IFAS | Freedom Writer | November/December 1991 | coalition.html

Christian right is born again

Ever since the Moral Majority folded there has been no single group whose name was synonymous with the religious right. However, Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition is about to change that.

Founded in October, 1989, the Coalition has grown to some 140,000 members in about 40 states, with 200 chapters, mostly in the South and West. They intend to take over the Republican Party from the inside, and elect thousands of right-wing Christians to s tate and local office as well as the Congress through a massive and disciplined bloc of voters. At their recent Road to Victory national leadership conference in Virginia Beach, almost every session was devoted to instruction in the mechanics of how t o do it. About 800 people attended.

Among the conference speakers were Vice-President Dan Quayle, Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC), Rep. Guy Vander Jagt (R-MI), Phyllis Schlafly, and Christian Reconstructionist author and activist George Grant.

Gary Bauer, of the Family Research Council (an arm of James Dobson's Focus on the Family ministry), set the tone for the conference: "Obviously, this conference is about the 1992 elections," he said. The reason this and all elections are important, he sai d, is because "We are engaged in a social, political, and cultural civil war."

The Coalition is largely a reorganized version of Robertson's presidential campaign, with many of the same people, but with a non-profit tax status and few reporting requirements.

Robertson now believes there are enough votes on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, and what he calls "Supreme Court sponsored extreme anti-religion bias against public affirmation of religious faith." Therefore, he sees many church/state s eparation issues, as well as abortion, being turned over to state and local governments. "This means that coalitions of Christians must target the legislative and school board races of their states and cities," he wrote in the October/November issue of hi s newsletter, Pat Robertson's Perspective. "This decade will not be for the faint of heart, but for the resolute," he continued. "Institutions will be plunged into wrenching change. We will be living through one of the most tumultuous periods in hu man history. When it is over, I am convinced God's people will emerge victorious. But no victory comes without a battle. Our prayer must be 'Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.'"

This kind of apocalyptic Christian triumphalism is also clear from the organization's very name. In his closing speech, Robertson said they didn't choose a name according to the current fashion, emphasizing "traditional values," or a "pro-family agenda." "I said no!" he shouted. "I am a Christian! I am not ashamed of Jesus! And we will call this the Christian Coalition. And if other people don't like it, that's just tough luck."

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.