Publisher, Former Christian Coalition Hire Accused of Fraud

Jason Christy, publisher of Church Report, is being accused of a long pattern of fraud, including selling advertisements in a magazine that was never printed. A lengthy report by Associated Baptist Press details the charges and a string of lawsuits related to Christy’s business practices, as well as Christy’s brief association with the struggling Christian Coalition of America, where he was hired as national director:

When young, charismatic Christian publisher Jason Christy was tapped two years ago to lead the powerful Christian Coalition, the group’s leaders praised him for his ability “to inspire and encourage people of faith to action.” But Christy’s business dealings — both before and after his one-month affiliation with the Coalition — instead have inspired former customers and co-workers to file lawsuits charging Christy with defrauding their Christian businesses.

Christy, 36, who apparently had no previous public-policy experience, persuaded the Christian Coalition in 2005 to place him in one of the most visible and powerful positions in evangelical life. But before the coalition’s leaders officially turned over the reins of their 1.2 million-member national lobbying group, they learned of a trail of legal and financial problems that has followed Christy from coast to coast. …

[C]oalition representatives were mum about Christy July 31 — an unnamed spokesperson would only say the job offer was withdrawn before Christy was officially hired.

In the July 30 interview, Christy said he refused the 2005 job offer because he couldn’t run the coalition and continue operating his other business ventures at the same time, since it would require him to work on both the East and West coasts. That was the same year he declared bankruptcy.

Christy hasn’t been the only person hired to lead the Christian Coalition only to depart before even starting. Last year megachurch pastor Joel Hunter was announced as the new president before a dispute over religious-right tactics led him to step down. The once-mighty group, founded by Pat Robertson and led in the 1990s by the dynamic Ralph Reed, has been adrift in recent years, struggling with debt and disgruntled chapters breaking away.

For his part, Christy calls the fraud charges “ridiculous” and blames a competitor, Gary McCullough of Christian Communication Network. “While I did speak with the Associated Baptist Press writer prior to the release of this piece, they opted to support a friend of theirs, as opposed to holding themselves to a high standard of journalism ethics and ignoring the slander campaign my competitors have chosen to use in their business practice,” he said in a press release on his own CR Newswire.