Christian Coalition

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Christian Coalition

Christian Coalition, organization founded to advance the agenda of political and social conservatives, mostly comprised of evangelical Protestant Republicans, and to preserve what it deems traditional American values. It was established (1989) by Pat Robertson after he failed to win the 1988 Republican presidential nomination. Based in Chesapeake, Va., the group has about 2 million members and some 2,000 local chapters in 50 states. It lobbies in support of traditional religious and family values, market capitalism, and school choice and prayer and opposes secular influence in the United States, abortion, and gun control. The organization, which, through wide dissemination of voter guides, has supported some political candidates and opposed others, was very influential during the 1990s under the leadership (1989–97) of executive director Ralph Reed. By 1999, however, when Robertson assumed a more active role in the group's direction, its membership was dropping, debts mounting, and influence waning. That same year the Coalition lost its tax-exempt status and divided into two parts: the Christian Coalition International, its taxable political arm, and the Christian Coalition of America, tax-exempt and concentrating on voter education. Robertson resigned as the group's president in 2001.

See J. Watson, The Christian Coalition: Dreams of Restoration, Demands for Recognition (1997).

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