By Carl Carter
If we were to start from scratch and create a Christian coalition, what might that look like? I’ll let you ponder that. Meanwhile, let’s look at what the existing Christian Coalition defines as its agenda.
Who are these people? The Christian Coalition was created by 700 Club TV preacher Pat Robertson in 1989, more or less taking up the slack after Jerry Falwell shut down Moral Majority in the mid 1980s. Of all the groups making up the religious right, these are probably at the top of the food chain.
So what do these Christians stand for? You’d figure it would have lots of references to the Bible, but you’d be wrong. In 2,078 words, the agenda mentions Jesus once (regarding prayer in his name). God also merits only one mention. Words that don’t appear at all include: Bible, testament (Old or New), scripture or faith. But there’s plenty of America (18 times) and military (11 times). Don’t take my word for it. It’s all laid out on their website at cc.org:
Repealing and replacing Obamacare. This is no surprise, of course. The big beef? Using tax dollars to pay for abortions. As a secondary point, they note that it “forces Christian owners of businesses to pay for abortion drugs, contraceptives and other services…” It’s important to note (as with other parts of the “Christian” agenda) that the Bible has nothing to say about abortion, let alone health care (unless you count Jesus’ various healings). All they can come up with are a loose collection of verses about God’s foreknowledge and babies being good. But the Christian Coalition’s agenda doesn’t even try.
Stand with Israel. This puzzles folks who’ve never spent time in fundamentalist churches, but here’s the key: Fundamentalists in the past half century or so have adopted a novel view of “end times” called Dispensationalism, which lays out detailed timelines of how the world will end. The climactic event is the Battle of Armageddon, which they believe will happen in Israel. This was popularized in the sensationalist (and largely fictitious) “Left Behind” series of books and movies. The whole idea has little support among Bible scholars, but it gets votes.
Reducing Government Spending and Debt. The curious thing about this position, besides its general disconnect to Christian teachings, is that the Christian Coalition supports a balanced budget amendment but opposes tax increases. That’s pretty much impossible. The folks in charge know this very well, but hey, it gets votes.
Re-establishing a Peace through Strength Military Policy. Ignoring the reality that you can’t increase military spending, cut taxes and balance the budget at the same time, the Christian Coalition is always behind any spending for missiles, bombers and fighter jets. You’re not supposed to ask why. If you really want to get a blank look sometime, ask them why God is on our side. But I digress…
Defending our Second Amendment Rights. What this has to do with Christianity still escapes me. But if a question ever comes up and “abortion” sounds wrong, “guns” will probably work.
Abortion funding/Stem cell/Planned Parenthood. This gets its own section, even though it’s pretty well covered under Obamacare. But abortion has been front and center from the very beginning, long before any of us heard of President Obama, so it isn’t going away.
Defending Traditional Marriage. Unlike most other parts of their agenda, they actually have a few verses they can cherry pick to argue that God doesn’t approve of gay people. But that doesn’t seem to matter to this group.
Ending Religious Discrimination Against Christians in the Military. Oddly, out of the Christian Coalition’s 11 agenda items, this is the only one that mentions Jesus, and that’s in a complaint that chaplains can’t pray “in the name of Jesus” during military functions. They also are unhappy with the ending of “ban on open homosexuals in the military.” Apparently, it’s a choice. Either you discriminate against LGBTQ+ or you’re discriminating against Christians.
Opposing Liberal Judicial Nominees. The coalition calls for judges “who will uphold and apply the Constitution as it was originally written by our Founding Fathers.”
Opposing any Re-introduction of the Fairness Doctrine. This one struck me as odd. You may recall that the Fairness Doctrine required that radio and TV stations offer equal time for liberal and conservative views. Since they’re always complaining that the media are all liberal, I’d have thought they would favor reinstating it so they could get equal time.
So there you have it. If you get confused and aren’t sure how to answer a question in Christian Right circles, just say “abortion” or “guns,” and you’ll probably be fine.