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The Christian Coalition:
A Small Grassroots Organization or A Large Political Threat?
Founded in the aftermath of television evangelist Pat Robertson's 1988 campaign for the presidential nomination, the Christian Coalition is a dynamic pro-family grassroots organization. Robertson founded the Christian Coalition (CC) a non-partisan, issue oriented organization, which believes that through effective grassroots organization and encouraging activism by conservative Christians, they can bring the United States back to its Judeo-Christian roots.
Robertson's 1988 presidential campaign, a failure by most measures, supplied an ideal foundation for a grassroots organization. Donors became members, campaign workers became staffers, the National Republican Senatorial Committee provided a seed grant of $64 000, and the Christian Coalition was born.
Officially, the CC has five goals:
· To represent Christians before local councils, state legislatures and the US Congress;
· To train Christians for effective political action;
· To inform Christians of timely issues and legislation;
· To speak out in the public arena and media; and
· To protest anti-Christian bigotry and defend the legal rights of Christians.
While the fortunes of its' leaders, organizations, and candidates have fluctuated, the CC's activities are well-financed, and it's followers are well-organized.
Increasingly, they are the Republican Party's most reliable supporters-what political strategists call "The Base".
The CC is interested in regaining the "traditional" values they believe the US has lost. The CC of Georgia states, "In the past few years, we have seen radical departure from the Judeo-Christian principals which and are the foundation of our country and our government. Never in our country's history have we seen such an all-out attack on religion, Christian values and families. If we act now, we have a tremendous opportunity to change this country's state for the better."
The CC of Mecklenburg County says, "Our purpose is to keep voters informed of local issues, as well as state and national issues from a pro-family perspective. We hope and pray you will find these pages informative and motivate you to take action. It is only through God's mercy that those who oppose his laws and commandments are able to exercise their will."
Pat Robertson himself has stated the mission of the Christian Coalition as; "to mobilize Christians-one precinct at a time, one community at a time-until once again we are at the head and not the tail, and at the top rather than the bottom of our political system." Robertson also predicts that, "the Christian Coalition will be the most powerful political force in America by the end of this decade." And, "We have enough votes to run this country…and when the people say, 'We've had enough,' we're going to take over!"
The Christian Coalition now claims 1.7 million members in 2000 chapters across the United States and their total revenue in 1996 was $26, 487, 746. Their claim of 1.7 million members has been questioned many times. The Christian Coalition reported to the Postal Service that they print only 354 000 copies of their Bi-monthly newsletter that
goes to every member. This means that even if there are two members per mailing address, that only amounts to 708 000 members, no where near their claim of 1.7 million.
The CC manipulates events in history to support their views. They quote the Bible and cite speeches that have been made in history. For example, on the CC of Georgia website they provide a quote from Charles Finney, a minister and leader in America's 2nd Great Awakening. He once said: "The church must take right ground in regard to politics…the time has come for Christians to vote for honest men and take consistent ground in politics…God cannot sustain this free country which we love and pray for unless the church will take the right ground. Politics are a part of a religion in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to God…God will bless or curse this nation according to the course Christians take in politics."
Another part in that same website labelled "Our Christian Heritage" describes the wishes and objectives of the founders of Georgia. "James Edward Oglethorpe (1696-1785) was the founder of the colony of Georgia, named for King George II, in 1732. The colony was conceived as a place of refuge for poor debtors from England and persecuted Protestants from Europe. 100 settlers moved to the area, quickly
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Christian Coalition of America, Christian fundamentalism, Pat Robertson, Conservatism in the United States, Coalition, Christian right, Moral Majority
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