Freedom Writer - October 1995
By Skipp Porteous
While the Christian Coalition's annual Road to Victory conference
and strategy briefing is a political event, this year's meeting reached
a new peak. A parade of Republican presidential hopefuls appeared
on the roster, including: Sen. Bob Dole, Sen. Phil Gramm, Sen. Richard
Lugar, Pat Buchanan, Lamar Alexander, Alan Keyes, Rep. Newt Gingrich,
and Bill Bennett. Gov. Pete Wilson of California sent regrets. Sen.
Arlen Specter wasn't invited.
Christian Coalition members attended from every state in the nation.
With 4,260 present, attendance topped last year's conference by 900,
giving fire marshals the jitters. In addition, the press corps provided
another 200 attendees. (Back in 1990, _The_Freedom_Writer_ was about
the only press covering the Christian Coalition Road to Victory conference.)
Joel Vaughan, associate field director, told _The_Freedom_Writer_
that the annual conference "is a great motivator for Christian Coalition
members to start chapters."
Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed set the tone for
the conference. Still trying to defend the group against charges of
anti-Semitism, Reed said, "We are the best friend the Jews or the
State of Israel ever had." In an effort to bolster Reed's statement,
the conference featured the usual lineup of Jewish speakers.
However, Road to Victory was really about presidential politics. "The
question is not who will we endorse," Reed said, "the question is
who will endorse our agenda." To appear non-partisan, Reed added,
to thunderous applause, "We do not bear the name of Ronald Reagan,
or Bob Dole, or Newt Gingrich; we bear the Name that is above every
name; we bear the Name of Him to whom every knee shall bow!"
Though "non-partisan," Reed and a host of other speakers (about 146
speakers addressed the conference at various sessions and workshops)
attacked President Clinton, both personally and politically. Reed
said Clinton's use of the "bully pulpit" to promote family values
really came from the "pulpit of bull." As the crowd cheered him on,
Reed criticized Hillary Rodham Clinton's trip to the UN's World Conference
on Women in Beijing, China. Reed failed to mention the courageous
stance the First Lady took when she castigated the Chinese government
for its human rights violations.
Pat Robertson reminded the audience that many of the goals he set
in 1990 have been met ahead of schedule. One of the goals was to "be
a deciding voice in at least one of the two major political parties"
by 1994. According to Campaign & Elections magazine, Robertson said,
the Christian Coalition is now "dominant" in the Republican Party
in 18 states, and "substantial" in 13 states. Alluding to his apocalyptical
views, Robertson plugged his forthcoming book, a novel called _The_
Of the Republican presidential front- runners, Sen. Bob Dole received
a generally warm reception; Sen. Phil Gramm's welcome was enthusiastic;
Pat Buchanan, the obvious favorite, was received with wild enthusiasm.
Buchanan, the conservative talk-show host, delivered the keynote speech
at Saturday night's closing gala banquet. While they sat at rapt attention,
his final words stirred the audience.
"For the time is not far distant," Buchanan declared, "when we are
all going to have to gird ourselves and take that long march up to
Armageddon to do battle for the Lord. God bless you all, and God bless
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