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THE HIJACKING OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

CHAPTER SEVEN

By Brother Anonymous

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Presented by the Religious Freedom Coalition of the Southeast

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Bush and Wicca and Doreen Valiente

wpe261.jpg (7711 bytes)Chapter 7

Where There's Smoke ...

As you read this document you may identify certain actions and traits of other Far Right Extremists Groups which have begun to replace the Christian Coalition - Here is where they got their Ideas.

"The 'Voter Guides' are non-partisan. We do not endorse any candidate. The Voter Guides are strictly educational, to show how candidates have voted in the past on issues that affect the Christian community, so that we can make an informed choice and put people in public office who best represent our values."

Thus saith the Christian Coalition.

In actual fact, how honest is the statement given out as Gospel by Pat Robertson's corporation?  Since it is said that one shall be known by one's actions, let's let the facts speak for themselves, and look at an e-mail message posted with Electronic News Service on March 31, 1996:

"My husband was a Republican candidate for Congress.  The Christian Coalition voter guide only used 6 questions from a 91-question survey. Of course the only ones they used were those where he disagreed with their views.  The candidate they supported agreed 100% with their views.  Of course, they reworded the questions also.  The sad part is that we are Republicans and agree with about 85% of their views.  I guess we were just not good enough for them."

The candidate this message refers to is Dave Jenkins of Copperas Cove, Texas, whose letter to "C. C.Watch" appeared on the Internet on May 14, 1996:

"Dear C.C.Watch,

I wanted to share with you my recent experience running for Congress in the Texas 11 th District, and specifically Christian Coalition actions that unfairly characterized me and effectively put an end to my efforts to serve my district.

I was, frankly, somewhat supportive of the Christian Coalition when I announced. I certainly did not regard them as the enemy. I grew up in Newport News, Virginia, and we lived about a half mile from where Pat Robertson grew up. I am a graduate of a Baptist high school and majored in Religion at the College of William and Mary. While& I disagree with some of the things the Christian Coalition wants to do, I had generally considered it a good organization with worthy, if sometimes mistaken goals.

But during the recent primary, I discovered firsthand that there is no room for disagreement with the Christian Coalition (CC). Compromise is not part of the agenda. Nor is "educating" the public. I believe that the Christian Coalition is pursuing a course that is against the will of most people in the Republican Party and the nation. The CC is using a few "hot button" topics, gross distortions, and a lot of intimidation to attempt to impose their will on Congress and the nation. I believe that most people do not understand the comprehensive scope of the CC's agenda and their willingness to intentionally distort the facts to "bully" representatives into submission.

During the election I sent out a press release regarding the CC. The bottom line is that they took the answers I provided to them on a 91 -question survey and used six of those answers to not only distort my position but to make me look like something I am not. It was unbelievable. This may seem like "sour grapes" since I was eliminated on March 12th. I wish I had won the primary. But if I was destined to lose and be vilified for my ideas, I would at least have liked the ideas I had to have been presented fairly by Christians and fellow Republicans.

I believe that the problem with CC is the leadership. Many of the people who send them money and offer support do not understand that these "leaders" will deceive them for political gain in a heart beat. It seems unchristian and un-American to me. I want people to understand what the CC is all about and I hope that other Republicans will speak out. I always respected the Republican Party for speaking out about PC (politically correct) speech and its violation of the First Amendment.

Within the Republican Party, it has become bad form to call someone an extremist, regardless of his ideas; it has become increasingly acceptable to criticize candidates as moderates, when they do not want to go as far or as fast as you do. Compromise is considered a sign of weakness and disloyalty. If the CC will not compromise, logic dictates that its goal must be to control the Party and destroy those who stand it its way. Their goal is not a Republican majority or a Republican president, but political control for their ideas.

Thanks for your reports and updates. In my opinion they are quite accurate, especially as regards the issue of 'voter guides' and other CC partisan political activity. I generally don't believe in conspiracies, but I know what happened here and I don't want it to happen in other places.

