Faith and Freedom Coalition

Ralph Reed's Slow, Sad Decline

Once upon a time, Ralph Reed was known as "The Right Hand of God," a man whose political genius was unmatched and whose power and influence was unquestioned. 

Then he left the Christian Coalition to strike out on his own, only to see his former organization collapse and his own political aspirations go up in smoke thanks to his deep ties to corruption [PDF].

But he's still around and active in right-wing politics via his Faith and Freedom Coalition, from where he continues to dispense pathetically cliched political analysis such as this about Sarah Palin ... or, as he calls her, "The Palinator":

This may be Palin’s unique strength. She understands the fiscal and values agendas of conservatism are reinforcing, not mutually exclusive. A nation that relies on God and family for its strength does not seek to expand the federal government to meet every need. Fiscal responsibility and small government are not merely economic principles, they speak to the moral character of a people that believes government has an important but limited function. In this sense, Palin is a fusionist who weaves the various strands of conservatism into a coherent whole.

This is why Palin can act as a bridge between Tea Party activists and the Republican Party and have credibility with both. For now the media is fascinated with whether she will run in 2012. They hope she does, if only because it will make for the most interesting political story since the Obama-Hillary rumble in the 2008 Democratic primaries. That decision is probably a year away. Meanwhile, the MSM is missing the bigger story, at least in the short-term: Palin, who they tried to drive out of respectable political discourse, is re-energizing the grassroots of a Republican Party that they dismissed as dead. Their attacks against her—and the values she symbolizes—not only backfired, they are now working in her and the GOP’s favor.

What ultimately drives the media crazy is they know instinctively they are co-conspirators in her rise. From the Katie Couric interview to the over-the-top attacks by the likes of Shrum, by overplaying their hand they made Palin a bigger force than they ever intended. Had they simply been fair to Palin when she ran for vice president and treated her with decency, she would not be viewed now by so many grassroots conservatives as a victim of irrational elitist hatred. As much as John McCain in selecting her as his running mate in 2008, the MSM made her a force, and she is proving she can use that platform very effectively indeed.

Apparently, providing expert conservative analysis now consists primarily of regurgitating nonsensical right-wing fantasies about how Sarah Palin "is a fusionist who weaves the various strands of conservatism into a coherent whole" who symbolizes everything great about America and will rise of to save this nation.


Things The Religious Right Opposes

It never fails to amaze me the types of state-level legislation that local chapters of Religious Right organizations will mobilize to defeat - things like a $10 tax on marriage licenses to fund domestic violence shelters

A bill that would have made a $10 donation to domestic violence shelters automatic when people apply for a marriage license failed in a House committee vote Monday, after the measure was opposed by the Utah Eagle Forum.


Utah Eagle Forum Vice President Dalane England called Johnson's proposal "an undue burden on marriage."

But that is nothing compared to this report on the fact that Religious Right groups are mobilizing in Georgia to fight a bill that seeks to offer young sex trafficking victims therapy instead of prosecuting them as prostitutes: 

A state lawmaker and hundreds of child advocates are calling for young girls to be treated as victims and not criminalized as prostitutes.

Sen. Renee Unterman is proposing a bill that would set the minimum age at 16 for prosecuting sex-for-hire ... Unterman says the bill does not decriminalize prostitution but aims to make people aware that young children are not responsible for sexual acts and need rehabilitation and therapy, not jail time.


But conservative and Christian groups banned together to oppose the bill. They say it would lead to more prostitution.

"All we would do is be inviting into our state pedophiles and panderers looking for children," says former state Sen. Nancy Schaefer, now president of Eagle Forum of Georgia.

She says correction can also turn a child around and that discipline should not be removed when it comes to children engaging in illegal activity.

For the record, it's not just the Eagle Forum which thinks that the state should be prosecuting 10 year-old sex trade victims because failure to do so would be akin to decriminalization and a boon to pedophiles - so do the Georgia Christian Alliance, the Georgia Christian Coalition, Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, and the Georgia Baptist Convention.

The Alice-in-Wonderland Universe of Ralph Reed

Am I the only one who finds it absolutely amazing that Ralph Reed, a man who saw his own political candidacy was ruined by his deep ties [PDF] to jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff and who is still so radioactive that John McCain could not be seen with him, is somehow still dispensing political advice on television, at tea parties, and in campaigns with his new Faith and Freedom Coalition?

I mean, a right-wing activist who can't even get himself elected thanks to his own ties to corrupt lobbyists probably shouldn't be telling Democrats how to respond to Scott Brown's victory ... but he is anyway

When millions of average Americans poured into the streets to protest Obama’s out-of-control spending at “tea parties” beginning last April, the White House and its liberal allies denounced these protesters as “astroturf,” “tea-baggers,” “evil,” and even compared them to Nazis. House Majoirty Leader and FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey organized opposition to Obama’s policies, so White House allies pressured his DC law/lobbying firm to dump him. I saw Dick at a rally opposing Democratic health care reform the weekend it happened, and he joked: “They made a big mistake. Now I can spend all my time fighting them.”

