Robertson Steps Down as Coalition Falters. (News)

Article excerpt

With the resignation of religious broadcaster M. G. "Pat" Robertson from the presidency of the Christian Coalition, some critics are writing the end of the organization that mobilized millions of evangelicals for conservative politics in the 1990s. A number of prominent staffers had already departed, starting with the articulate executive director Ralph Reed a few years ago. The group has seen its budget drop sharply.

"The Christian Coalition has been a sinking ship for several years, and now the captain's jumped overboard," said Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "Without Robertson's money and political clout, it's only a matter of time before the organization collapses outright."

Robertson, who will turn 72 in March, said he wanted to devote more time to ministry, to spirituality and to the Christian Broadcasting Network, of which he is chairman. The time is right "with the few years left to me of active service" to focus on the things that would "bring forth the greatest spiritual benefit," he said in his December 5 announcement.

Besides his work with the network he founded in 1960, he will continue humanitarian efforts with Operation Blessing, a relief organization he began, and his role as chancellor of Regent University, a graduate school he started on the same campus with CBN in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

The son of a onetime U.S. senator, Robertson ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, which was eventually captured by George W. Bush's father. Under increasing pressure during the primary campaign about his charismatic religious views and his status as an ordained minister, Robertson vacated his clergy credentials (only to be reordained in the spring of 2000). …