IFAS | Freedom Writer | January/February 1996 | rules.html

Religious Right update

COR update

Later this year, Coalition on Revival (COR) head, the Rev. Jay Grimstead, currently on sabbatical, will be on the road hosting conferences in eight soon-to-be-announced cities. In its year-end report to COR members, the board of directors declared that their "founding visionary and resident reformation warrior, Jay Grimstead, must become more and more visible as the gift of God to our present Church-world that he really is."

Beginning in the fall of 1996, Grimstead will be delivering COR's "vision for rebuilding civilization on the Bible." The group is currently identifying churches, individuals, and organizations in eight key cities to host the conferences. COR is a Christian Reconstructionist-type organization which advocates that all law and society, both secular and religious, must be built upon the Bible.

More benefits for gay partners

Entertainment giant Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and pharmaceutical manufacturer Glaxo-Wellcome Inc., have joined the growing list of companies that offer medical coverage for partners of homosexual employees (effective February 1, 1996 for MGM). Many other companies, including the Walt Disney Co., Microsoft, Levi Strauss, Apple Corp. and Coors have already adopted such plans. From The Pastor's Weekly Briefing (January 5, 1996), a publication of Focus on the Family.

Catholics against Christian Coalition

On December 9, 1995, about 400 people gathered in Boston for the Christian Coalition's "Conference on Catholics and Public Policy." Part of the Christian Coalition's "Catholic Alliance," this arm of Pat Robertson is supported by a first year budget of $1.3 million.

Even before the Christian Coalition launched its outreach to Roman Catholics, mainstream Catholics began to organize against the Christian Coalition. In Virginia, Robertson's backyard, Catholic bishops forbade the Christian Coalition from handing out voter guides in Catholic Churches. As a result, religious conservatives fared poorly in those elections last November.

A "Statement Opposing the Christian Coalition and its 'Catholic Alliance'" is attracting hundreds of signatures of Catholic organizations and individuals, including bishops. Copies of the statement are available from Catholics Speak Out at (301) 699-0042.

Finally, Call to Action, a progressive Catholic organization, is joining forces with the Interfaith Alliance, a group formed in 1994 to refute the Christian Coalition's claim to speak for all Christians.

Reed's frantic letter

Around Christmastime, Christian Coalition members received a frantic letter from executive director Ralph Reed. Reed, writing from Logan International Airport in Boston on his laptop computer, claimed the Federal Election Commission is trying "to shut down the Christian Coalition and silence Christians in politics." That's a big claim for a group that represents a minority of Christians.

Reed went on to say, "In 1992 the Democratic National Committee filed a spurious and baseless charge against us. The liberals asked the FEC to stop us from distributing voter guides in churches across America."

"This is happening on the verge of the most important Presidential election in our lifetimes! And it happens as we are planning to distribute 67 million voter guides in 1996."

Reed said the Christian Coalition may need to raise $1 million to fight the Democrats and the FEC. "Our attorneys have told us to brace for the worst," he said.

The problem, of course, is not Christian involvement in politics. The problem is partisan politicking by a tax-exempt organization. Many have questioned whether or not the Christian Coalition voter guides unlawfully promote or oppose candidates.

"How to Elect Christians" is back

Rev. Bob Simonds (below) claims that since 1989 his group helped elect 12,000 conservative Christians to school boards across the nation. Though the figure is probably an exaggeration, numerous conservative Christians have won school board seats in the past few years.

Simonds' best-selling book, "How to Elect Christians to Public Office" played a considerable role in these victories. Now, Simonds, who heads the National Association of Christian Educators/Citizens for Excellence in Education, has announced that his book has been totally revised and will be released in 1996.

"How to Elect Christians to Public Office" is part preachy, part practical, with the emphasis on the practical part. With a diatribe on secular humanism, the previous edition went into considerable detail about organizing and running local political campaigns.

Will Republicans choose choice?

Gary Bauer, head of the Focus on the Family affiliate Family Research Council, is afraid the GOP will drop its "pro-life" plank. Bauer thinks "the pro-life Republican platform plank may well meet an untimely death" at the national convention in San Diego. He said "the pro-life partnership has played a dramatic role" in the Republican Party's historic successes.

"Prominent GOP advocates of 'choice' like governors Pete Wilson of California, William Weld of Massachusetts, George Pataki of New York, Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey, and Jim Edgar of Illinois had their counterparts a generation ago in Edward Brooke, Nelson Rockefeller, John Lindsey, Millicent Fenwick, and Chuck Percy. GOP leaders in major industrial states are no more pro-abortion now than they ever were," Bauer said, "and in many ways they have even less influence on the party's grassroots."

"So what has changed?" Bauer asked. "Ironically, it's that some Washington conservative 'leaders' are losing their nerve."