With each defeat and setback, the Obama political team and the Democrats engaged in spin, finger-pointing, leaks to an adoring press corps, all the while ignoring the warning signs. As late as yesterday, while the Democratic establishment hung black crepe and mourned the impending loss of “the Kennedy seat,” a Democratic official was telling Politico with a straight face that Organizing for America—Obama’s campaign political operation now housed at the DNC—“is a winner” in Massachusetts, “that’s clear, win or lose.” Win or lose? Only in Alice-in-Wonderland universe in which the Obama political team lives is someone who suffers an historic defeat proclaimed a winner. So I suppose Obama should have gotten a gold medal for flying all the way to Copenhagen on bended knee before the IOC, even if Chicago did lose the Olympics.

Is the Obama team still in denial? One wonders. Does Obama have the capacity to listen to the voters, call an audible, and adjust his policies and trim his ambitions? I doubt it. Obama has always struck me as a committed liberal, a true believer, and he will try to salvage health care and get whatever extreme policies he can passed before the 2010 elections. If other Democrats watch their careers go up in smoke and suffer the loss of their offices as a result, so be it. We shall see ... But after last night, Obama is not looking like a political savior anymore. In fact, he looks like the kiss of death. Massachusetts was opening volley of the 2010 elections, and Democrats are bracing for more defeats of historic proportions.

Only in Alice-in-Wonderland universe can a man whose own ties to rampant corruption have utterly destroyed his own political aspirations still make a living dispensing political advice to others.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Not surprisingly, right-wing groups are not happy with Sen. Ben Nelson or the Senate's health care bill.
  • On a related note, Mike Huckabee headlined a hastily organized anti-health care reform rally in Nebraska where he compared Sen. Nelson to Judas.
  • Ralph Reed has big plans for his Faith and Freedom Coalition as he launches its Georgia chapter.
  • Dick Cheney has been named Human Events' "Conservative of the Year." What an honor.
  • On a similar note, I can't wait to find out who will win Peter LaBarbera's "Gay Grinch of the Year Award."
  • Finally, anti-choice groups are outraged that activist Lila Rose was supposedly "attacked" by a Planned Parenthood, though said "attack" seems to have consisted of having anti-choice literature knocked out of her hand.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The National Organization For Marriage declares war after the DC Council passes marriage equality legislation while Bishop Harry Jackson says they have an "airtight legal case" for getting the issue put to a vote.
  • The Tulsa Word remembers Oral Roberts, who passed away today at the age of 91.
  • Janet Porter is trying to get a movie made about herself.  Seriously.
  • Mat Staver says that the custody fight between Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller is nothing more than an effort to claim a "political trophy [for] the homosexual agenda."
  • Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition announces that it is launching a "campaign to defeat [the] health care bill in U.S. Senate."
  • Finally, the Christian Defense Coalition held a "pray-in" at Senator Robert Casey's office this afternoon to let him know that he "cannot make the claim that [he is] pro-life" if he votes for cloture on the healthcare reform legislation.

Ralph Reed Is Back In Business

Yesterday we noted that Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition has been extremely active in mobilizing conservative voters ahead of Virginia's election and had even gotten Sarah Palin to record a robocall on its behalf.

Today, via the Brody File, we find out that Reed has also gotten Mike Huckabee to do the same:

We told you yesterday that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin recorded a phone message encouraging Virginians to get out and vote on Tuesday.

Now, we have learned that a conservative group affiliated with former Christian Coalition founder Ralph Reed asked both Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to make calls to nearly 700,000 voters in Virginia.

The Huckabee calls were made Saturday and the Palin calls were made Sunday and today.

You can hear the Huckabee calls here:

Hello, this is Mike Huckabee and I'm calling to urge you to go to the polls Tuesday and vote for the candidates who reflect your values. Virginia, and America, are at a crossroads. The future of our nation is at stake, and on the issue of taxes and spending, the sanctity of life, and marriage, there are very clear choices.  Be an informed and educated voter and be sure and vote your values this Tuesday.  Thank You. Paid for by the Virginia Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Reed and Palin Team Up in VA

Ralph Reed was in Virginia this past weekend with the state chapter of his Faith and Freedom Coalition mobilizing conseravtive voters heading into tomorrow's election:

Check out these cool pictures and video of Virginia Faith and Freedom chairman Steve Martin and VFFC president Jack Rohrer, accompanied by national Faith and Freedom chair Ralph Reed and dozens of volunteers participating in the Virginia Grassroots Blitz Team, this Saturday, October 31. Literally hundreds of members of the Faith and Freedom Grassroots Blitz Team poured into neighborhoods and precincts throughout Virginia, including in Prince William, Spotsylvania, Chesterfield, Hanover, and the city of Lynchburg.

Faith and Freedom volunteers passed out specialized Halloween door hangers telling voters “Don’t be tricked, Stand up for your values. Vote Tuesday, November 3rd.” These get-out-the-vote door hangers also featured a voter guide displaying the positions of the candidates for Governor on key issues. Some of the issues that this year’s voter guide highlighted were taxes, environmentally sensitive offshore oil drilling, spending, transportation, marriage, and the right to life.

