Ralph Reed, who 20 years ago made his bones in national politics by building the Christian Coalition into force to be reckoned with, has let it be known that he’s back at it.
Dan Gilgoff, who writes the God & Country blog for U.S. News & World Report, says Reed has formed a new group called the Faith and Freedom Coalition.
Reed intends his organization to be broader than the Christian Coalition, which was founded after the failed presidential bid of televangelist Pat Robertson in 1988.
“This is not your daddy’s Christian Coalition,” Reed said in an interview Monday. “It’s got to be more brown, more black, more female, and younger. It’s critical that we open the door wide and let them know if they share our values and believe in the principles of faith and marriage and family, they’re welcome.”
“There’s a whole rising generation of young leaders in the faith community, and rather than nab the publicity I did at Christian Coalition, I want to cultivate and train that rising generation,” Reed said. “One question is, who is our future Barack Obama, doing local organizing just like he was in the 1990s?”
Reed has remained active in Republican politics since his 2006 defeat in the GOP primary for lieutenant governor by Casey Cagle, but he’s kept a purposely low profile.
You have to wonder if the decision this spring by Cagle, to forego the governor’s race for back surgery, may have had a liberating effect on Reed.
While Democrats are likely to sneer at Reed’s talk of diversification — the Christian Coalition came to be regarded as a voice of white Protestant evangelicals — the message isn’t new. Even as head of the Coalition, Reed spoke of the demographic isolation that lay ahead for Republicans, and its dangers.
The Christian Coalition itself is only a shell of its once formidable influence. Georgia’s state chapter, run by Sadie Fields, split off to become the Georgia Christian Alliance. The Christian Coalition of Georgia was reformed, under the leadership of Jim Beck.
Here’s Reed’s message for new members, from his web site:
We are a grassroots coalition of people of faith, small businessmen and women, and like-minded citizens dedicated to promoting sound public policy at every level of government. We are advocating time-honored values, protecting the dignity of life and marriage, reducing taxes, and insuring fiscal responsibility in Washington.
If you don’t speak up now, someone else will….
The former state GOP chairman and Bush strategist will act as chairman of the new group, which he hopes to spread via bricks-and-mortar chapters, and through social networking. It’s to be run out of Reed’s Century Strategies headquarters in Duluth.
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