, a 5000-plus congregation located in the heart of Miami, FL.  He is a prolific writer of inspirational books and the television and radio host of the acclaimed “Todo Es Posible” or “All Things Are Possible” shows, which air on the Enlace/TBN Christian Network and on 1360 AM in South Florida, reaching over 52 million homes weekly throughout the U.S. and Latin America. Dr. Delgado currently serves as the President of the Greater Miami Ministers Association representing more than 300 churches in the Miami area, as well as serving on the Board of Directors of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the largest Latino Christian organization in America, providing leadership on behalf of the 15 million strong Hispanic evangelicals in the U.S. Dr. Delgado was recently awarded the Certificate of Congressional Recognition from Congressman David Rivera's office and the Foreign Affairs Committee for outstanding service to his community in South Florida.  Reverend Delgado also had the privilege of opening in prayer for the legislative session of the Congress of the United States on July 8, 2009.

Barrett Duke, Jr., Ph.D., is Vice President for Public Policy and Research and Director of the Research Institute of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), the Southern Baptist Convention’s agency for addressing social, moral, and religious liberty concerns. He has been with the agency since 1997. As Vice President for Public Policy and Research, Barrett directs the ERLC’s advocacy efforts through its Washington, D.C., office, communicating Southern Baptist convictions to elected and public officials in order to influence the development of sound public policy. Barrett has provided testimony before Congress and worked with legislators and various government agencies on many legislative and public policy issues, including abortion, euthanasia, gambling, homosexuality, hunger, judicial nominations, pornography, public education, poverty, religious liberty, sex trafficking, stem cell research, and substance abuse. A Founding Fellow of the Research Institute, Barrett oversees the Commission’s research and collection of data on a wide range of moral and religious liberty issues and meets twice annually with the distinguished Fellows to share research and formulate responses on today’s crucial issues. Barrett was president of the Denver Association Pastors' Conference from 1992 to 1993. He served on the Board of Trustees of the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in San Francisco from 1991 to 1996. He has also taught Old Testament at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s extension school in Nashville; Old Testament and Hebrew at the Denver Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary for four years; and ethics at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to his current position, Barrett was the founding pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Denver, Colorado, from 1984 to 1996.

Cynthia Dunbar, J.D. Esq., has almost twenty years of experience in private law practice and currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Law at Liberty University School of Law. In addition to her experiences in law, Prof. Dunbar has been extensively involved in Public Policy and Governmental Relations. In 2006 she was elected to the highly controversial Texas State Board of Education, to serve a four-year term through December 31, 2010. Her district encompasses 16 counties with approximately 1.5 million constituents. However, her work involving adoption of textbooks has had national impact and received both national and international media attention. Her efforts have earned her a position on Keith Olbermann’s "Worst of the Worse" and "Right-Wing Watch," and she has been vilified in the New York Times and the London Guardian, all of which she wears as a badge of honor.  She has been detailed in a feature article in the New York Times Magazine, on Hardball with Chris Matthews, on Fox News, and is a regular contributor on Fox and Friends. She is the Author of One Nation Under… and frequently travels around the nation discussing the Biblical framework for civil jurisprudence and America’s founding.

Rev. Joe Ellison* is Vice President of Pastoral Relations and Church Ministries for the Virginia Pastors Coalition, which is an outreach of the Virginia Christian Alliance. He is also the former Executive Director and Founder of Pastors for Family Values of The Family Foundation of Virginia. Joe is the Senior Pastor and Founder of Essex Village Evangelistic Church, located in Henrico, Virginia. As a result of his work, Joe has brought to Richmond some of the most dynamic outreach programs, that have set an example for other ministries across the nation.

 Lou Engle is the visionary and cofounder of The Call solemn assemblies. Lou’s passion is to call young adults into a lifestyle of radical prayer, fasting, holiness, and acts of justice. With over 30 years of history in praying for revival, Lou has helped plant two churches, the pro-life ministry Bound4LIFE, and helped raise up the first Justice House of Prayer (JHOP) in Washington, D.C., to pray for the Supreme Court and for righteous leaders in America. Since 2004, JHOPs have emerged in San Francisco, Boston, New York, Montgomery, and San Diego.

