Magazine article Church & State

Ex-Christian Coalition Head Ralph Reed Resurfaces in Iowa

Magazine article Church & State

Ex-Christian Coalition Head Ralph Reed Resurfaces in Iowa

Article excerpt

Disgraced former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed is working hard to get back into the thick of American politics.

Reed spoke to the Iowa Christian Alliance in March, reported The Iowa Independent. During the event, Reed said he hopes to raise $500,000 to launch a political unit in Iowa that will produce voter guides.

The plan sounds like vintage Reed. During his years as head of the Christian Coalition, a group founded in 1989 by TV preacher Pat Robertson, Reed perfected the strategy of using voter guides as weapons of partisan attack.

Under Reed's direction, state chapters of the Coalition throughout the '90s distributed voter guides that were carefully stacked to promote certain candidates and attack others. Although the strategy worked for several years, it eventually collapsed after Americans United exposed the guides as partisan, and many churches refused to distribute them.

Reed left the Coalition in 1997 and went on to become an Atlanta-based political consultant. He fell from grace in Religious Right circles after his involvement in the Jack Abramoff casino/lobbying scandal was exposed.

At the time, Reed was running for lieutenant governor of Georgia as a Republican and was considered a shoo-in. He ended up losing by 12 points to an obscure state senator. (See "Wheel of Misfortune," March 2006 Church & State.)

In June of last year, Reed formed a group called the Faith and Freedom Coalition and seems eager to resume his controversial tactics again.

"What we're going to be doing over the next eight months or so here in Iowa, is we're going to be working with the Iowa Christian Alliance; we're going to have a sister organization, the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition," Reed told the crowd. "Yes, we're going to be distributing voter guides. Yes, we're going to make sure God's people know where the candidates stand. …

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