On a related note, Sarah Palin is featured in a new robo-calls being funded by Reed's VA state affiliate, as Greg Sargent reports

A local affiliate of NBC has the audio of the call, which was paid for by a conservative group called the “Freedom Coalition.”

The script makes no mention of McDonnell:

“Virginia, hello, this is Sarah Palin calling to urge you to go to the polls Tuesday and vote to share our principles. The eyes of America will be on Virginia and make no mistake about it, every vote counts. So don’t take anything for granted, vote your values on Tuesday, and urge your friends and family to vote, too.”


Right Wing Leftovers

  • Is Sarah Palin demanding $100,000 to speak to conservatives in Iowa?  Her spokesperson denies it.
  • Dirty tricks in the NY-23 election.
  • The Hill: Bonner & Associates "knew several days ahead of a critical House climate change vote that letters it sent to members claiming local nonprofit groups opposed the bill were fake."
  • Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition gets active in Virginia.
  • FRC goes after Gingrich: Newt’s Big Tent Seems to Attract A Lot of Clowns.
  • Finally, from the Buffalo News: "Political observers across New York are asking today whether Erie County Executive Chris Collins has irreparably damaged his prospects for statewide office after he compared Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to Adolf Hitler and an Antichrist during a Saturday speech in Buffalo."

$25 Worth of Faxes Will End Obama's Presidency!

Ralph Reed is back with his Faith and Freedom Coalition and their first order of business, according to this recent email, is ending Barack Obama's presidency once and for all with a flurry of faxes, warning that if Obama is not stopped, he's going to personally deny you access to live-saving healthcare and turn this nation into a socialist nightmare.  So it is up to you and your $24.95 to "save freedom in America":

My name is Ralph Reed. I am the Chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition -- a new organization dedicated to lifting high the values that made America great. We are mobilizing millions of Americans to OPPOSE and DEFEAT President Obama's far-left agenda for America.

MISSION #1 right now: Defeat "Obamacare."

Over the next 3 days we are aiming to bury Congress with hundreds of thousands of FaxGrams of Protest against "Obamacare."

If we can do that, I believe we have a very real chance to shock Congress with the intensity of public opposition to having government take over your health care . . . and have "Obamacare" declared DOA -- Dead on Arrival.

If we succeed at this, President Obama's disastrous Presidency will be in real jeopardy -- as he will be an immediate "lame duck."


The point is we must apply massive and overwhelming public pressure on Congress to REJECT "Obamacare" -- no matter how they try to dress it up, repackage it, or rebrand it as something other than what it is -- Socialized Medicine.

You and I know that "Obamacare" really has nothing to do with fixing America's health care system.

It's all about government bureaucrats seizing control of your life in a scheme so frightening it could only have been dreamed up by the radical left.

What better way to seize control over your life than seizing control over the decision as to whether you or your loved ones receive life-saving medical treatment or not?

Do you think radicals like Van Jones and other far-left activists will burrow their way into the federal health care bureaucracy, rewarding their friends while people like you end up in the back of the line?


And that's why Faith & Freedom Coalition has launched this Emergency Campaign to bury Congress with hundreds of thousands of FaxGrams over the next 3 days.

Our goal: To shock Congress into abandoning "Obamacare" (which will also effectively end the Obama Presidency and save freedom in America).


We can deliver "FaxGrams" in your name to your Congressman and two U.S. Senators for $24.95 -- which also gives us a few extra-dollars to work with so we can reach many more Americans with FaxGram Authorization Requests like this one.

How Many Coalitions Does The Religious Right Need?

Over the last several months, we've been chronicling the seemingly endless emergence of new Religious Right groups and coalitions. 

In recent months we've witnessed the arrival of the American Principles Project and the Faith and Freedom Institute, which was followed by Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition, while Newt Gingrich was unveiling his Renewing American Leadership effort, and Lou Engle was announcing his Call to Action.  And then a bunch of Religious Right leaders came together under the banner of the Freedom Federation, but apparently the Freedom Federation wasn't enough because now there is something Conservative Action Project which has been sending out "memos for the [conservative] movement" on a regular basis [PDF]:

The Conservative Action Project, chaired by former Attorney General Edwin Meese, is designed to facilitate conservative leaders working together on behalf of common goals. Participation is extended to leaders of groups representing all major elements of the conservative movement—economic, social and national security.

The Conservative Action Project doesn't seem to have a fixed membership, though the memos usually carry the names of people like Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Gary Bauer of American Values, among others.

To date, the coalition has issued memos demanding that heathcare legislation contain lawsuit reform and doesn't include coverage for abortion, one blasting President Obama for supposedly carrying out an "apology and appeasement tour," one decrying the "culture of corruption," and a new memo "requiring that legislation be available on the Internet for 72 hours before consideration by the House."

This new group seems to have some sort of link to the Center for National Policy, considering that the contact info listed on this memo uses the email address: The Council for National Policy's URL is, and it has an affiliated c4 known as CNP Action.

