Pro-death - Christian Coalition goal
(The Charleston Gazette, Oct. 21, 2000)

TUESDAY night at Charleston's annual Jim Dent Dinner, political satirist David Werner said Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush "seems happiest when he's talking about administering the death penalty."

No wonder Bush's campaign is getting all-out support from the right-wing Christian Coalition, which lists the death penalty as one of its top "Christian" goals for America.

The coalition, let by TV evangelist Pat Robertson, makes no secret of being on the Bush bandwagon. In the next few weeks, the group will distribute 70 million "voter guides" in fundamentalist churches across the nation, boosting GOP candidates.

Although the coalition enjoys tax-exempt status as a non-political religious organization - and although the guides supposedly just list candidate positions on "Christian" issues - the distribution is designed to elect conservative Republicans.

The first religious issue on the coalition's state-level guide is support for capital punishment. Only candidates who advocate executions are considered Christian by the coalition. How odd -- since Jesus opposed the death penalty, telling the execution mob: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

But Texas Gov. Bush has presided over more executions than any other American politician -- by far -- putting him in agreement with the Robertson agenda.

In contrast, every large, "mainline" American church opposes state killings as vengeful and barbaric. To us, their humane view is in step with the faith's founder.

Other "religious" issues on the Christian Coalition guides include: "Balanced Budget Amendment ... Flat-rate federal income tax ... Privatize the National Endowment for the Arts... Term limits for ongress." What's Christian about any of these? They're simply far-right Republican goals.

Evangelist Robertson is trying to deliver 70 million fundamentalist votes for GOP nominees. To call this a religious mission insults Christianity - especially since the coalition's "pro-death" stance contradicts the values of Jesus.