Christian Coalition in the Rise of the Religious Right Ralph Reed Pat Robertson Essay

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Christian Coalition in the Religious Right

Explaining the Role of the Christian Coalition

The role of the Christian Coalition (CC) during the latter half of the 20th century was to rebuild the Religious Right (RR) movement into a permanent grass roots political organization that would support policies and candidates favored by the Religious Right at all levels, especially at the local level. Under the leadership of Ralph Reed, the CC adopted political pragmatism and professionalism giving the RR more political influence than it had in the past.

At the time the Christian Coalition was created, the Moral Majority (which played an important role in the election of Ronald Reagan in1980) was closing, and the Americans for Robertson (the successor of the Freedom Council created for Pat Robertson's campaign for the Republican nomination for president in 1988) was drifting (Martin 1996, 300-301, 304, 308). The RR was without an effective and enduring political organization.

The CC started by re-engaging people that had been organized and mobilized by the Freedom Council and Americans for Robertson. The organization grew with new recruits, trained cadres in political and leadership skills, and networked with other conservative organizations at the local level (Martin 1996, 303, 305-307). By the end of 1991, the Christian Coalition was well-financed and had 82,000 members (Martin 1996, 317). The victory of Bill Clinton in 1992, rather than signaling defeat for the CC in its support (although somewhat lukewarm) for Bush, galvanized its appeal. By 1993, its membership surged to almost a million (Martin 1996, 329). The organizational strength of the CC was reflected in its influence over the Republican Party. A survey among political experts in 1995 indicated that the RR had dominant or substantial influence in the Republican Party in 31 states (Martin 1996, 339).

The Role of Ralph Reed and others in the Election of Republican Candidates

Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson and other leaders of the CC used its organizational capabilities to help elect Republican candidates and appoint favored candidates to national positions. The CC engaged in voter identification, education, and registration, in addition to getting like-minded people to vote (Martin 1996, 318). For example, in 1990, the CC distributed 750,000 voter guides in North Carolina to help elect Jesse Helms. For the confirmation of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, the CC produced thousands of telephone calls to key…

Sources Used in Document:


Martin, W. 1996. With God on Our Side. The Rise of the Religious Right in America. New York,

NY: Broadway Books.

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