Ralph Reed Is Back In Business

Earlier this year, Ralph Reed announced the formation of his Christian Coalition, Version 2.0, known as the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Reed vowed that this iteration wouldn't be "your daddy's Christian Coalition," and that it would be "more brown, more black, more female, and younger" than the first version ... also, hipper and even more strident.

Since it's launch, it hasn't made much, if any, national news, but that is in keeping with Reed's style of political guerilla warfare and so it is no surprise that he's been hard at work building up a nationwide infrastructure.

Starting with the Faith and Freedom Rally efforts, Reed has been slowly picking up state affiliates and making inroads in states like Iowa:

FFC Chairman Ralph Reed was the guest speaker at the 9th Annual Friends of the Family Banquet hosted by the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition/Iowa Christian Alliance. ICCF is one of Faith and Freedoms newest state affiliates formed in August when the existing Iowa Christian Alliance Board voted to affiliate with the national Faith and Freedom Coalition. Other speakers who addressed the over 750 attendees included, Steve Scheffler, IFFC President, Representative Steve King, Senator Chuck Grassley, and David Barton of Wallbuilders.

Reed and the FFC are also setting up shop in Florida, where they plan on opening chapters in every country in order to play a key role in the Republican Gubernatorial primary:

Florida is the largest of a half-dozen states where the Faith and Freedom Coalition now has chapters, which some have dubbed a 2.0 version of the Christian Coalition, intended to draw younger, Internet-savvy social conservatives.

“Our goal within Florida is to open a chapter in every county and mobilize social conservatives,” said Jack St. Martin, chief operating officer of Reed’s coalition. “We plan to make a difference in many elections in Florida.”

The organization plans to be involved in state legislative races along with statewide campaigns in Florida next year, including the competitive U.S. Senate Republican primary between Gov. Charlie Crist and former House Speaker Marco Rubio, St. Martin said.

Along with grassroots organizing, the Faith and Freedom Coalition is forming a federal political action committee to pour cash into campaigns across the nation, including Florida.

Bill Stephens, executive director of the state’s Christian Coalition, is joining the Florida affiliate as its leader.

“We think there are a lot of social conservatives who have stayed at home in Florida the past two election cycles because they didn’t like what they heard or saw from the candidates,” Stephens said. “We hope to change that next year.”

The new organization was created last weekend at the Florida Christian Coalition’s 20th anniversary “God and Country” celebration in Orlando. Speaking at the event was Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, who condemned President Obama’s health care initiative as “something like what the Nazis’ did.”

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The LA Times takes a look at the "personhood" efforts, which is now coming to Missouri as well.
  • Al Mohler declares that "liberal theology is taking God's name in vain."
  • Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition is now setting up state-based affiliates, with its first one getting off the ground in Florida.
  • Why is it that the more right-wing someone is, the more they seem to love Mike Huckabee?
  • Finally, the Pacific Justice Institute has filed suit against a school district over it anti-bullying efforts, claiming it is really a effort to indoctrinate school children into the gay lifestyle.

Hannity, Voight, and North Join Reed For Faith and Freedom Rally

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

More than 1,000 people gathered in Gwinnett County Saturday to wear red, white and blue and listen to Fox News commentator Sean Hannity and conservative organizer Ralph Reed.

The crowd waved flags, prayed and sang “I’m proud to be an American.”

Reed spoke about his new grassroots Faith and Freedom Coalition, which he launched this summer to organize conservatives to get out the vote in 2010. He encouraged the crowd to each call 25 friends to create local chapters.

It’s something of a comeback for Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition, who has kept a low profile on the political scene after losing a bid in the 2006 primary to be Georgia’s Republican candidate for lieutenant governor.

But Reed worked the crowd into a cheering frenzy when he explained that while he’s not perfect, God called him anyway.

“God doesn’t call perfect people,” Reed said, to a huge, “Amen!” from the crowd. “He calls humble and contrite people.”

Reed spoke against President Barack Obama’s health care plan, the economic stimulus package and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, all three of which elicited strong boos from the crowd.

“We are going to stop the Obama agenda dead in its tracks,” Reed said.

Many in the crowd, including Reed, planned to attend Hannity’s sold-out Freedom Concert at the Arena at Gwinnett Center afterward. The concert series raises money for children whose parents died in military service.

The meeting at the Atlanta Marriott Gwinnett Place was a combination political rally, old-time revival and celebrity entertainment.

In addition to Hannity and Reed, speakers included Lt. Col. Oliver North, actor Jon Voight and six Republican candidates for governor.

