Christian Coalition's Reed Calls For Softer Rhetoric -- May 21, 1996
Christian Coalition Trying To Reach Out
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Jan. 30) -- In a move to reach beyond its traditional base of white, suburbanite evangelicals, the Christian Coalition has unveiled an eight-point legislative agenda aimed at solving some of the nation's urban ills.
Without abandoning past goals, Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed offered a 1997 legislative agenda -- dubbed "The Samaritan Project" -- that takes the organization in a whole new direction.
"For too long, our movement has been a predominantly -- frankly, almost exclusively -- white, evangelical, Republican movement, with a political center of gravity centered in the safety of the suburbs," Reed told reporters today.
"The Samaritan Project is a bold plan to break that color line and to bridge that gap of separation that has divided white evangelicals and Roman Catholics from their Latino and African-American brothers and sisters," he said.(224K AIFF or WAV sound)
Reed said the agenda is designed to "combat poverty and restore hope." It includes proposals for:
In outlining the plan, Reed echoed some ideas long advanced by Republican supply-sider Jack Kemp, who has been an advocate of outreach to minority communities.
But some groups are skeptical about the Christian Coalition's initiatives and its motives.
Almost immediately after Reed spoke, a spokesman for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State criticized the plan as a ruse to inject government money into projects controlled by organized religion.
CNN's Charles Bierbauer and Bruce Morton contributed to this story.
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