A Far-Right Powerhouse You Haven't Heard Of

We all know about the Christian Coalition, the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family. Thanks to David Kirkpatrick at The New York Times, we now know a little more about the Council for National Policy(CNP), a secretive group of the country's most powerful Religious Right leaders and their allies. (The organization met in New York City last week.)

The CNP was formed in 1981 by Christian conservatives to strategize about how to turn the country to the right. Among the founders were Tim LaHaye, author of the apocalyptic Left Behind novels, and Paul Weyrich who helped found the Heritage Foundation, a far-right think tank.

Although details of the CNP's work are closely guarded, Kirkpatrick discovered that the membership list this year reads like a who's who of the Religious Right and their friends. James Dobson of the Focus on the Family, Jerry Falwell, Phyllis Schlafly, Weyrich, Holland H. Coors of the beer dynasty, Wayne LaPierre of the National Riffle Association, Richard A. Viguerie of American Target Advertising, Mark Mix of the National Right to Work Committee and Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform are all on the register.

The CNP, with only a few hundred members, is relatively small in number, but it represents the real decision-making body of the extreme right in America. Its thrice-yearly meeting merit more attention from the nation's news media. The CNP's influence in the halls of government is deeply disturbing, and more reporters ought to take an interest in these closed-door events.