Videos clips of the event via YouTube:

Sean Hannity

Jon Voight

Oliver North

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Tomorrow the Florida Republican Party will hold its Drive The Discussion event featuring Bruce Jenner, Carrie Prejean, and Jonathan Krohn. Can't you just feel the excitement?
  • AP: A federal judge upheld part of a South Dakota law that requires women to be told abortion ends a human life, but struck down disclosures that the procedure increases the likelihood of suicide and that they have an existing relationship with the fetus.
  • Gary Bauer: Republicans have been handed a great opportunity to appeal to the Vocal Majority of Americans upset over the Democrats’ fixation on government-run health care. Now they must embrace it.
  • The Susan B. Anthony List says that last night it "engaged over 160,000 pro-life Americans in a national teleconference called 'Keeping the Faith with the Unborn' aimed at encouraging citizens "to take action by calling and sending letters to Congress to make their voice heard in the debate over health care reform."
  • Ralph Reed fills in for Dan Gilgoff by simply reposting a post from his own Faith and Freedom Coalition blog.
  • I find it ironic that Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel says that "People are frustrated — they don't want to be lied to" regarding healthcare reform considering that he and his organization are spreading "pants-on-fire" lies regarding healthcare reform.
  • Finally, starting Monday, we are going to make some minor changes to the way we produce content for this blog by starting to post shorter items linking to things of interest as we find them in an effort to generate more content to supplement our current output.  We think it is be an improvement, and hopefully you will too.

Back From Vacation Leftovers

I just got back after a week off which means a) I have no idea what is going on and b) I have (literally) thousands of blog posts, news articles, and right-wing websites to go through in order to catch up. As such, I figured I'd just throw up a quick post highlighting some of the bits of information I'm coming across in this process in order to get back in the swing of things:

  • Don Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association, has been hospitalized for meningitis.
  • Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition seems to be getting off to a fast start, with Reed headlining events in Iowa, Virginia, and Florida.
  • Tom DeLay will be a contestant on the new season of "Dancing With The Stars."
  • The White House has reportedly pulled the plug on its email address that was being used to try and debunk "fishy" information about healthcare reform thanks to right-wing caterwauling.
  • The Des Moines Register reports that the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority has suspended a bus driver after she refused to drive a bus with an Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers ad on its side because it went against her Christian faith.
  • Operation Rescue says it has "received written confirmation from the Nebraska Attorney General's office that a request for a comprehensive investigation into late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart's abortion business."
  • LifeNews reported on the passing of conservative columnist Robert Novak with an article carrying this odd headline: "Pro-Life Syndicated Columnist Bob Novak Dies, Enjoyed Writing Against Abortion."
  • Former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge has a book coming out in which he claims that he was "pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush's re-election, something he saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over."
  • Finally, Rep. Michele Bachmann tells WorldNetDaily that she "will not seek a higher office if God is not calling me to do it" ... but says that if God tells her to run for President, then she will.

Ralph Reed: TEA Party Activist

Ralph Reed has made it clear over the last several weeks that his new organization, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, is "not your daddy's Christian Coalition" by which he means that this new effort will be young, hipper, more tech-savvy, and also more strident.

He's also made clear that much of its focus will be on economic issues, while still maintaining the traditional Religious Right positions on social issues.

And to kick things off on the economic front, Reed spoke at a TEA Party rally last week in Georgia:

"Barack Obama rushed through a stimulus package - $787 billion," [Reed] said, "almost 85 percent of which is pork and waste and bureaucracy."

He said the president's explanation of why "we had to have it right then ... was that if we didn't have it, unemployment would go over 8 percent."

But the jobless rate now is "heading toward 10 percent," Reed said.

He said Obama vowed that the plan would create 4 million jobs. Instead, Reed added, 2.6 million have been lost.

"He was only off by 6.6 million," Reed said.

Drawing cheers for himself and jeers for Obama, Reed also lambasted the president's budget, energy policy and health care proposals.

Reed praised the Tea Party movement, which drew nearly 1,500 people to a similar event at the plaza on April 15, the federal income tax filing deadline.

"These tea parties ... across the country are scaring the White House to death," he said. "... We are putting on our work boots and we're going to take our country back to the principles on which it was founded."

From a quick look at the photos from the rally accompanying the article, it doesn't look like Reed's audience was particularly young, hip, or tech-savvy ... but hey, he's got to start somewhere.

And presumably things will pick-up later this month when Sean Hannity joins Reed for his organization's "Freedom Rally":

Ralph Reed's Key To Success: Be More Strident

Just yesterday I wrote a post explaining that, thanks to the recent announcement that he was heading a new Religious Right organization known as the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Ralph Reed appeared to be "succeeding in resurrecting his reputation and re-establishing himself as a bona fide leader of the Religious Right."

And, despite the fact that this new effort currently consists entirely of Reed, one adviser, one actual employee, and a bare-bones website, I think it is safe to say that the "Ralph Reed Redemption Tour" is officially underway now that he is getting long profiles written up by the Associated Press:

Ralph Reed was once a powerful force in Republican politics, able to marshal millions of religious conservatives to the polls while leading the Christian Coalition.

Then his political career took a tumble in 2006 when he was clobbered by a lesser-known opponent in the Republican primary for Georgia lieutenant governor, leading some to conclude Reed's days as an influential GOP figure were over.

But Reed is searching for a dose of redemption. He's launched a new venture that supporters hope will bolster a Republican Party struggling to find its footing after the 2008 election and a recent string of embarrassing scandals.

"I don't view it as a comeback," Reed said in a recent interview. "I view it as something I've always done — trying to be part of the solution and trying to build at the grass roots (level)."

