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
"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:
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.
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
"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
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.
TO CHAPTER EIGHT
ENEMIES OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
OF HIJACK OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH