A little over a week ago, the Associated Press took a look at the Christian Coalition and wondered whether it had any role to play in the 2008 election. But despite the organization’s string of defections, its financial woes, and its overall decline since the departure of Ralph Reed, Coalition president Roberta Combs insisted that “when the primary comes around and we distribute millions of voter guides, we’ll be a factor.”
While the Christian Coalition might not be a key right-wing player in the upcoming presidential campaign, it appears to still be having some success on the local level – working to prevent passage of a bill in Georgia that would allow alcohol sales on Sunday:
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll in January found that 68 percent of respondents statewide supported giving voters the chance to consider Sunday beer and wine sales at grocery and convenience stores. About 80 percent supported the concept in metro Atlanta. Only a little over half did so in South Georgia. Support dropped to under 50 percent in Middle Georgia, home of Gov. Sonny Perdue, who opposes the bill.
Other polls also show support for the bill, but critics say surveys don’t reveal the depth of opposition to the idea in Bible Belt towns like Blackshear.
“Rural Georgia doesn’t want this bill,” Jim Beck, president of the Christian Coalition of Georgia, said after the bill passed a Senate committee last week.
“This matters to values voters. If you buy your groceries at Piggly Wiggly, you get your hair cut at the barber shop and you go to church on Sundays, this bill matters.”
The Christian Coalition is expecting about 100 rural volunteers to show up today at the Capitol to lobby against the bill. Another group, the Christian Alliance, has been rallying ministers to fight the measure.
While the Christian Coalition may no longer have of an impact on who becomes the next president, at least the Georgia chapter will be able to claim credit for preventing people from purchasing alcohol on Sundays.