Frank Gaffney is the Founder and President of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C. Under Mr. Gaffney's leadership, the Center has been nationally and internationally recognized as a resource for timely, informed, and penetrating analyses of foreign and defense policy matters. Mr. Gaffney is the host of Secure Freedom Radio, a nationally syndicated radio program heard weeknights throughout the country. On Secure Freedom Radio, Mr. Gaffney addresses current and emerging threats to national security, sovereignty, and our way of life. Mr. Gaffney is the lead author of War Footing: Ten Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World, an "owners manual" for the new global conflict in which America finds itself engaged - the War for the Free World. Mr. Gaffney also contributes actively to the security policy debate in his capacity as a weekly columnist for the Washington Times,, and He is a contributor to National Review Online and his columns also appear periodically in, the New York Post and He is a featured weekly contributor to Hugh Hewitt's nationally syndicated radio program and a frequent guest on syndicated programs with hosts like Lars Larsen, Monica Crowley, Janet Parshall, Michael Reagan and Jim Bohannan. In addition, he appears often on national and international television and radio news programs. Over the years, his op.ed. articles have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New Republic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Los Angeles Times, National Review, Newsday, American Legion Magazine, and Commentary. In April 1987 Mr. Gaffney was nominated by President Reagan to become the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, the senior position in the Defense Department with responsibility for policies involving nuclear forces, arms control, and U.S.-European defense relations. He acted in that capacity for seven months, during which time he was the Chairman of the prestigious High Level Group, NATO's senior politico-military committee. He also represented the Secretary of Defense in key U.S.-Soviet negotiations and ministerial meetings. From August 1983 until November 1987, Mr. Gaffney was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy under Assistant Secretary Richard Perle. From February 1981 to August 1983, Mr. Gaffney was a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Senator John Tower (R-Texas). And, in the latter 1970's, Mr. Gaffney served as an aide to the late Senator Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson (D-Washington), in the areas of defense and foreign policy.

Hon. Newt Gingrich* is well-known as the architect of the “Contract with America” that led the Republican Party to victory in 1994. As an author, Newt has published twenty-two books, including 13 fiction and nonfiction New York Times best-sellers. Recent books include Valley Forge and To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine. Newt and his wife, Callista, host and produce historical and public policy documentaries. Recent films include America at Risk, Nine Days that Changed the World, Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny, and Rediscovering God in America. Newt Gingrich is Founder of the Center for Health Transformation, General Chairman of American Solutions for Winning the Future, a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the National Defense University, and Honorary Chairman of Renewing American Leadership.

Robert Gittelson is the Co-Founder of Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. After studying Economics at the University of Southern California, Robert Gittelson spent almost 30 years as an Apparel Manufacturer and Importer. He built his business working shoulder to shoulder with immigrants, and has a thorough understanding of the value that the immigrant population brings to our economy, as well as to our society. A frequent speaker at symposiums and panel discussions across America on immigration, he is the author of over 50 published articles, essays, and journal articles on the subject of Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Adriana Gonzalez has dedicated much of the last three years to the protection of parental rights. As the Florida State Coordinator of, Adriana worked to pass the Parental Rights Memorial in the Florida legislature in 2011. Most recently, she has helped to found a new organization, Catholics Called to Witness, a call to action to the Catholic community.  Adriana is blessed to be married to her best friend, Manny. Together they are raising and homeschooling their seven children.   


Thomas Hall* worked for Lou Engle, the founder and visionary for TheCall and TheCall to Conscience from 2004-2011. TheCall is a ministry that has filled stadiums with youth crying out for the nation and for the ending of abortion, for seven years.  It is divinely initiated by God and is multi-racial, multi generational, and cross-denominational. Since 2000, hundreds of thousands of youth have gathered together to fast and pray for America. In addition to serving Lou Engle, Thomas has worked with several other organizations helping them mobilize and reach the youth of the nation. Thomas sits on the Executive Committee for the Freedom Federation. In addition, he serves as a board member for The Oak Initiative along with major Christians and political leaders to serve as a youth liaison. Thomas started his own company called Hall & Brown Associates, which offers event management, event production, marketing, etc.  With this company he is actively working with many organizations in the Political and Christian sectors to help mobilize young people across the nation.

Debbie Hart has performed for churches, conventions and conferences across the United States as well as overseas.  She has a new CD release “Still Praising Him” which came out in 2011. In 2010 she traveled to the Holy Land with a tour hosted by Gov. Mike Huckabee and was honored to be asked to sing on the trip along with Pat Boone.  Most recently, she was the soloist for the Freedom Federation meeting held at Liberty University with guest speaker Newt Gingrich. She is currently the Vice-President of Investor Relations for the Timothy Plan, a Biblically based mutual fund, located in Maitland, Florida.

Go to Speaker Biography Page Two or Page Three  or return to The Awakening 2012 Main Page

* Invited Speakers