IFAS | Freedom Writer | June 1994 | update.html

Religious Right update

COR stays put for now

Sunnyvale, California -- Dr. Jay Grimstead, president and founder of the Coalition on Revival (COR), told The Freedom Writer that his organization has postponed plans to move to Colorado Springs. Originally scheduled for this spring, Grimstead now hopes to relocate to Colorado in the spring of 1995 and open Kingdom College in August of that year. "Enrollment," he said, "was not what we hoped for this year."

Grimstead also said that R.J. Rushdoony resigned from COR. Rushdoony is known as "the father of Christian Reconstruction." "Now," Grimstead said, "ninety-eight out of one-hundred of us are not Reconstructionists." Though Grimstead embraces numerous Reconstructionist viewpoints, he calls himself "a modern day Puritan." The only "pure" Reconstructionists left in COR, according to Grimstead, are Gary DeMar of Atlanta, and David Chilton of northern California. Chilton is recovering from a massive stroke.

The departure of Rushdoony came in the aftermath of Skipp Porteous and Jay Grimstead's debate on the "Pozner & Donahue Show." John Lofton, a columnist for Rushdoony's Chalcedon Report, blasted Grimstead for his performance on the TV show. Grimstead thinks Lofton's influence, and negative comments, affected Rushdoony's decision to withdraw from COR.

COR influence on Vista board?

Vista, California -- In their latest move, the conservative Christian majority of the five-member Vista, California, school board fired the school's staff attorney and replaced him with an attorney having Coalition on Revival connections. David L. Llewellyn, Jr. is president and special counsel to the Western Center for Law & Religious Freedom. The Sacramento-based group conducts "Chris-tian Citizenship Seminars" for Christian activists. The group's motto is "Liberty and Justice under God."

According to COR's magazine, Crosswinds: The Reformation Digest, David Llewellyn is a columnist assigned to "Christian Worldview Sphere Reports." Under that category, Llewellyn's topic is "Law and Public Policy." COR teaches that "the purpose of education is both to reveal God and to bring students into conformity with His revealed will." Additionally, COR holds that "All curriculum content must be integrated with and interpreted by God's truth as revealed in the Bible."

The Vista school board also voted to adopt Sex Respect, a controversial sex education program with religious overtones. Sex Respect, which has been legally challenged in school districts across the country, preaches a strict message of sexual abstinence and avoids any mention of contraception. The curriculum was chosen by the school board over a state-sanctioned "family life" program, despite costing $30 more per student to implement. The board's decision on Sex Respect is being challenged in the courts.

Focus on truth

Colorado Springs, Colorado -- Focus on the Family is spreading false information concerning school prayer. The mega-mail order ministry claims that a 1992 Supreme Court decision allows "non-sectarian voluntary prayer before assemblies, graduation and other public events if it is planned and led by students and a majority of students agree."

"Although not widely known," they wrote in their March 11, 1994 Pastor's Weekly Briefing,"a 1992 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court already allows such prayer in all 50 states."

IFAS notified Focus on the Family that the reason that this ruling is not widely known is that it is simply untrue. The only 1992 Supreme Court decision regarding school prayer (Lee v. Weisman) did not address the issue of students voting for school prayer. A later case, Jones v. Clear Creek Independent School District, decided in November 1992 by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, allows graduation prayer where a majority of graduating seniors requested that the prayer be given by a student volunteer. That decision, however, applies ONLY to the three states comprising the Fifth Circuit: Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. IFAS believes that eventually Jones will be reversed by the Supreme Court because fundamental rights are not subject to popular vote.

Focus on the Family responded to IFAS by faxing an article from their Citizen magazine, written by Bradley P. Jacob, executive director of the Christian Legal Society. The article included a portion of Justice Antonin Scalia's dissenting opinion in the Lee v. Weisman case. Nonetheless, only majority opinions, not dissenting opinions, become the law of our land.

Christian Identity expands in Florida

Orlando, Florida -- Pastor Pete Peters, the Colorado-based Christian Identity minister, recently announced his debut on WACX, TV 55, in Orlando, Florida. The powerful Orlando station has 100 affiliate cable outlets throughout much of Florida. Peters' program, "Truth for the Times," is also carried on the Keystone Inspiration Network, a Christian "family" cable network. While a spokesperson for Keystone has termed Peters' call to kill unrepentant homosexuals "unloving," they continue to carry the program.

While attending the National Religious Broadcasters conference in February, Peters convinced representatives of TV 55 to carry his controversial program. Meanwhile, Peters continues to thwart Connie Chung's efforts to interview him for "Eye to Eye."

TVC thwarted

California educators have reinstated a controversial short story to a statewide achievement test, reversing a February decision to remove the story. The story, Alice Walker's "Roselily," was pulled from the test after the Traditional Values Coalition criticized it for being "anti-religious." TVC's Lou Sheldon, however, was not daunted. "We'll be here every month and make sure that religiously offensive works...will not be included in the test," he said.

Christians preferred

A recent ad seen in a local Massachusetts paper: Sheffield Apt. for rent; 2 bedroom, large, yard, born-again Christians preferred. $550 a month. Call (413) 229-3001. Leave message.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.