Sen. Bob Dole, running way behind President Clinton in the polls, recently waffled on abortion. On "Meet the Press" in December, Dole said he did not support efforts to ban all abortions. "I supported that at one time," he said. "I would not do it again."

"What he did was sow confusion, and this is one issue you should not appear to be confused about or shifting around," said Gary Bauer. "Platforms should be moral documents, not subject to the latest polling data. And politically it is just dumb. Our side is winning."

Ralph Reed of the Christian Coalition said he was "profoundly disappointed" by Dole's remarks. Dole immediately sent a clarification to Reed saying he supported a constitutional amendment overturning Roe v. Wade, but not banning all abortions.

The Radical Religious Right may have a hard time supporting Dole, but he has a better chance of defeating Clinton than any other candidates they might find more desirable.

Robertson associate heads Dole's Iowa effort

Sen. Bob Dole is counting on a decisive victory in the GOP primaries in Iowa on February 12th. In a state where 40% of the caucus-goers are conservatives, wherever he goes in Iowa Dole talks about "Hollywood's depravity."

Sen. Phil Gramm may be Dole's biggest worry in Iowa, but publisher Steve Forbes is rising in the polls by spending millions in media advertising. Also, commentator Pat Buchanan is well-received in the state.

However, Dole signed up Marlene Elwell, a Buchanan organizer, to head his Iowa campaign. Elwell has worked with Pat Robertson since 1985. In 1988, she served as midwest campaign coordinator for Americans for Robertson, helping the televangelist beat George Bush in the Iowa primary.

She also successfully led the Committee to Stop ERA in Iowa. In 1980, while serving on the National Republican Party Platform Committee, Elwell helped institute the first "prolife" language in the GOP platform.

Washington for Jesus 1996

Without a doubt, the biggest events yet staged by the Radical Religious Right were the "Washington for Jesus" rallies of 1980 and 1988. In the 1980 election year, about 200,000 conservative Christians held a political rally at the Mall in Washington. Slightly fewer met there in 1988, another election year.

Pat Robertson served as co-chair for the 1980 "Washington for Jesus." "We have enough votes to run this country," he told the enthusiastic crowd. "And when the people say, 'We've had enough,' we're going to take over."

Now, the Revs. John and Anne Gimenez, the original "Washington for Jesus" organizers, are planning a rally in Washington on April 30, 1996 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Gimenez claims God showed him five "giants" that are destroying American society. It is around these "giants" that "Washington for Jesus 1996" is being organized. The "giants" are, according to Gimenez, abortion, drug abuse, homosexuality, AIDS, and religious persecution. He hopes the rally will help restore America's moral roots. Gimenez's keynote address, "Another Battle Plan," will introduce his strategy.

Evangelists Benny Hinn, Morris Cerullo, and Richard Roberts are also scheduled to speak. "Washington for Jesus" will be followed up by organizing a national coalition of leaders from every state. For more information call One Nation Under God at 1-800-495-5288.

Explicitly Christian politics

Christian Reconstructionist columnist John Lofton recently announced in Chalcedon Report that he is starting a political consulting firm to "reconstruct, to redeem politics." He said he will help candidates for public office, at all levels of government, "who want to run as explicit Christians." Lofton formerly wrote for The Washington Times.

"I want to help such Christian candidates," he said, "by writing speeches for them, position papers, and by giving them advice as how to handle the anti-Christian media, and much more." Lofton says that "for too long Christian candidates for public office have, in effect, by using mushy language about 'traditional values' and how they are 'people of faith,' failed to shine their God-given light."

Lofton believes that the two-party system has failed. "Never have more Americans, today, been so interested in a possible third-party or independent candidate." He adds, "Theocracy is not an 'idea.' It's a reality. God does rule. And this is what 'theocracy' means: Godly rule. Are you against this? I hope not."

"I predict," Lofton concluded, "that the next stage in politics is that you're going to see, by God's grace, more Christians taking an explicitly Christian/Biblical stand in what has heretofore in modern times been a godless area of American life. And I want to be in the forefront of that blessed effort."

Just a theory

Alabama public school students will be taught that evolution is just "a controversial theory," not fact. A note denying the scientific validity of evolution will be placed in Alabama public school science textbooks. The move came about when a majority of the state school board voted to put the disclaimer in the science books. State school board president, Gov. Fob James, says he believes in the Genesis story of creation.

In Livingston Parish, Louisiana, the school board voted to allow students to initiate their own discussions of the Biblical version of creation. Teachers may act as facilitators of such discussions, but will not teach creationism.

The board's decision reflected a compromise with local fundamentalists who tried to persuade the board to require that Biblical creationism be taught alongside evolution. The school's science curriculum committee, composed of 25 parish science teachers, stated: "The so-called creationism theory does not fit the definition of scientific theory and cannot be affirmed through the use of scientific method. Therefore, it has no validity in the science classroom." The committee added that the statement should not be construed as anti-religious, but is "based on educational and scientific considerations."

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