They claim to be Christians but never speak of tolerance,
forgiving, sharing or freedom of conscience.
Who are they? They're called the "pro-family" religious right.
Among the better known groups are Robert Simonds' Citizens for
Excellence in Education, Phyllis Schafly's Eagle Forum, Randall
Terry's Operation Rescue, and Beverly LaHaye's Concerned Women for
The well-organized Christian Coalition is the religious right's
most active political action group. At heart, it is a religious
crusade that uses top-notch political organizational strategy.
Founded in 1989 by multimillionaire televangelist Pat Robertson,
its growth has been phenomenal. In just six years, the coalition
has become a potent force with 1.5 million members, 1,500 chapters
in 50 states, and a $20 million budget. A survey of coalition
newsletter readers showed that 79 percent of them are
fundamentalist or Pentecostal Christians. Five chapters were
organized in the St. Louis area in 1994.
Why is the coalition's growth so rapid? Its members'
description of themselves as "pro family" appeals to those who
deplore society's move away from traditional values and nuclear
families. Many agree with the coalition's announced public goals:
smaller government, lower taxes, less regulation, a balanced
budget, term limits and welfare reform. However, there are other,
Religious-right groups are termed radical because their
ultimate goal is to transform the United States into a theocracy.
They seek to unite their version of Christianity with the
"What Christians have got to do is to take back this country. I
honestly believe that in my lifetime, we will see a country once
again governed by Christians and Christian values."
Ralph Reed, executive director,
Christian Coalition, May 1990
Recently, coalition leaders denied their goal of subverting the
First Amendment. They've learned that very few Americans want any
religion, even their own, to unite with the government. History has
proved that coerced religion corrupts the coercers as well as the
religion. The coalition's goal of converting our democracy into a
theocracy has gone underground.
Another reason coalition members are called radical is their
practice of deceptively infiltrating organizations. A 1990 state
manual instructs members: "Never mention the name Christian
Coalition in Republican circles. Become directly involved in the
Republican Committee yourself so that you are an insider."
Although coalition leaders have repeatedly stated their hope to
control the Republican Party by the year 2000, they now disavow
The coalition advocates "pro-family" values. This phrase
excludes single-parent families, unmarried partners and those who
have had abortions or advocate choice. It also defines the family
as patriarchal, with wives subordinate to husbands:
"The husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is,