IFAS | Freedom Writer | July/August 1995 | update.html

Religious Right update

Court upholds FACE

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the Freedom of Access to Clinics Act (FACE), saying the law does not infringe on free-speech rights. FACE was enacted to assure free access to clinics, often blocked by anti-abortion protestors.

Joyce Woodall, a member of Concerned Women for America, was arrested for blocking a clinic door while she knelt in prayer at a Falls Church, Virginia facility. According to the National & International Religion Report, eight trial judges and two appeals courts upheld FACE, but a Wisconsin judge declared it unconstitutional.


Dr. Foster defeated

On June 22, the Senate failed for the second time to come up with the two-thirds vote needed to end the filibuster against Dr. Henry Foster's nomination for Surgeon General. Utilizing its action alerts, the Christian Coalition immediately took credit, broadcasting by fax its appreciation to Coalition chapters and grassroots activists.

Recent episodes of the Christian Coalition's monthly satellite broadcast, "Christian Coalition Live," declared that the Coalition's number-one priority was to defeat President Clinton's nomination of Dr. Foster. The Christian Coalition opposed Dr. Foster because he "has performed numerous abortions and is a long-time advocate of giving condoms to children at school-based clinics."


Christian nation

At a luncheon with political reporters in Washington, Mississippi Governor Kirk Fordice has for the second time in three years defended his view that America was "founded by Christian people on Christian principles." Fordice, a Republican, who is running for reelection, rekindled an issue which had roused a controversy in 1992 at a Republican governor's conference, when he called America a "Christian nation."


Motley's crew

The Rev. Duane Motley, head of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, calls his group a "Christian lobbying organization." Motley's group is New York's most effective Religious Right organization.

At a November 19, 1994 gathering, Motley told members of the Council for National Policy how he recruits candidates for public office. First, he seeks candidates in churches, where he speaks twice on Sunday, and several times during the week. "That's where I look first," he said. About 130 fundamentalist churches support his organization. "Then I look in pro-family organizations," Motley continued. "I also look in single-issue groups, which there are a lot of in New York. Anti-porn groups, pro-life groups, anti-tax groups."

Motley holds a well-attended annual "legislative day" in Albany, New York's capital. He seeks candidates at these sessions, as well as through his weekly radio and TV appearances, and also through minor political parties. He strongly encourages candidates in minor parties to try to get the backing of one of the major parties.

After the election of Governor George Pataki last November, Motley said, "I played a big role in the election of our governor." The governor acknowledged Motley's role in an appearance at legislative day.


Christian Coalition prayers

People will work for what they pray for. Religious Right leaders know this. Excerpts from the following prayer were taken from The Christian Bay Stater, the official newspaper of the Christian Coalition of Massachusetts.

"Pray specifically for the restoration of the Ten Commandments as our national standard of righteousness, virtue and mercy by the church.

"Pray that God supernaturally raises up and appoints countless ordinary Godly and moral Christian men of virtue, service, integrity and courage to become His bondservants.

"Pray that they take their appointed place in every phase of political office, in places of great influence and in places of authority on every level of government and in every facet of the marketplace.

"Pray that God anoint and appoint the man of His choosing to run and be elected for President in 1996. Amen."


More GOP warnings

In a second letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour on May 2, 1995, Dr. James Dobson again reminded the GOP leader that "43% of your votes last November came from evangelical Christians, most of whom believe our national problems are profoundly moral in nature." Writing in World (April 15, 1995), Paul Weyrich concurred with Dobson, "This is a potentially fatal mistake on the part of the Republican power structure. I am absolutely convinced that millions of voters chose the GOP last November out of desperation over the cultural radicalism of Bill Clinton, [not] because they wanted the line-item veto passed." (The Pastor's Weekly Briefing, May 5, 1995)


Specter challenges Robertson

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) is the only Republican presidential candidate at odds with the radical Religious Right. In a recent letter to Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson, Specter challenged Robertson's record on the "Christian nation" theme often expressed by him and his associate, Ralph Reed. Specter's letter listed numerous statements by Robertson and Reed referring to America as a Christian nation, and denials of the existence of a separation between church and state.

Specter asked Robertson to repudiate bigotry, intolerance and exclusion -- "and the belief of a fringe element that those who disagree with them on social and moral issues have no right to be a part of the political process. If you are ready to renounce this kind of exclusion and intolerance, then, Pat, you and I are in total agreement."

Charles Robbins, "Arlen Specter '96" communications director, told The Freedom Writer that Robertson never responded to the letter.


Suit claims Robertson threatened life

Mark Peterson, the former head of the Rev. Pat Robertson's multi-level marketing company, American Benefits Plus, says Robertson threatened him and told lies about him. The suit, filed by Peterson and his wife, names Robertson, the Christian Broadcasting Network, five members of the board of directors, and Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed, as defendants.

After firing Peterson just before Christmas in 1992, Robertson issued a public statement blaming Peterson for American Benefits Plus's financial woes. After Peterson challenged Robertson's assertions, according to the suit, Robertson called Mark Peterson's sister, Pam Johnson, to deliver threats to him.

"Give your brother Mark a message for me," the suit says. "Tell him that wild stallions that bite, kick and destroy things have to be destroyed. They break their legs and have to be shot. Tell him that."

The suit also said that the company's new president, Johnny Keller, blamed Peterson for all the financial troubles and told the staff that Peterson was "under Satanic influences." Peterson's suit calls all the charges "false and disparaging."

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.