The startup, known as the Faith and Freedom Coalition, is little more than a Web site, but Reed hopes to turn it into a strident new force that uses social media to capture a broader, younger and more diverse audience.

Perhaps most telling, the man who helped cement religious conservatives into a solid GOP voting bloc said he won't focus his group on social issues, but rather the economic crisis.

"This is not the Christian Coalition redux," Reed said. "It's a much broader attempt. Our primary focus is jobs, the economy, taxes, creating economic opportunity. That's the number one issue in the country right now."

Other than a lukewarm statement from Roberta Combs, current president of the Christian Coalition, saying "there is always room for more people who want to start organizations," the article doesn't really contain any particularly new or revealing information, with the exception of this key quote:

Reed said his organization is looking to be more inclusive by reaching out to Jews, Hispanics, blacks and any other group receptive to a fiscal conservative message.

"It's going to look different from the vehicles we have now. It's going to be younger, it's going to be more strident," he said. "It's going to be principled but less ideologically reflexive. And it's going to have a broader issues agenda."

How exciting. A “broader” and "more strident" version of the Christian Coalition? I can't wait to see how that turns out.

The Religious Right's Last Hope: Hipness

Despite the fact that it has only been a few weeks since Ralph Reed announced the formation of his new Faith and Freedom Coalition and that the effort appears to consist entirely of a bare-bones website, he is getting lots of attention and is seemingly succeeding in resurrecting his reputation and re-establishing himself as a bona fide leader of the Religious Right.

Today, Reed was interviewed by Newsmax where he gave his thoughts on Sonia Sotomayor, the Obama administration, and the 2012 GOP presidential primary, as well as explaining just what role his new Faith and Freedom Coalition will play in it all:

"It is a coalition of grassroots citizens, conservatives — both fiscal and social conservatives — people of faith, and others who are concerned about the direction of our country," Reed said.

"Look at what's happening in Washington today, with the overreach on healthcare, rationing healthcare, dramatically raising taxes, crushing small business, the cap-and-tax energy plan, the failed stimulus package, liberal judicial nominees, a weakening of our defense, sending signals in my view of timidity in prosecuting the war on terrorism.

"The Faith and Freedom Coalition is designed not only to oppose the Obama agenda in Washington, but to offer conservative constructive alternatives.

"We need to get this economy moving again. We need to create jobs. We believe the way to do that is lower taxes, limited government, fiscal discipline, stronger families, and the growth of small business."

Reed said one priority of the Faith and Freedom Coalition is to bring younger people into the conservative ranks. The organization intends to have a strong presence on college campuses, and to employ Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites that young people use to communicate.

"We need to be hipper, more technology savvy," he said. "This is where the culture is going and we need to be there if we're going to compete."

He also said the coalition plans to have chapters in every key county in the country, in all 50 states, and virtual chapters on line.

Newsmax also has the nine minute audio of the interview posted as well, which I am not embedding here because it annoyingly starts automatically playing as soon as it loads.

Though Reed continues to insist that "this isn't your daddy's Christian Coalition," I have to say that the more I hear about it, the more it sounds exactly like the Christian Coalition, only with the addition of social networking.

So I am going to make a bold prediction: spreading the age-old Religious Right agenda on Twitter and Facebook is not going to make it any "hipper."

Unity Through Redundancy

Is it just me or does it seem like every other week there is a new Religious Right organization launched in order to save America from its descent into godlessly immoral socialism?

In March we saw that birth of The Faith and Freedom Institute, founded to "lead America back to the knowledge of God in order to save the nation from the judgment of God."

That was followed by Newt Gingrich's Renewing American Leadership effort, which has ties to David Barton and Don Wildmon, and is designed to bring together economic conservatives and social conservatives for the common good.

Those were followed by the creation of the American Principles Project, led by Robert P. George, the Princeton professor who is also Chairman of the Board of the National Organization for Marriage, which proclaimed itself the vehicle through which "millions of American voices raised in unison in defense of political liberty and economic freedom, the sanctity of human life and the integrity of marriage and the family, and the sovereignty and security of our nation" would be turned into political action.

These efforts continued in June, with Lou Engle's Call to Action, which aims to "redefine voting" for the next generation as a "prophetic act" and train them that they don't vote Democrat or Republican but vote "moral absolute truths," creating a mass army of young, motivated Christian voters who will pledge never to vote for a candidate who is not anti-choice, thereby creating a "spiritual revolution [and] training a generation to seize technology and turn the tide."

That was then followed by The Faith and Freedom Coalition, through which Ralph Reed aims to reclaim the Religious Right's former glory by starting launching an organization "committed to educating, equipping, and mobilizing people of faith and like-minded individuals to be effective citizens. Together we will influence public policy and enact legislation that strengthens families, promotes time-honored values, protects the dignity of life and marriage, lowers the tax burden on small business and families, and requires government to tighten its belt and live within its means."

