IFAS | Freedom Writer | March 1995 | update.html

Religious Right update

Clinic fires in California

San Luis Obispo, California Violent attacks on reproductive health-care clinics around the country continue, despite increased security measures. Fires were reported at three California clinics in the first week of February alone.

A Planned Parenthood clinic was destroyed and two other clinics sustained minor damage. A fire caused $1,000 in damage to the Family Planning Associates Medical Group clinic in Ventura. Containers of a flammable substance were place in a tire by the door and ignited. A similar fire was set at a Santa Barbara doctor's office where abortions are performed.

All three of the targeted clinics provided a range of health-care services and counseling in addition to abortions. Federal agents are investigating.

Creationists invade New Hampshire

Merrimack, New Hampshire Creationist Duane Gish recently gave a presentation at Merrimack High School in response to a proposal that the school board give equal time to creationism. Gish is vice president of the California-based Institute for Creation Research.

Under the proposal, which was put forth by a Baptist minister, the board would adopt new science books in September. The new books would teach that creationism and evolution are both assumptions.

Last May, due to low voter turnout and stealth campaigning, conservative Christians gained a majority on the Merrimac school board. The winning candidates waged their campaigns by stressing a back-to-the-basics curriculum of reading, writing, and arithmetic. They also opposed condom distribution as part of the school's health program.

The new majority of conservative Christians on the board has imposed a daily "moment of silence" in the district's high school, middle school, and three elementary schools.

If the board passes the measure to teach creationism, state officials will not intervene. Ovide Lamontagne, chairman of the State Board of Education, said that he has no problem if the school uses the Bible as "anecdotal evidence" to support the lessons.

State Senator George Lovejoy, the Republican chairman of the State Education Committee, supports creationism in the state's public schools. "I accept that as a Bible-believing Christian. I say students should be taught both theories in school."

Coalition harbors reconstructionists

Vallecito, California The February issue of Chalcedon Report, published by R.J. Rushdoony, the father of Christian reconstructionism, featured a review of Politically Incorrect by Ralph Reed. Christian reconstructionists, in their advocacy for Biblical rule over the whole of society, make the Christian Coalition look moderate in comparison.

"Politically Incorrect is an excellent study on exactly what is wrong with the Christian conservative movement," the review said. "Ralph Reed fails to get the point of reformation. It is only Biblical law which can sustain a society."

"The law of God," the review continues, "requires only two punishments for law breakers: restitution or execution. Abortion would be a capital crime and would be considered murder."

"Is there hope for the Christian Coalition?" the article asks. "Yes! Ralph Reed does not stand for all members of the Christian Coalition. Many of its leaders on the grass roots level are, in fact, reconstructionists. This is an organization not defined by the people at the top. It has many strengths as a decentralized organization."

Chalcedon Report predicted that Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed "will complete the journey out of the wilderness" and "enter the promised land" that is, embrace the tenets of Christian reconstructionism.

FEC investigating Christian Coalition

Columbia, South Carolina Outlines, a Columbia-based newspaper, reported that the Federal Election Commission (FEC), acting on a complaint from the Democratic National Committee, is investigating Christian Coalition chapters in 35 states.

Outlines reported that three members of the Coalition's South Carolina chapter have been called to a federal court to explain how the group operates, and that Roberta Combs, the South Carolina Christian Coalition state director, has been asked by the FEC to give the agency copies of financial records and written correspondence with political candidates.

The Democrats charge that the Coalition raises tax-exempt funds as a non-partisan organization, but backs only Republican candidates. The Democrats say the Christian Coalition should be forced to register as a political action committee, which would severely restrict the group's fundraising and spending activities.

Officials at the Christian Coalition's headquarters in Chesapeake, Virginia refused to discuss the issue, and FEC officials said that they do not comment on, or even confirm, details about pending investigations.

(Source: The Second Stone, January/February 1995.)

CEE candidates win in Texas

Religious Right candidates have seized control of the Texas State Education Board, according to Bob Simonds of Citizens for Excellence in Education.

"Texas conservative CEE candidates have won a majority on the Texas State Education Board eight to seven!" Simonds exulted. "Already they are preparing a repeal of the former acceptance of Goals 2000 money rejecting the federal money trap for a take-over of Texas schools."

Conservative control of public education in the state of Texas is a bad omen for education activists in other states. Due to its large population, Texas often determines the content of textbooks, as publishers find it unprofitable to print varying editions for smaller states.

Third party for Religious Right?

Colorado Springs, Colorado In his January newsletter, Dr. James Dobson stunned conservative Christians when he suggested supporting a third-party candidate. "If the Republicans fail to address the things that matter most, I believe a third party will coalesce around an emphatically pro-life candidate in '96," Dobson wrote.

"There are millions of voters who will look elsewhere for candidates if the party abandons the unborn child," Dobson continued. "I certainly will be among them."

Dobson wields tremendous clout with Focus on the Family's $150 million annual budget and daily talk show heard on more than 1,500 radio stations. His warning to the Republicans caused an enormous stir within the Religious Right.

Then Phyllis Schlafly, appearing on CNN's "Newsmaker Saturday," declared that "only a pro-life candidate will be nominated by the Republican convention."

"No one," Schlafly said, "will be qualified for even the vice president's slot without a clear denunciation of abortion."

Howard Phillips of the U.S. Taxpayer's Party may benefit from the Religious Right's disillusionment with the Republican Party. Phillips, raised Jewish, became a born-again Christian some years ago and now fully embraces the radical Religious Right. One third-party possibility is a Pat Buchanan-Howard Phillips ticket.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.