IFAS | Freedom Writer | May 1995 | minutemen.html

Florida Minutemen

By Paula Xanthopoulou

Last month, the Christian Coalition of Florida launched a unique marketing plan for recruiting neighborhood coordinators. Shamelessly swathed in images of the American Revolution and first implemented in Iowa the plan is called "Florida Minutemen."

In an article entitled "Florida Minutemen are coming," the program's coordinator, Cathy M. Boyer, outlined the need for a plan to "fortify and build upon our recent victories." "An immediate battle has been won, but the war still rages," Boyer wrote. "The anti-family, anti-Christian groups are already plotting their takeover strategy for 1996."

The Boyer article included a prominent graphic of a suit of armor with two crossed spears and emblazoned "a call to arms." It characterized the minutemen -- ordinary citizens who fought in the American Revolution -- as always ready and in place, persistent, innovative, organized, enthusiastic, and successful in getting others to join the fight.

Florida Minutemen are Christian Coalition liaisons to other pro-family voters in a specific area, uniting that neighborhood "for a common cause." Boyer drew a comparison with those who fought for independence in American and explained that "the left's persistence and our apathy has led to the decay of Judeo-Christian values in our country."

The tools of the Florida Minutemen are telephones, letters, neighborhood maps, and votes. "Just as in days gone by, our neighbors will join us as fellow minutemen for the cause of restoring Judeo-Christian values to America."

The Christian Coalition has a standard neighborhood coordinator program that it implements in every state. Calls to several state offices confirmed that while they did not have a minuteman-style program per se, they certainly had neighborhood coordinators.

The Christian Coalition's neighborhood coordinator brochure clarifies that neighborhood basically means precinct and the people recruited by a coordinator should "in turn, identify 10-20 other pro-family voters on their block." There are approximately 17,500 precincts in the US, and in March 1995 the Christian Coalition claimed to have 16,775 coordinators in place.

According to the Christian Coalition, the responsibilities of a Florida Minuteman are to:

Readers were urged to register and send in a check for $5.00 (unless already a paying member of the Christian Coalition) to cover costs and "to cement your commitment to the cause." The form asked for the applicant's voter registration card details. It also asked several questions about past political activities and for a list of the top five issues now facing America.

Those who sign up for the program receive a Florida Minuteman information packet which includes a thank-you letter calling members to "defend the family against forces that want to destroy it," a list of responsibilities (including "How to Identify Pro-Family Voters"), a supply of voter registration forms, and a Florida Minutemen membership card.

The "How to Identify Pro-Family Voters" list directs coordinators to "know your neighborhood. Drive through all of it several times at different times of the day looking for tell-tale signs identifying neighbors as conservatives and/or Christians, such as bumperstickers, tags, fish, and dove emblems on their cars."

As of early April, the Florida Christian Coalition had no hard numbers as to how many people had signed up to become minutemen, since most registration was being conducted under the auspices of the county coordinators. Nevertheless, watch out for Florida Minutemen look-alikes in your neighborhood whether you live in Florida or Maine or Idaho or Iowa. Ah yes, Iowa....

Copyright 1995 Public-Spirited Enterprises.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.