Although this article was written about politics in Georgia, I feel it is relevant to the
Although this article was written about politics in Georgia, I feel it is
relevant to the country as a whole. Everywhere it says Georgia, insert
the name of YOUR state! Also, there are some interesting comments about
Robertson and Falwell here.
From the Atlanta Journal/Atlanta Constitution, Friday, April 30, 1993:
THE PULPIT AND POLITICS
By Julie K. Miller, Staff Writer
Although they lost the war under the Gold Dome this year to tighten
restrictions on sex education and to stop the flow of tax dollars to
Planned Parenthood, soldiers of the evangelical crusade already are
girding for next year's battles.
They have issued the call for reinforcements in churches across Georgia,
and leaders of the fight to promote Christian principles in the making of
laws say the response has been inspirational.
"My phone rings every week, and I hear women saying, `I'm as mad as I
can be. Tell me what I can do,' said Beth Hortman, who is organizing a
political network at the Believers Church in Douglas County to teach
believers how to lobby state legislators.
"What I'm trying to do is educate and organize. I believe by the next
session of the General Assembly we're going to see these people at the
Capitol, and the politicians better get ready for them," said Mrs.
Hortman, who has allies at other churches in metro Atlanta starting
networks of their own. "They are going to see a lot of housewives and
career women who have turned ferocious on the issues."
Issues like sex education and abortion and a desire to see Christian
family values reflected in law are driving church members from the pews
"We think of Georgia as one of the hot spots across the nation for
religious-right activity," said Matthew Freeman, spokesman for People for
the American Way, a 300,000-member nonpartisan constitutional rights
watchdog group. "It really is a grass-roots effort, where churches are
almost like precincts and ministers and lay people are like work bosses."
The evangelicals have to walk a fine line in that effort. Churches risk
losing their tax-free status with the Internal Revenue Service if they
endorse a political candidate or party.
"I really feel in walking that fine a line between education and
advocacy, they are crossing the line and violating the law," said Teresa
Nelson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of
Georgia. "They are going to have to be very careful."
Some groups that have tax-exempt status get around rules against
endorsing a party or a particular candidate by listing "candidates to pray
for," said Mr. Freeman, thus encouraging support without actually
VICTORIES FEW AND LIMITED
Among the Georgia leaders in spreading the gospel in the corridors of
power are Jim Glanton, a citizen lobbyist, and his wife, Pam Glanton, a
freshman Republican state senator -- both members of the Believers Church
Mrs. Glanton, seen as one of the shining stars of the Christian right
movement in Georgia, came away from her first session as a senator bruised
and weary, wondering why the victories for her cause were so few and so
But she believes she and others in the Legislature who push the
religious right agenda accomplished something just by letting people get
to know them and where they stand.
"We're a religious people," she said. "Our country was founded on
religion and the Scriptures. People are waking up and finding they don't
like the way it's being done. They want to have more input. More people
are coming to say what they think."
Her husband, who has lobbied for several years against abortion and who
tried unsuccessfully this year to stop state funding for Planned
Parenthood of Atlanta, sees churches becoming more active in political
"In the past, a lot of pastors have pushed the belief that religion and
politics don't mix -- that politics is dirty," said Mr. Glanton. "I think
He pointed to plans by a contingent of 15 pastors who converged on the
Capitol during the recent General Assembly session to start political
ministries at their churches.
"We don't use the word `politics'; we're involved in moral issues," said
one of the pastors, the Rev. Carroll Phillips of Emmanuel Baptist Church
in Blackshear. "The thing I'm asking our churches to do is pray for
people in authority over us. The Scripture is very clear -- the powers
that be are ordained of God -- and it's our responsibility as believers to
be their servants."
The Rev. Phillips said he plans to be at the Capitol every week during
the next session of the Legislature "to help them reach their goals and
PHONE TREES EFFECTIVE
One method that's been "very effective," Mr. Glanton said, is to set up
phone trees in which church members call their representatives and tell
them how they want them to vote on particular issues. "We're going to do
more of that," he said.
The Christian Coalition of Georgia, which claims about 2,000 members
statewide, is planning a series of two-day seminars through the end of the
year to teach the faithful how to organize on a grass-roots level and
affect public policy. Leadership schools are scheduled in May in Savannah
and June in Atlanta.
"We are getting a lot of calls from people who are very interested in
getting involved in politics", said Pat Gartland, state executive director
of the Christian Coalition, which pushes former presidential candidate Pat
Robertson's agenda. "It's family matters -- not just one issue. Hey, I'm
just as concerned about a tax increase as I am for the sanctity of life,
whether it's for the elderly or the unborn."
And in an apparent move to revive the Moral Majority, television
evangelist Jerry Falwell is urging his listeners to order his $39.95 "Who
Killed America" videotape that outlines what he thinks is wrong with
government and how to fix it.
"If our side is ever to become really effective, it's going to be
through church members," said Mr. Glanton. "There's a whole other world
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