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Charleston, SC

This political group was founded by TV evangelist Pat Robertson. Under the tutelage of Ralph Reed, it was in the 1990s the nation's most powerful Religious Right group. The group lost influence after Reed left and Robertson withdrew his support.

The Christian Coalition was founded in 1989 by TV preacher Pat Robertson as an organization dedicated to advancing the Religious Right’s agenda through church-based political action. During the 1990s, the Coalition was the nation’s most powerful Religious Right group with a budget that reached $25 million annually. It was led by Ralph Reed, a GOP strategist.

The Coalition, once a powerful force in the Republican Party and the evangelical community, no longer wields the influence it once did. In its prime, the group had a mailing list of over 1 million names and perhaps more than 400,000 dues-paying members. It now has a membership estimated to be no more than 30,000.

Closely aligned with the Republican Party, the Coalition claimed to be non-partisan but actually worked to forge a church-based political machine that would disseminate stacked “voter guides” on behalf of GOP candidates. The plan was ambitious, but many pastors were wary.

Clergy concern escalated in 1997 after Americans United released an audiotape of a closed-door Coalition leaders’ meeting in which Robertson said the group must emulate Tammany Hall, the notoriously corrupt New York political machine. In 1999, the IRS determined that the tax-exempt Coalition had engaged in too much politicking, forcing the group to restructure. Reed had by this time left the group, and in December of 2001, Robertson pulled his support and funding. Subsequently, the Coalition has struggled unsuccessfully to maintain a financial infrastructure and a vibrant membership base.

The Coalition, now led by South Carolina activist Roberta Combs, continues to operate, but its positions and statements wield a tiny fraction of the influence than they once did.

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Wall of Separation

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Press Releases
Church & State
January 2012 Church & State

Religion And Campaign 2012

Religious Right Forces Are Seeking To Control Presidential Politics And Play A Dominant Role In This Year’s Elections

November 2004 Church & State

Inside The Christian Coalition

Religious Right Group Finds Americans United Obstacles Blocking Its ‘Road To Victory’

November 2002 Church & State

The Christian Coalition: Born Again?

With Help From A New TV Preacher And A Dose Of Old-Time Religion, Roberta Combs Hopes To Resurrect The Christian Coalition

January 2001 Church & State


TV Preacher Pat Robertson Joins Forces With 'Cult Leader Sun Myung Moon, As Religious Right Wages Full-Throttle Battle To Place Bush In The White House'

November 2000 Church & State

On The Road Again

Crashing Pat Robertson's Partisan Party

November 2000 Church & State

Bush League

TV Preacher Pat Robertson's Political Group May Be Less Powerful In This Election Year, But It's More Partisan Than Ever

September 2000 Church & State

Taxing The Truth

Christian Coalition Wins Skirmish With IRS, But Loses War