Freedom Writer |
October 1995 |
Road to Victory '95 roundup
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
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."
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."
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
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."
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
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 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
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, 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
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.