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Christian Coalition

CHRISTIAN COALITION

The Christian Coalition is a nonprofit organization that serves as a powerful lobby for politically conservative causes. Under federal tax law, the organization is permitted to lobby for political issues but cannot endorse political candidates. The Christian Coalition has primarily sought the support of born-again evangelical Christians, but since 1996 it has attempted to build alliances with Roman Catholics, members of the Greek Orthodox Church, and Jews.

The Christian Coalition was founded in 1989 by religious broadcaster Pat Robertson. Robertson, who unsuccessfully sought the 1988 republican party presidential nomination, decided to create an organization of evangelical Christians that would exert influence over the party. The coalition's central goals have been to gain working control of the Republican Party through grassroots organizing and to elect Christian candidates to office. The coalition soon became a potent political force. By 1997, it claimed control of several Republican state central committees and had elected to public office numerous Christian Coalition members and other candidates it endorsed. Prior to the congressional elections of 2002, the Christian Coalition distributed 70 million voter guides throughout the 50 states, an effort that has been credited with helping the Republican Party gain control of Congress.

The Christian Coalition has focused on family and moral issues. It strongly opposes legalized abortion, and in 1998 it began an effort to require all endorsed Republican candidates to oppose partial-birth abortions. The coalition has also campaigned against gay rights, and through its legal arm, the American Center for Law and Justice, it has filed many church-state lawsuits.

Robertson, who served as president until 1997, appears on the 700 Club, a television program that, as of July of 2003, is watched by 1 million viewers each week. Robertson has characterized politics as a struggle pitting militant leftists, secular humanists, and atheists against conservative, evangelical Christians. The success of the coalition's grassroots organizing, however, can be attributed to Ralph Reed, who served as executive director until 1997. Reed encouraged coalition members to run for school boards, city councils, and legislatures without revealing their affiliation. This strategy also proved effective within the Republican Party.

The Christian Coalition has over 1,500 chapters in the United States with over one million members. The coalition's staff is headquartered in Chesapeake, Virginia; it also maintains a legislative office in Washington, D.C. With a budget of more than $27 million, the coalition has the resources to mount nationwide campaigns on public policy issues. The organization also actively lobbies Congress on numerous issues, sponsors grassroots training schools across the United States, and organizes activists

around the country who are involved in federal and local politics.

The election of george w. bush as president in 2000 and the gain of Republican seats in both the House and Senate in 2002 gave increased clout to the Christian Coalition's already vigorous advocacy. In early 2003, the Christian Coalition lobbied for the confirmation of Miguel Estrada, an Hispanic lawyer, to be a judge on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals. According to the coalition, his confirmation was "being blocked by those who would subject judicial nominees to a liberal litmus test." The organization also supported a ban on partial-birth abortions and the cloning of humans. In addition, the Christian Coalition voiced strong support for President Bush as the United States was poised on the brink of war with Iraq.

further readings

American Center for Law and Justice. Available online at <www.aclj.org> (accessed June 17, 2003).

Christian Coalition. Available online at <www.cc.org> (accessed June 17, 2003).

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"Christian Coalition." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Retrieved April 29, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/christian-coalition

Christian Coalition

CHRISTIAN COALITION

CHRISTIAN COALITION, a political action and evangelical piety movement based in Washington, D.C., was formed in 1989 by the Reverend Pat Robertson to provide him with a national vehicle for public advocacy. Defeated in the Republican presidential primaries the previous year, Robertson was poised to fill the vacuum among fundamentalist activists caused by the dissolution of the Moral Majority. Ralph Reed, an early executive director, secured wide public exposure for the Christian Coalition through frequent media appearances and by securing it access among prominent politicians. Its subsequent executive director, Roberta Combs, focused on organization and on mobilizing youth activists. The Christian Coalition claimed in 2001 to have nearly two million members nationwide with branches in every state and on many university campuses.

The Christian Coalition was founded on the belief that "people of faith" have a right and a responsibility to effect social, cultural, and political change in their local communities. Its members denounced promiscuity and what they deemed as individualist, feminist, and judicial excesses, and preferred a larger role for independent groups instead of the federal government. Its goals included strengthening "family values" by fighting abortions, pornography, homosexuality, bigotry, and religious persecution, and by endorsing prayer in public places such as schools. Easing the tax burden on married couples and fighting crime by severely punishing culprits while protecting the rights of victims complemented its mission.

Educating, lobbying, and disseminating information through courses, lectures, debate forums, issue voter guides, and scorecards for certain candidates on its issues of concern were the hallmark of the Christian Coalition. Its brochure "From the Pew to the Precinct" emphasized that in order to preserve its tax-exempt status, this movement did not specifically endorse individuals or parties, but the vast majority of its grassroots mobilization supported the Republican Party.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Harding, Susan Friend. The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language and Politics. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2000.

ItaiSneh

See alsoChristianity ; Fundamentalism ; Moral Majority ; Pro-Life Movement ; School Prayer .

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"Christian Coalition." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 29 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Christian Coalition." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved April 29, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/christian-coalition

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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"Christian Coalition." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 29 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Christian Coalition." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved April 29, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/christian-coalition