Just a week after Reed's effort was made public, a coalition of Religious Right groups announced the formation of The Freedom Federation, an effort to re-brand the movement and over its "image problem"  while remaining "committed to defending and extending core values expressed in the Declaration of American Values, the organization's founding document. These include the right to life, the institution of marriage, parental rights, religious liberty, an environment free of pornography and indecency, the right to property, freedom from excessive taxation, and national sovereignty."

With six news Religious Right groups formed in the last several months, all with very similar missions, you'd think there wouldn't really be much room left for any more new groups to form ... but you'd be wrong:

Bishop E.W. Jackson Sr., former spokesperson and a top leader for the Christian Coalition, has launched a new organization -- S.T.A.N.D. [Staying True to America's National Destiny] -- to unify Christians and other conservatives around social and economic issues. However, Bishop Jackson is taking a different approach. "We are mainly interested in impacting the culture," says the Bishop. "Political victories can be reversed, but cultural change is lasting."

Their first major initiative is to make January "AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH". Says Bishop Jackson, "One of the reasons we lack unity in America is that the Judeo-Christian heritage and values which our Founding Fathers bequeathed us are under attack. Our heritage is lied about, suppressed and ignored in the push toward secularism and relativism. It is being done in Universities, public schools and even by President Obama."

STAND's American History Month will celebrate the nobility of American history and our Founders and rebut the lie that America is born of racism, exploitation and capitalistic greed. American History Month will highlight the heroic sacrifice, bold initiative, pioneering spirit, selfless cooperation and faith in God that made America possible. STAND believes that this President is denigrating America's contribution to the world, denying the role of Christianity in our country, and falsely claiming that Islam is a major contributor to America's success. "What history books is the President reading?" asks Jackson.

STAND considers Obama to be symptomatic of the ideological and anti-Christian bias in the teaching of American history. Bishop Jackson asks, "How many people know that one of our war cries during the Revolutionary War was 'No King but Jesus'? Precious few, and apparently not the President."

STAND is also opposing Obama's healthcare reform, which it calls "a veiled government takeover of healthcare." Bishop Jackson argues, "If the government takes over healthcare, everything will be rationed except abortion. The conscience objection will be eliminated, and abortion will increase like a plague upon the land." STAND wants to end abortion in America. It is also against Cap & Trade as "an insane burden" on an already crippled economy. Its members are contacting their Senators to make their sentiments known on these issues.

Interestingly, the need to unite the Right has been the one constant theme of every new group that has emerged and, for several of them, it is their central mission and reason for existing.

But the fact that different people keep launching entirely separate groups - all with the same purpose - suggests that their individual efforts to bring unity to the movement do not seem to be working particularly well.

Ralph Reed: The Religious Right's Steve Jobs

When it was first reported last month that Ralph Reed was forming a new organization called The Faith and Freedom Coalition, Reed wanted it made clear that "this is not your daddy's Christian Coalition."

He vowed that this effort would be "more brown, more black, more female, and younger" and all-around hipper with a greater focus on using "third wave" technology to mobilize activists.

In shot, Reed sees himself as the Steve Jobs of the Religious Right, called in to turn around the movement that floundered after he left:

The party needs what he delivered in the 1990s, but with a 21st century update.

“Even though I’ve been doing other things, this is kind of like Steve Jobs returning to Apple,” Reed said.

When Jobs left the company he founded, Apple foundered. After he returned, Apple grew into an iconic firm that has captured the public’s attention in ways that all other tech firms wish to emulate.

“You have to reinvent it,” Reed said. “It’s the political analogue to the iPod and the iPhone. It would be cool. It would be transformative. It would transform our politics and bring younger people to our ranks. All of those are critical imperatives.”


[T]he Faith and Freedom Coalition was not, he said, his idea. After John McCain was beaten in 2008, Reed said, he started getting phone calls from close friends, “saying we really haven’t had anything that in an effective, focused way was energizing and turning out to the polls in large numbers conservatives and people of faith since you left" ... Still, Reed said, he wasn’t terribly interested.

“That was not on my list of things to do,” he said. “I’d been there, done that, got the T-shirt.”

But the more he thought about it, the more he agreed that “something needed to be done.”

Where the old Christian Coalition’s greatest asset was arguably the millions of voter guides handed out in churches across the country, the new Coalition will use the Internet as its information dissemination tool.

Attracting younger voters and activists, Reed knows, takes a robust Web-based campaign that uses the new gadgets and social networks that dominate young people’s lives.

But it also takes a hook, a rallying cry, a reason for being. In the 1990s, the Christian Coalition had that and more in the persona and presidency of Bill Clinton.

While Obama has not offered the same wedge that Clinton did —- no sex scandals, for example —- Reed is confident the lightning rod is there.

“This is the most far-reaching and extremist agenda being advanced across multiple fronts in a smaller amount of time than I’ve seen in my career,” Reed said.

From the very moment this effort was announced, it was Reed's name that made it news ... but now Reed is insisting that it is really not about him at all: 

Still, Reed said, this is not about him. And it’s not a comeback or a return to prominence.

“I don’t think it signifies anything for me,” Reed said. “I’ve become an elder statesman at 48, but I’m still doing what I was doing at 20.”

