IFAS | Freedom Writer | May 1996 | review.html

B OOK R EVIEW
The Most Dangerous Man in America

THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA?: Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition by Rob Boston. 248 pp. Prometheus Books (1996).

Reviewed by Skipp Porteous

Just when we thought we knew all there was to know about Pat Robertson, The Most Dangerous Man in America? comes along. Now people who need to know more about Pat Robertson can find the facts in one easy-to-read volume.

Televangelist Pat Robertson has built one of the most powerful religious-political movements in American history. His Christian Coalition empire extends across the nation, encompasses nearly every media form, has legal and educational outlets, and is now so influential that presidential hopefuls court his favor.

Despite this, many Americans are unaware of Robertson's extremism or his theocratic agenda. Government under Robertson's control would regress to a point where civil liberties for homosexuals, women, and even those Christians who do not espouse Robertson's own brand of fundamentalism would be abolished. And with the Christian Coalition's current hold over the Republican Party, Robertson himself would not have to be in the White House to exert control.

Through a careful examination of Robertson's own words, author Rob Boston exposes the Christian Coalition's ultimate goal of destroying the wall of separation between church and state.

"This book is designed to be a warning," Boston writes. "Consider it a fire alarm, ringing loudly and warning of immediate danger that an intolerant extremist now comes perilously close to holding the reins of American politics. It is an examination of his views, his inconsistencies and hypocrisy, and frankly, his power."

While Pat Robertson is the founder and president of the Christian Coalition, many who have recently become aware of the organization only know of the group's goals and activities as defined by Ralph Reed, who was hired by Robertson to serve as executive director.

In his book, Boston explains how Robertson and Reed play "bad guy, good guy." While Robertson speaks to the needs of the hard-core religious political extremists within the ranks of the Christian Coalition, his ideas and rhetoric are often too extreme for public consumption, especially when the media gets hold of them. That's where Reed comes in. Polished and deft, Reed smooths out Robertson's roughness and paints a picture of the Christian Coalition as a moderate group that represents middle America.

Rob Boston has done his homework. His conclusions are frightening. The Most Dangerous Man in America? is a "must read" for those who care about religious and civil liberty.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.