IFAS | Freedom Writer | September 1995 | update.html

Religious Right update

Flip flips Jane Roe

Dallas, TX Norma McCorvey, the Jane Roe of the 1973 Roe v. Wade case in which the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion, became a born-again Christian this August. The Rev. Flip Benham, head of Operation Rescue (OR), befriended McCorvey and convinced her to accept Jesus.

"All I'm doing is watching out for Norma's salvation and Norma's ass, and it's just that simple," McCorvey told reporters.

While the conversion is a symbolic coup for Operation Rescue, it is also a public relations nightmare. After her water immersion baptism by Benham, McCorvey was led away by her lesbian lover. Then she told reporters that she believes a woman has a right to an abortion in the first trimester, "but I think it should be illegal after the second abortion."

Benham met McCorvey after his organization moved in next door to A Choice for Women, a Dallas clinic where she was employed as marketing director. She has since left that position and now works for Operation Rescue.

"You won't be seeing Norma for awhile," Benham said during an appearance on Pat Robertson's "700 Club." "We're going to intensively disciple her." In other words, OR will attempt to brainwash McCorvey in an effort to bring her thinking around to views acceptable to them. Benham is also convinced he can get her to leave her partner of 26 years.


Reed meets with Dole

Washington, DC Ralph Reed recently met with Senator Bob Dole and outlined the Christian Coalition demands for any welfare bill. The Senate is expected to debate welfare reform in early September. The Christian Coalition's demands are:

Currently, nine senators stand firm with the Christian Coalition on welfare reform. They are: Ashcroft (R-MO), Burns (R-MT), Coats (R-IN), Coverdell (R-GA), Craig (R-ID), Faircloth (R-NC), Gramm (R-TX), Kyl (R-AZ), and Smith (R-NH).


Opposition research?

Colorado Springs, CO According to a Russ Reid Company survey, more than one-third of the adults who donate to Operation Rescue also give money to Planned Parenthood, and 20 percent of these same donors contribute to the National Organization for Women. One theory, suggested by Christian Coalition's Mike Russell, credits the crossover to people who want to monitor opposition groups. (From The Pastor's Weekly Briefing, August 18, 1995.)


Wildmon joins Buchanan campaign

McLean, VA The Rev. Donald Wildmon, founder and president of the Tupelo, Mississippi-based American Family Association, has joined the Buchanan for President campaign as its national co-chairman. Pat Buchanan said he was "honored by the support of such a fine American," a respected friend who had "stood up to and exposed Hollywood's assault on traditional values when few others would."

In recent years Wildmon has been criticized for his alleged anti-Semitism. "Only a relatively small handful of people determine what Americans can and will see on network television," he wrote in his book The Home Invaders. "These people are overtly hostile to the Christian faith."

"Hollywood and the theater world is heavily influenced by Jewish people.... Of the people who are responsible for our films...sixty-two percent identified themselves as Jewish," Wildmon wrote.


Coors cares

Golden, CO The Coors Brewing Company now offers benefits to domestic partners of its employees, including gays and lesbians. Considering the history of the company, and the ultra-right political stance of members of the Coors family, the move came as a surprise to many. Coors funds groups such as the Heritage Foundation, Paul Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation, Network Empowerment Television, Pat Robertson's Regent University, and Bob Simond's Citizens for Excellence in Education.


The Revolutionary Force of America

Laurel, MS "The question is not 'Will America have another Revolution?' The question is 'WHEN'?" Those words grace the front piece of a brochure by a new group called the Revolutionary Force of America, based in Laurel, Mississippi.

Founded by Richard Headrick and his wife Gina, the Revolutionary Force of America intends to "build a fleet," joined by "other fleets God has raised up, and together we become an armada, a floating army."

"Your physical support by praying, becoming active in voting for God's candidates and by speaking out about issues that concern us will allow us to make a real difference in what happens in our government."

The Headricks own Headrick Companies, a sign manufacturing and outdoor advertising firm in Mississippi. They employ tractor-trailer rigs with sides that open up to sell "American-made products" and travel to auto races, rallies, air shows, etcetera.

"We will soon reach a point where we are large enough to command attention, where politicians will know that the Revolutionary Force of America is the combined voice of thousands of Americans all over the nation, demanding attention and action," the Headricks said. The group claims six state offices, with members in 14 states. But, "we are just beginning," they warn.


God and country in Branson

Branson, MO There's too much of that old-time religion in Branson, Missouri, America's country music mecca, according to travel writer Arthur Frommer. Frommer, author of such books as Europe on $5 A Day, has just released Branson!, a guidebook to the town taken over by the Religious Right.

Frommer writes about being "horrified" by "intensely political, extremely right-wing viewpoints" in Branson shows, and calls country entertainers hypocrites for living lives that do not reflect the values in the gospel songs they sing.

A Nashville-area correspondent for The Freedom Writer attended a Christian Patriot's conference in Branson two days after the April 19th Oklahoma City bombing. Conference speakers included Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America, who spoke on the Biblical mandate to arm, and Pete Peters of Scriptures for America.

As cited in the May 8 edition of Time magazine, our correspondent reported, "I mingled with a lot of people there, and there was not one shred of sympathy for what happened in Oklahoma." Some of the 550 in attendance felt that the carnage was understandable retaliation for the 1993 government raid in Waco, Texas, he said.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.