Yours Truly,

David Jenkins

Copperas Cove, Texas"

It was Frank Rich, a syndicated columnist for the New York Times, who, in March 1996, spotlighted the deception of the tax-exempt Christian Coalition with regard to their "non-partisan" activity.  Rich took a very close look at Bob Dole's record on abortion and his 100% approval rating from the Christian Coalition, which has clearly been promoting Dole's nomination right from the start of the campaign.

The rank and file of the Christian Coalition are finally catching on, and they are furious at what they see as a flagrant betrayal of their trust by Robertson.  The information- published in the 'voter guide' claimed that Dole has a " 100% pro-life voting record in the Senate."  This was absolutely untrue, and it is the kind of cynical manipulation that has frustrated many members to the point where they are ready to lead a revolt and join a third party.

An outraged Kenneth Lowndes, who was Co-Chairman of the Camden County Christian Coalition of New Jersey, declared:

"Bob Dole voted for F.A.C.E. (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act), he voted for Federal funding of fetal experimentation, he voted to confirm Clinton's U.S. Supreme Court pro-abortion-to-die-core justices Ginsburg and Breyer.  It isn't as if Pat Robertson didn't know this.  he does. The lie he is spreading is a deliberate lie, and in open contradiction of the IRS classification they choose for the organization. They are deliberately perpetrating a fraud against the Christian voters by widespread dissemination of this lie, a calculated effort to illegally assist the Bob Dole for President campaign."

"Many Christian voters are busy people, like everybody else. If the Christian Coalition's 'voter guide' states that Bob Dole has a 100% pro-life voting record, they voted based on that information. This is an outrageous fraud, which undermines and discredits the efforts of the Coalition nationwide to provide reliable information about candidates on major issues.

"If Pat Robertson wished to support Bob Dole, it is clearly their right to do so as individuals. It is clearly wrong for them to co-opt the use of the Coalition's voter guides' as part of their private effort to elect Dole.

"We are sick and tired of seeing the Christian Coalition take up partisan positions and efforts to support anybody in the race but a true Christian. Could you imagine a Jewish coalition that, every time it had an opportunity to support a Jewish candidate, refused to do so? Or a black coalition that only backs white candidates, even when there is a black candidate? This is clearly the pattern of the leadership of the National Office of the Coalition in Virginia: 'Let's take a look at the Christian candidate and find reasons to avoid backing their efforts'. Robertson-Reed clearly have an acquired Christian candidate inferiority complex they need to work out on their own.

"We call upon Robertson to immediately halt the distribution of the Bob Dole Campaign's alleged Christian Coalition 'voter guides', and further, to issue public apologies to individual members of the Coalition who in good faith support good candidates like Pat Buchanan and others, and to make that apology substantial, spend twice the amount of the money publishing and distributing these fraudulent 'voter guides' on a radio/TV/newspaper media effort to communicate this apology. This apology campaign must be broadcast throughout every state where they have attempted to rig the election outcomes with these fraudulent 'voter guides'."

Another organization, the Red Rock Eater News Service, placed a notice on the Internet to,

"call upon all those of good will to begin filing complaints with the Federal Election Commission in Washington, D.C. by notarized statements, requesting that appropriate sanctions be applied to Robertson-Reed. Their misconduct must be addressed. This type of anti-Christian activity in the name of Christ is intolerable and must be stopped by all proper means. It is with great sorrow that this response has been made essential by the activities of these otherwise good men."

A special note was added:

"It seems highly unlikely that such blatant support coming from Robertson-Reed comes without the knowing approval of Senator Bob Dole, presenting the additional appearance of collusion. The question that now comes forth is, 'What did Bob Dole know, and when did he know it?' It is our considered opinion that investigations are now in order."

In considering the sincerity of the Robertson-Reed claim to be the "champions of human life and family values," it would seem relevant to ask why they have not spoken out in a champion-like way against the tobacco industry, which hooks three thousand American children every day, and causes more than one hundred thousand miscarriages in the United States every year. These too are innocent and unborn victims of the kind the Christian Coalition pretends to be so determined to protect.

