IFAS | Freedom Writer | January/February 1993 | senate.html

Religious extremists intimidate Senate candidate

U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner William Allen has charged a group of religious extremists with trying to intimidate him from running for the U.S. Senate on the Republican ticket. The group, "Christian Political Leaders in California," represented by Christian Reconstructionist leader Jay Grimstead, said in a letter that there would be three consequences if Allen pursued his candidacy.

The first was that they would expose Allen's campaign as indirectly aiding the "forces of darkness." The second "consequence" was that the group would ruin Allen's reputation, and finally, they said if Allen didn't withdraw immediately from the race he would be disciplined by God "however he sees fit," and that God "can deal very forcibly with us."

Allen filed a a complaint against the group with the California attorney general's office. Intimidation of a candidate is a violation of the California Election Code. The group writing the letter was drawn from the steering committee of the California Activists Network, headed by Grimstead, who also heads the Coalition On Revival. Congressman William Dannemeyer, one of Allen's opponents, is at the top of the list of its steering committee.

Some of the others listed in the letter were: Billy Falling, president, Christian Voter's League; Joseph Farah, editor, Sacramento Union; Duane Gish, vice-president, Institute for Creation Research; Don Rallman, regional director, Christian Coalition; Ben Ogilvie, Sacramento coordinator, American Family Association; Marilyn Jackson, district coordinator, Concerned Women for America; Jeff White, state director, Operation Rescue; Cyrus Zal, state legal counsel, Rutherford Institute; Dennis Peacocke, president, Strategic Christian Services; Robert Simonds, president, Citizens for Excellence in Education; and Sam Rodriguez, Rodriguez Campaign for State Superintendent of Schools.

The letter received by William Allen was followed by a "revised" letter. included with it was a handwritten letter from Jay Grimstead. In it, Grimstead expressed regret for Allen's receipt of the earlier letter, but did not express regret for the threatening content, only regret that someone had sent it before it was revised.

Allen says he is seeking the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate, not the Christian nomination. "While it does not constitute my claim to the office which I seek," he said, "I freely confess my Christianity and will not apologize for it. Nor will I apologize if my Christianity does not reflect a particularly reconstructed view of Christian dogmatics."

Allen, a black conservative, is a professor of government at Harvey Mudd College. He is seeking the Republican nomination for the remainder of Governor Pete Wilson's U.S. Senate term, a seat currently held by appointee John Seymour.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.