Pat Robertson, the foremost leader of the religious right, resigned yesterday as president of the Christian Coalition, some two months after he and Jerry Falwell blamed certain Americans for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In his resignation, Robertson, 71, said he had a “renewed call to Christian ministry,” according to the Washington Post.
“With the few years left to me of active service, I must focus on those things that will bring forth the greatest spiritual benefit,” Robertson said.
The Post reported that he claimed credit for President Bush’s election. “Without us, I do not believe that George Bush would be sitting in the White House or that Republicans would be in control of the U. S. House,” he said.
The New York Times reported that the Christian Coalition “is broke and is widely believed to have fewer than two million members.”
Marshall Wittman, Christian Coalition legislative director from 1993-1995, told the Post that “the comments Robertson and Falwell made were a turning point for the conservative religious movement, and probably led to his resignation.”
Others tied to the Christian Coalition disagreed with Wittman.
“Robertson caused a much greater stir among pro-life conservatives in his organization when he seemed to defend China’s forced-abortion practices in an April CNN interview,” according to the Washington Times.
The Times reported that “in recent years it [the Christian Coalition] has been rocked by financial debt, lawsuits, the loss of experienced political leaders and gaffes by Mr. Robertson.”
Robertson launched the Christian Coalition in1989, a year after his failed presidential campaign. Running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 1987-88, Robertson sought to recruit Southern Baptist pastors. One prominent leader, Jimmy Draper, now president of Lifeway Resources, hosted a reception for Robertson at the 1987 SBC meeting.