Not only have the 'voter guides' failed to make tobacco an issue, but Ralph Reed openly criticizes efforts to control tobacco. In August of 1995, he dismissed President Clinton's "tobacco crusade" as a political stunt, and gloated that it had "created a lot of problems" for Democrats in Kentucky. Two weeks later, in his address to the Christian Coalition's annual convention, Reed derided Clinton for preaching against the dangers of tobacco after having "gutted the drug czar's office".

In May/June 1996, Mother Jones magazine asked these questions:

"Why has Ralph Reed resisted confronting tobacco? And why doesn't Robertson overrule Reed, as he reportedly did two years ago when Reed strayed from Robertson's anti-KNIGHTIA position?"

The answer may be that Reed's motives and responsibilities are different to Robertson's. Robertson is a minister and broadcaster, accustomed to speaking his mind freely. Reed, however, is primarily a political strategist, who wants to avoid the very mistake he attributes to Clinton: supporting tobacco regulations that create "problems" for those in his own party. In this case, Robertson evidently won't - or can't - overrule Reed.

Reed's stance is reflected in the Christian Coalition's grass roots. I haven't gotten any calls from county leaders or the field saying we've got to do something," reports Phil Crows on, the Coalition's North Carolina Field Director. "Our big issues are more about saving unborn lives and reducing the amount of illegal pornography." But when asked about the tens of thousands of unborn lives stubbed out each year by smoking-induced miscarriages, Crows on expresses genuine shock. He's never been told about the research on miscarriages, which Scott Ballina, former Coalition Chairman on Smoking or Health, provided to Reed and Robertson a year earlier."

So why were Robertson and Reed being so hypocritical? Why did they whip themselves into a righteous frenzy when they were talking about abortion, then stroll arm in arm with the tobacco industry into the shadows? Earlier in this book I mentioned that money had a lot to do with what the Christian Coalition did and didn't do, and this is an excellent illustration of that point.

The tobacco industry provides the Christian Right with a vast base of grass roots support, and is a staunch Republican ally. Will religious conservatives continue to accept tobacco's support in exchange for their silence? You bet they will. They do not want to "create problems" with key party donors. In the 1993-94 election cycle, for example, tobacco companies gave $259,027 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which in turn reportedly gave $175,000 to the National Right To Life political action committee. There is enough tobacco money floating around that it has probably inhibited some groups from speaking out.

"If the tobacco income was no longer donated to the church, many churches would completely go under,"

says Steve Sumerel, the Director of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention's substance abuse and family life division.

"The Baptist pastors out there know that. Why pick on an issue where you know you're going to lose your job?"

Senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), a favorite of the Robertson-Reed group, and one of the politicians who scored a 'perfect grade' on the Christian Coalition's 1994 Senate scorecard, completes the irony. While denouncing homosexuality as a threat to public health, he has staunchly and consistently defended the tobacco industry. His office even seems to help the tobacco industry keep an eye on pro-life groups. In a memo published in December 1995 by the Washington Post, a Philip Morris lobbyist informed his superiors during the 1989 search for a new surgeon that, "the pro-life community has coalesced around a Massachusetts physician who has assured Senator Helms that she has no strong anti-tobacco bias."

This infuriated Reverend Patrick Mahoney, Executive Director of the pro-life Christian Defense Coalition, who said,

"It's obvious that Senator Helms is more concerned about contributions from Philip Morris than standing for the dignity of human life."

At a recent event, even former House Speaker Newt Gingrich refused to step up to the bully pulpit and denounce tobacco advertising, although it obviously targets children. And it's no wonder. Only a few weeks earlier, Gingrich had attended a tobacco sponsored "Salute to Newt" where he collected contributions of $100,000 each from the Chairmen of Philip Morris, R.J.Reynolds, and Brown & Williams.

It is a matter of record that the main contributors to the Religious Right are the Adolf Coors Foundation and other liquor interests.  But that is another book.

GO TO CHAPTER EIGHT

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