IFAS | Freedom Writer | January 1994 | video.html

New Coalition video aims to deceive;
Robertson softens on abortion issue

In its recently released video, "America at the Crossroads," the Christian Coalition attempts to broaden its appeal for new members. In a departure from its original "America at a Crossroads" (1990), in which only white males appeared, the new video portrays women and African-Americans. Also featured are interviews with Christian Coalition "members" who testify about their high regard for the organization. What the viewer doesn't know, however, is that most of "members" interviewed are Christian Coalition salaried staff members.

"America at the Crossroads" boasts of the Christian Coalition's involvement in the 1993 New York City school board elections. Claiming that "pro-family candidates won 63% of the seats in the largest and most liberal school district in America," the video says that the Coalition worked closely with Catholic churches and distributed 500,000 non-partisan voter guides.

With all their purported success in New York, The Freedom Writer was surprised to learn that the Coalition can't pay its state director's salary. In November, sources told The Freedom Writer that Jeff Baran, who runs the state office near Buffalo, hasn't received a paycheck in four months.

And finally, is Pat Robertson now pro-choice? Those watching him early in November on Ted Koeppel's "Nightline" might think so. "I would urge people, as a matter of private choice, not to choose abortion, because I think it's wrong," Robertson said. "It's something else, though, in the political arena to go out on a quixotic crusade when you know that you will be beaten, continuously. So I say, let's do what is possible. What is possible is parental consent."

Asking only for parental consent before minors can get abortions is a long way from Robertson's earlier views on abortion. In 1984, Robertson said, "Abortion is the taking of a human life...abortion is tantamount to murder."

Christian Right leaders continue to surprise observers of the movement. With the stealth advantage removed, and much adverse publicity for their extreme views, the leaders of the Religious Right are attempting to find ways to appeal to a broader audience. A change in rhetoric, though, doesn't change its theocratic goals.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.