IFAS | Freedom Writer | January 1994 | rtv-3.html

Coalition opens doors to public,
but forgets the welcome mat

Cloaked in secrecy in 1991 and 1992, this year's Road to Victory conference was allegedly open to the media and the paying public. So, Skipp Porteous and Barbara Simon, of the Institute for First Amendment Studies, paid the registration fee and attended the September 9th and 10th conference at the Hilton in Washington, D.C. On the afternoon of the second day, the group divided into state caucuses. By this time, most of the media had left.

Simon and Porteous headed for the Massachusetts caucus. On the way, however, Christian Coalition security personnel nabbed Porteous and barred him from entering, claiming his presence would be "disruptive." Simon eluded them and went into the meeting. Patricia Hoffmann, who conducted the Massachusetts meeting, told Simon to leave. "We're here to build our state, and you're not welcome!" Hoffmann said. When Simon protested, Hoffmann threatened to have her "removed bodily" if she didn't leave promptly. "That's not very Christian of you," Simon replied before leaving of her own accord.

Meanwhile, other security personnel gathered around Porteous. Soon the Christian Coalition's national field director, Guy Rodgers, joined them. Rodgers took credit for barring the couple from the secret meetings. Then, Coalition executive director Ralph Reed appeared. He freely admitted to issuing the order barring Simon and Porteous. When Porteous questioned him concerning his directive, Reed retorted, "You're not pro-family!" Porteous then stated, "I beg your pardon, I am pro-family." Reed responded, "Well, you're not pro-family conservative." Porteous had the last word when he countered with, "But I am pro-family just not your brand of pro-family."

Represented by almost 300 Coalition members from Pennsylvania, that state's Christian Coalition chapter was awarded a $10,000 prize for having the most delegates at Road to Victory 1993. This Christian Coalition chapter successfully utilized educational issues to rally support.

Its success has led the Pennsylvania state chapter to purchase the Aristotle voter identification program. This computer program, which is commercially available nationwide, costs approximately $30,000 (per state list) and identifies every registered voter in that state. The Christian Coalition's national office will kick in $5,000 toward the purchase price. Christian Coalition state chapters currently using Aristotle include: California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. The state chapters provide the local chapters with this program so that they can compare registered voters with the membership lists of local conservative Christian churches. These church members are then targeted by the Coalition for involvement as Christian political activists.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.