IFAS | Freedom Writer | January 1994 | cnp.html

Council for National Policy members
hold cloistered session in Saint Louis

Over 200 members of the secretive Council for National Policy (CNP) held closed-door meetings at the Hyatt Regency in St. Louis on October 22 and 23, 1993. Founded in 1981, the CNP membership is a virtual who's who of the religious and political right-wing in the United States. The CNP exists as a networking vehicle for right-wing leadership. CNP meetings enable members to become acquainted with one another and to plan short- and long-term strategies.

At the October meeting, CNP members discussed the implementation of "school choice" as a mechanism for the elimination of public education. It was reported that CNP member the Rev. Duane Motley, executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms (NYCF), told the audience that his group is organizing churches in New York State. Motley received an enthusiastic response from his fellow CNP members when he informed them that he has organized more than 130 churches, which are providing a monthly stipend for NYCF's lobbying efforts in Albany, New York.

Morton Blackwell, CNP's executive director, said that rules governing the meetings are designed to "allow open, uninhibited remarks from our speakers." CNP meetings are closed to the media and general public. The group makes every effort to avoid letting the media know when or where it meets or who participates in its programs. Any members desiring to bring guests may only do so with the advanced, unanimous approval from CNP's Executive Committee. The CNP membership list is strictly confidential. To encourage openness, it is the group's policy that speakers' remarks at Council meetings are off the record and not for circulation.

Indeed, members do speak freely. One CNP member was overheard using racist and anti-Semitic language, making references to "Jew-boy" and "nigger."

Judy Brown, president of the American Life League, was welcomed as a new member. Other recent new members include: Barbara Alby, John Ankerberg, Lee LaHaye, Edward G. Atsinger III, Benjamin Bull, and Ralph Reed. Alby is a California Assemblywoman. Ankerberg is a television evangelist. LaHaye, the son of the Rev. Tim and Beverly LaHaye, is comptroller of Concerned Women for America. Atsinger is president of Salem Communications (which recently purchased Pat Robertson's CBN radio network). Bull is senior litigation counsel for Pat Robertson's American Center for Law and Justice's western regional office in Phoenix. He was formerly general counsel of Rev. Don Willdmon's American Family Association and Charles H Keating's Citizen's for Decency through Law. Reed is executive director of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition.

With about 205 in attendance at the gala dinner, the seating arrangements placed Ralph Reed and his wife Jo Anne, with Linda Bean Folkers (L.L. Bean board member), state director of the Christian Coalition of Maine. Paul Weyrich, of the Free Congress Foundation, and Network Empowerment Television, joined Holly Coors, vice chairman of A Christian Ministry in the National Parks, and board member of the Adolf Coors Foundation, at another table.

Former Attorney General Edwin Meese III is the CNP's current president. Past presidents include: Rich DeVoss of the Amway Corporation, Pat Robertson, and the Rev. Tim LaHaye.

Informed sources told The Freedom Writer that the 1994 CNP meetings are set for February 4 and 5 in Palm Beach, Florida; May 6 and 7 in Arlington, Virginia; and November 18 and 19 in New Orleans.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.