On September 16th and 17th, 1994, the Christian Coalition held its fourth annual Road to Victory conference and strategy briefing in Washington, DC. Over 3,000 delegates from around the nation attended lectures and workshops on political activism at the Washington Hilton.
A parade of speakers entertained and inspired the audience every morning. Afternoon breakout sessions dealt with the nuts and bolts of politicking.
Pat Robertson was scheduled to deliver the opening remarks on Friday morning, but instead Ralph Reed promptly introduced the first keynote speaker, the Rev. D. James Kennedy. During Kennedy's sermon, a Christian Coalition spokesperson circulated among the press explaining Robertson's absence.
He said that a mid-flight explosion aboard Robertson's jet knocked out the hydraulic system and rendered the plane inoperable. The pilot returned the plane to the airport and the plane's controls failed immediately after landing. After Kennedy's speech, Reed publicly announced the steering problems, but didn't mention the alleged explosion.
D. James Kennedy preached about "real Christians" versus Christians "in name only." If real Christians become active, he said, they can return the nation to where it was 35 years ago. Thirty-five years ago, he claimed, we didn't have homosexuality, sex education, pornography, adultery, or condoms. What we did have, though, Kennedy noted, was prayer in school.
In an obvious attempt to deflect recent criticisms of anti-Semitism within the ranks of the Religious Right, the rest of the morning featured a lineup of conservative Jewish leaders. They included movie critic Michael Medved, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, and Boston Herald columnist Don Feder.
Speaker after speaker echoed the theme of anti-Christian bigotry, angrily denouncing any and all who oppose the Christian Right's political agenda. Along the same line, most of the speakers attempted to paint the members of the Religious Right as mainstream Americans. "When the average American looks in the mirror," asserted Don Feder, "he is looking at the Religious Right."
"Giving Christians a voice in their government again" is the motto of the Christian Coalition. Claiming membership in excess of one million members, the Christian Coalition hardly represents America's 150 million Christians. "We don't want to dominate," said Ralph Reed, executive director of the Christian Coalition. "We simply want to participate."