IFAS | Freedom Writer | March/April 2000 | bush.html

What is 'W' hiding?

San Antonio, Texas Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush's speech at the ultrafundamentalist Bob Jones University in South Carolina this past February wasn't the first time in recent history that the Texas Governor addressed such a gathering. Just last October, Bush appeared behind closed doors at a Council for National Policy meeting in San Antonio, Texas. Efforts to obtain a tape or transcript of his remarks at the secretive meeting have been blocked by the Bush campaign.

The Council for National Policy (CNP) is a right-wing umbrella group founded in 1981 through the inspiration of the Rev. Tim LaHaye, a graduate of Bob Jones University. (Bob Jones III, the chancellor of Bob Jones University, who considers Roman Catholicism and Mormonism cults, is also a member of this elite group.)

Subsequent to the conference, Freedom Writer ordered a full set of its audiotapes. Upon their arrival, the Bush tape was missing from the set. We called Skynet Media, Inc., an independent Oregon company that records the meetings for the benefit of CNP members. They apologized for not including the Bush tape, and offered a partial refund. They explained that the Bush campaign wouldn't allow them to release the tape.

When asked if they actually have the Bush tape, Curt Morse, a spokesperson for Skynet replied, "We do." We said, "And it's not available at any price?" Morse responded, "I wish!"

Scott Sforca, a press officer for the George W. Bush for President campaign office, told Freedom Writer that the CNP meeting "doesn't ring a bell" with him.

When the Rev. Tim LaHaye founded CNP, he enlisted the help of several Texas billionaires. Today, LaHaye is the co-author of a series of popular books about the "end-times" and the Second Coming of Christ. He was also a co-founder of the Moral Majority. In the 1980s he headed the American Coalition for Traditional Values. While heading that group, LaHaye said, "If every Bible-believing, Christ-loving church would trust God to raise up an average of just one person over the next 10 years who would get elected, we would have more Christian candidates than there are offices."

LaHaye's wife, Beverly, founded Concerned Women for America, a politically active group claiming 600,000 fundamentalist women as members. Tim and Beverly LaHaye met while attending Bob Jones University.

Hostility to the Constitution's separation of church and state is the defining feature of the religious right. While all the members of the CNP are not Christian fundamentalists, they are hostile to church/state separation and work toward implementing an ultraconservative agenda. Its secretive membership boasts antiabortion activists, gun rights proponents, religious crusaders, antitax advocates, financiers, politicians, and political organizers. The CNP has more than 500 members, who were admitted by invitation-only, including senators, congressmen, and leaders of almost every national radical-right group. Among them are Christian Coalition president Pat Robertson; political strategist Ralph Reed; Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina; Congressmen Dick Armey and Tom Delay of Texas; the Conservative Caucus' Howard Phillip; Gun Owners of America head Larry Pratt; radio talk show host Oliver North; direct mail wizard Richard Viguerie; Texas billionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt; Amway Corporation founder Richard DeVos; Focus on the Family head James Dobson; recent presidential candidate Gary Bauer, and the founder of the American Family Association, Rev Donald Wildmon.

While CNP meetings are closed to the public and the press, it is important that all the views and statements of a presidential candidate be made known to the voting public. Therefore, the Bush campaign owes it to the American people to release the remarks of Governor George W. Bush.

© 2000 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.