IFAS | Freedom Writer | October 1995 | karrer.html

How the Christian Coalition
uses the Internet

Like many organizations, the Christian Coalition is still a novice on the Internet. Nevertheless, key people in the organization understand the potential of the information highway.

"Unfortunately," said Dr. Max Karrer, head of the Florida Christian Coalition, "the leaders at national are still in the fax stage of communication." He said their priority is establishing a national electronic linkup between all Christian Coalition state and county chapters.

Karrer defined cyberdemocracy as the use of computers to access and distribute information that will facilitate the political process."

On the national level, the Christian Coalition operates an Internet site at http://www.cc.org. The unsophisticated page includes articles from The Christian American and speeches of Ralph Reed.

The group is currently looking into establishing a special account with America Online (AOL) as a way of linking all the state and county chapters. Karrer said the Christian Coalition currently reaches a lot of members by searching the profiles of AOL subscribers. They look for "Christian Coalition" in the user profile. Those AOL members then receive material from the Coalition by email.

The Florida Christian Coalition uses the Internet as an email network for state chairmen, state executive directors, and key contacts. They also use it to upload and download database files between state and national.

Karrer recognizes the efficiency of email. "I can distribute 50 letters in 12 seconds," Karrer said.

The Florida Christian Coalition home page is linked to the national home page. It also facilitates an email network of county coordinators, where they can upload and download database files between state and county chapters.

The Florida Christian Coalition home page also includes state legislative committee information, county coordinators, state legislative scorecards, voter guides, the Florida Christian Coalition newsletter, articles and research from the state coalition, and other information.

Florida Christian Coalition county home pages offer similar information, but in many cases may be even more useful for browsers. Available information includes local chapter newsletters, meeting times and program, the local school board agenda, home schooler information, agenda of the county commissioners, local voter guides, directory of local churches involved with the Christian Coalition, directory of church liaison members, chapter phone and fax numbers, and the chapter coordinator and directors.

An audience member volunteered, "Browsing the Internet is a tactical gold mine. The liberals broadcast everything they're doing. We have to be careful not to do that."

"Don't put anything on your home page that you don't want accessed by the public," Karrer reminded the audience. Noting the Freedom Writer camcorder, he added, "This is not the place to discuss tactics."

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.