A once valuable part of the conservative movement appears to be on it's last legs, with state chapters cutting ties and $2 million of debt.
On Monday, officials from the Christian Coalition of Georgia announced their formal notice for a name change.
In a letter sent to the Christian Coalition of America's President, Roberta Combs, dated September 25, 2006, Georgia Chapter Chairperson Sadie Fields said, “I have been authorized by the Board of Directors of the Christian Coalition of Georgia, Inc. to notify you as Chairman and President of the Christian Coalition of America of our plans to change the name of our state organization.”
Georgia now joins Alabama, Iowa and Ohio state chapters in departure as state affiliates of the national organization.
Fields confirmed the break: “Our new organization will maintain the same board of directors, officers and staff and will be issues driven based on our long- standing, tried, true and tested mission and tenets that have guided our organization since 1989.”
She stated that their mission statement is: “We believe that people of faith have a right and a responsibility to be involved in the world around them; that involvement includes social, community and political action.
"The long-standing tenets that bring unity among conservative members of our coalition of Christians are: strengthening the family, protecting innocent human life, returning education to local parental control, easing the tax burden on families, punishing criminals defending victims’ rights, protecting young people our communities from the pollution of pornography and the expansion of gambling, defending the institution of marriage and protecting religious freedom."
“In every major public policy debate, it is almost guaranteed that the liberal forces opposing our view will try to redefine who we are and feverishly attempt to amend our tenets and mission. The Christian Coalition of America has demonstrated by their actions in word and in deed a desire to drift from our founding tenets. The Christian Coalition of America has left us, we have not left them,” Fields concluded.
CCG Board of Directors is currently developing a new name and logo for the state operation, which will be unveiled on or before November 1, 2006.
Fields added, “We will march forward and continue on our mission to educate voters in Georgia with our one million voter guide project.”
Fields letter to Combs concluded with the following statement, “A name change was our last resort. Those of us who have served the Christian Coalition faithfully and well deeply regret that we have been compelled to make this move. But, we must in order to preserve the original mission of the Christian Coalition and to continue in the tradition thereof.”
One of the issues that has soured Christian Coalition state chapters is national Christian Coalition leader Roberta Combs joining forces with leftist groups such as the ACLU, MoveOn.Org, and others in support of the Clinton-Markey effort to have more government control over the Internet.
Also, In Alabama in 2003, the Christian Coalition of America and the usual suspects -- public employee unions and newspaper editorial boards -- all applauded the effort to hike taxes by more than a billion dollars a year.
While the national officials loudly supported this tax increase on Alabama families, John Giles and the Alabama chapter of the Christian Coalition broke with the national chapter and worked to defeat the tax increase.
The Alabama chapter won the debate and turned out conservative voters, who soundly defeated the higher tax plan at the polls. Even better, without the tax increase, Alabama's government today is enjoying record budget surpluses.
Former Republican lawmaker and party leader, Dick Armey has severely criticized the national Christian Coalition.
Armey said of Roberta Combs and CCA in an article appearing in the Hawaii Reporter: "The national Christian Coalition was once an important part of the movement that helped bring conservative, limited government ideas to majority status in America. Today, the shell organization that remains is too often simply another Washington, DC, voice calling for bigger government."
Earlier this year, Chris Long, executive director of the Ohio chapter, stated, "From this time forward, we will be known as Ohio Christian Alliance (OCA)."
"It was a sad day when our board found it impossible to continue a name that was associated with the national organization," he said.
Long added, "But the board felt it would rather function as an independent organization than an organization shrouded with perceptions contrary to Christian commitments, and it voted unanimously to spin off."
The Ohio chapter had followed the lead of the Iowa chapter, which severed its ties in March in a statement nearly identical to the one issued by Ohio.
The Coalition's influence has greatly declined under Roberta Combs, and the once prosperous group is now $2 million in the red. It's under siege by lawsuits from creditors and is also struggling to hold on to state chapters. Once, the Christian Coalition organized a dozen lobbyists in Washington, but now the only remnant of the Coalition within a mile of the Capitol is a single employee who works from his home.
Observers of this latest controversy involving the Christian Coalition believe that more chapters will break off from the national organization.
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