By Cherry, Matt
Free Inquiry , Vol. 18, No. 2
Do you think the Christian Coalition has too much power in U.S. politics? You ain't seen nothin' yet. According to inside sources, the Coalition has set out to reinvent itself as a more powerful political pressure group, but it may have to give up its tax-exempt status and become a Political Action Committee (PAC) to do so.
The planned changes are not entirely voluntary. The program for renewal has been forced on the Coalition by a sharp decline in membership and donations, and by damaging revelations of its illicit political dealings.
The plans to increase the Coalition's political power were first revealed at its "Road to Victory," conference last fall. At a closed-door meeting, Coalition founder and chairman Pat Robertson outlined a precinct-based political strategy for electing federal, state, and local officials. Robertson's talk was secretly taped and made public by watchdog group Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Robertson's remarks seriously damage his claims that the Christian Coalition is a nonpolitical religious organization.
Comparing the Coalition to other infamous political machines, he said, "If we have that basic core and we have identified people, this is the power of every machine that has ever been in politics." Robertson also bragged, "I told [Coalition President] Don Hodel when he joined us, 'My dear friend, I want to hold out to you the possibility of selecting the next president of the United States, because I think that's what we have in this organization. …