IFAS | Freedom Writer | June 1996 | question.html

Q UESTION OF THE M ONTH
What do you think about the Christian Coalition's attempt to take over the Republican Party?

While the Christian Coalition claims to be nonpartisan, its actions are apparently partisan. As the Christian Coalition is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization, this is a matter for the Internal Revenue Service.

The Radical Religious Right wants a conservative Christian political party, and the easiest way to achieve this goal is to hijack the GOP. Meanwhile, the antics of Christian Coalition leaders Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed are sowing seeds of division and discontent within the Republican Party. (While this may delight Democrats, the Radical Right would like to take them over, too.)

Recently embroiled in controversy over the antiabortion plank of the Republican platform, Reed is apparently playing both sides of the fence, trying to appeal to more moderate factions of the antiabortion movement, while, on the other hand, trying to retain the support of the hardcore antiabortion wing. The Christian Coalition is anti-abortion, but until it gains enough power in the GOP it has to appeal to both factions of the divisive issue.

Truth in advertising is not the Christian Coalition's strong suit. It is no secret that these religious political extremists are trying to take over the GOP. These leaders employ deceitful and stealthy tactics, claiming that they just want "a seat at the table." Those who want a Christian party should just form one; countries in Europe and the Middle East have religious political parties, it's time for religious political activists in the U.S. to be candid about their agenda.

If the Radical Religious Right abandoned its attempts to control the GOP, moderate Republicans could once again feel at home in the party. Now, many Republicans feel disillusioned and disenfranchised.

The GOP can win elections without the influence of the Christian Right. In fact, should Colin Powell join Bob Dole as a running mate, to be true to its extremist dogma, the Christian Right would have to abandon the GOP. Yet, that ticket could be a winning one even without the Christian Coalition's support.

The truth is, the Radical Religious Right is still a minority within a minority, and can't win elections unless it is supporting stealth candidates, or is the only well-organized faction in low-turnout local elections.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.