IFAS | Freedom Writer | October 1995 | roundup.html

Road to Victory '95 roundup

David Barton

David Barton, founder and president of the Texas-based Wallbuilders, often dresses in red, white, and blue attire. His presentation focused on defending the Religious Right's agenda. "We're dead right, center, mainstream Americans," Barton said. "This is what people have wanted for years and years and years." Featuring slides of old paintings of the Founding Fathers, Barton's powerful presentations are overly biased toward religious establishment. He claims that years ago "the opening prayer session in Congress lasted for hours and hours." Barton is the author of The Myth of Separation, a popular book attacking the separation between church and state. Strangely, the official position of the Christian Coalition is now supportive of separation, yet Barton is still invited to speak at the Coalition's conferences.

Gary Bauer

Gary Bauer heads the Washington, DC-based Family Research Council, an affiliate of Focus on the Family. "If you don't remember anything else I say today," Bauer told the Christian Coalition delegates, "remember this: I am absolutely convinced that your values will prevail." Bauer's presentation served as a reminder that the fall of Soviet communism precipitated the conservative movement's shift in focus from communism to American domestic policies. In Bauer's group, for example, abortion and gay rights are the main focus. Closing his talk with a warning, Bauer said, "I'm not afraid that we will take over the Republican Party; I'm afraid the Republican Party, or some other party down the road, may take us over." Bauer supports a third-party option in case the Republicans "go off the rails."

Robert Bork

Judge Robert Bork, whose nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court was defeated in a heated battle between liberals and conservatives, spoke about the American judicial system. "Most Americans aren't aware," Bork said, "that a struggle for dominance between a philosophy of reading the Constitution as it was originally understood, or reading it in accord with the philosophies of modern liberalism, that struggle is being waged in our law schools, where our judges are being [sic] trained for the last 40 years. The heroes of the professors are Earl Warren, William Brennan, and Harry Blackmun. Definitely not William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas. Both Bill [Clinton] and Hillary [Rodham] were my students when I taught at Yale. Well, I no longer say they were my students; I say they were in the room."

Dan Coats

Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN): "There is something terribly wrong in America today, when our children in school learn everything about condoms, and nothing about the Ten Commandments. Now, you're going to hear most of the Republican presidential candidates. They're going to address issues that are important. I would like to give you one piece of advice: listen carefully to their words, but also carefully weigh their actions. The Scriptures have instructed us, 'by their fruits you shall know them.' I've invested a very significant part of my life more than I ever intended in the issue and career of politics. I believe, for me, it's a Biblical mandate. The next step in the Republican revolution is to ... fund the indispensable, irreplaceable role played by faith-based institutions in renewing American society."

Chuck Colson

Convicted Watergate felon Chuck Colson is president of Prison Fellowship Ministries. He told the audience that he changed his affiliation from Republican to Democrat just before he went to prison. "The truth was," he said, "I couldn't stand seeing a Republican in prison." "I have enormous respect for this movement called the Christian Coalition," Colson continued. "You guys are really doing it right. Not starting from the top and trying to tell everybody in the country what to do, but rather, getting involved in the political process. Augustine told us that Christians are to be the best of citizens, because we do out of the love of God what others do only because they are forced to. We belong in this business."

Bob Dornan

Outside of California, Congressman Robert Dornan may be the least recognized of the long line of Republican Presidential candidates. Shown here without the red beard he sometimes sports, Dornan is the subject of the book Shut Up, Fag! According to Dornan Watch, "This book is one of the most extraordinary collections of public statements ever uttered by an elected official. As a testament to Dornan's record as a representative, this book will shock Republicans and Democrats alike." "Now," Dornan said before Congress on October 19, 1990, "as a stumbling, sinning, but loyal Catholic, I have had it up to here, Mr. Speaker, with the bigotry in this country, approved by the dominant media culture against Christianity in general, but with a special focus on the largest of all Christian denominations, and the oldest, the Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic faith."

Keith Fournier

Keith Fournier is the executive director of Pat Robertson's legal arm, the American Center for Law & Justice. He is the author of A House United: Evangelicals and Catholics Together. An evangelical Roman Catholic, Fournier leads the Christian Coalition's newest endeavor, the Catholic Alliance. Fournier's mission is two-fold: to bridge the gap between Catholics and Protestants, and to "proclaim the truth" of Christianity in every area of American society. "In any discussion of religious freedom," Fournier writes in A House United, "the issue of what has come to be called the 'separation between church and state' always comes into play. Though I affirm the separation between church and state, I strongly oppose the growing effort to separate religion from public life. It is an ominous step toward religious cleansing."

Alan Keyes

Alan Keyes is the host of "America's Wakeup Call," a nationally syndicated radio show. He and Pat Buchanan, another talk show host, are closest in ideology of all the Republican presidential hopefuls. Keyes, with his preacher-like speaking style, received enthusiastic support from the Christian Coalition audience. His message focused on "choosing a winner" versus choosing the candidate who is "right." "Nothing is more important than the marriage-based family," Keyes said. "Why on earth would you put your seal of approval behind people who put it on the back burner, and give it the back seat, and only talk about it when you force them to? What's the matter with you?" Keyes called for abolition of the income tax, replacing it with sales taxes. This, he claims, will give families more money, helping to keep them intact.

Howard Phillips

Howard Phillips, head of the Conservative Caucus and the U.S. Taxpayers Party, appeared briefly as an observer. Though an important Washington-based Radical Religious Right operative, Phillips' formation of a third party currently runs contrary to the mission of the Christian Coalition, which is to take over the Republican Party. Prominent Religious Right leaders, such as James Dobson, Gary Bauer, and Chuck Colson, have issued warnings that if the Republicans fail to nominate "prolife" candidates for both president and vice president, they may support a third party ticket. Phillips' U.S. Taxpayers Party will hold its convention next year in San Diego on the heels of the Republican National Convention. Potential nominees include Pat Buchanan, Alan Keyes, Bob Dornan, and Howard Phillips.

Phyllis Schlafly

Phyllis Schlafly, president of the Eagle Forum, called "the sanctity of life" the "central moral issue of our time." At conception, she claimed, DNA testing can tell whether a baby is a male or female. "The Declaration of Independence that proclaims that our Creator created us and gave us our inalienable rights is our founding document," she said. "And you have to ask yourself, 'When did we get those rights?' It wasn't at birth, because sometimes babies pop out sooner, and we find out they're babies after all, even if they show up at seven months instead of nine. You began your life when the DNA of your father joined the DNA of your mother." Schlafly appealed to keep the prolife plank in the Republican Party and called for the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Jay Sekulow

Jay Sekulow is chief counsel of Pat Robertson's legal arm, the American Center for Law & Justice. An ardent defender of religious liberty and the Religious Right, Sekulow has argued and won six cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. In one case Mergens v. Board of Education he successfully defended the right of students to hold Bible and prayer clubs at public schools. "There is a new sense of revival breaking forth in this land," Sekulow said. "There is a new sense of Biblical conviction addressing the issues of the day; and for that we must be pleased, for the Lord will honor what we do, as long as we are obedient." Sekulow and Robertson founded the American Center for Law & Justice to counter the American Civil Liberties Union. Some observers see it as a tool to push Robertson's agenda.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.