Reed said he’s less interested in being “the face of the movement,” and more in finding and training the next generation of conservative leaders, volunteers and activists.

Of course, if Reed is trying to stay out of the limelight, it might be helpful is he wasn't granting interviews in which he compares himself to Steve Jobs and declares that he is the only one capable of rebuilding the movement.

But it makes sense that Reed would not want to be "the face of the movement" given that he is inextricably linked [PDF] to imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff.  

It's going to take some deft maneuvering for the man who exploited the Religious Right movement he helped to create for the benefit of Abramoff's client's gambling interests to now resurrect that very movement.

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Faith and Freedom Coalition Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Friday 10/26/2012, 4:41pm
Sahil Kapur @TPM: Conservative Scholars Bullish That A Romney Supreme Court Could Reverse Longstanding Liberal Jurisprudence. Zeke Miller @ BuzzFeed: Romney Surrogate: Colin Powell Endorsed Obama Because He's Black. Michelangelo Signorile @ Huffington Post: Romney: 'Some Gays Are Actually Having Children. It's Not Right on Paper. It's Not Right in Fact.' Jeremy Hooper: NOM responds to 'worthy of death' pastor; jumps on the 'mischaracterized' bandwagon. Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: Ralph Reed, lost in translation. MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Thursday 10/25/2012, 10:37am
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will hold a town hall teleconference with Ralph Reed, the disgraced former head of the Christian Coalition who is making a political comeback with a conservative voter turnout project called the Faith and Freedom Coalition. That group is sending voters flyers warning that reelecting Obama would allow the president to “complete America’s destruction.” They also compare Obama’s policies to the threat posed to America by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. For all Paul Ryan’s talk about values, it’s worth... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 10/02/2012, 4:35pm
Paul @ PFAW Blog: Scott Brown Names Scalia as his Favorite Justice. Amanda Terkel @ Huffington Post: Susan B. Anthony List Launches Super PAC With $500,000 Ad Buy In Swing States. Andy Kroll @ Mother Jones: Ralph Reed's Group: An Obama Victory Means "He Can Complete America's Destruction." Eric Kleefeld @ TPM: Democrat Targets West’s Military Career In Brutal TV Ad. Timothy Johnson @ Media Matters: NRA's "Massive Obama Conspiracy": This Is Sparta! Edition. MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 09/27/2012, 4:34pm
Adele Stan @ AlterNet: 3 Big Lies in Religious-Right 'Voter Guide' Hitting 13 Million Cell Phones. Simon Maloy @ Media Matters: Jennifer Rubin: Obama's Terrorism Record Worse Than Bush's (9-11 Doesn't Count). Jeremy Hooper: Conservs (like Matt Barber) trying to pass off Obama '08 rally as a Romney '12 event. Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: A topic Akin should try to avoid. Rosie Gray @ BuzzFeed: Catholic League Responds To Controversial Artwork With Obama Bobblehead And Fake Feces. MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 09/25/2012, 4:35pm
Miranda @ PFAW Blog: Romney Says Teachers’ Unions Shouldn’t Be Able to Contribute to Campaigns, But Corporations OK. Jeremy Hooper @ NOM Exposed: Rep. Bachmann using NOM’s mailing lists for re-election campaign. Towleroad: Newark Archbishop Tells Pro-Gay Catholics They Should Refrain from Taking Communion, Urges Voters to Defend Marriage. Andrew J. Bacevich @ Salon: Is Jerry Boykin the new McCarthy? Rosie Gray @ BuzzFeed: Scott Brown Supporters Mock Elizabeth Warren With Native American Stereotypes. Annie-Rose Strasser @... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Monday 08/27/2012, 12:51pm
[Right Wing Watch’s Peter Montgomery is covering the RNC for Alternet with Adele M. Stan] It was to have been the day before the commencement of the Republican National Convention, but the hand of divine providence swept in, batting a storm called Isaac toward the site where the G.O.P. is to gather, delaying the convening for at least a day. But that didn't stop leaders of the Republican right wing from hosting no fewer than four events meant to rally the faithful to turn out the vote for presidential candidate Mitt Romney, whose name was barely mentioned from any of the four podiums.... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 08/13/2012, 10:25am
Conservative leaders hailed Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan, the far-right congressman, to be his running mate, emphasizing his opposition to LGBT and reproductive rights. Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance said that besides his one-time vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, she is excited “to pull back out my t-shirt from 2008 that says ‘Our VP is hotter than your VP!’” Paul Ryan is a great choice. He has one little blip in that he voted for ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) a long time ago but voted right on the marriage... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 06/15/2012, 1:40pm
Earlier this year, Glenn Beck interviewed televangelist James Robison about the dangers of Glee, which Robison said was being used by “the Enemy” to “bring us down.” Today at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s summit in Washington D.C., Beck said that not only is Glee sending a “horrifying” message to children but that he will create his own “Oedipus project” to “push back” against Glee’s supposedly harmful cultural impact. Watch: It was a year ago I was watching the show Glee with my wife and we watched it like this... MORE >