Thursday, November 11, 2004

"Why Don't People Love Us?" Part 2

Take a Presbyterian minister with rugged good looks and a soothing baritone voice, merge this John Birch society style rabid nationalism and you get Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. Coral Ridge is the home Dr. D. James Kennedy who heads Coral Ridge Ministries and television's breathtakingly well choreographed Coral Ridge Hour. With an annual budget estimated at roughly $40 million (1), Coral Ridge makes no pretence about who they are or what they are doing.

Unlike Dr. Dobson's Focus on the Family, Coral Ridge's Dr. Kennedy is up-front with his scary behavior and bizarre beliefs. On the other hand, it's all packaged so nicely with that "Franklin Day Planner American Colonial We are Safely in Control" image that even us cowering blue staters are left feeling strangely warm. Snap out of it!

What is Coral Ridge Ministries? Remember a certain 5,280 pound block of granite that was plunked down late one night in a certain Alabama Court House? Remember Alabama Chief Justice Moore, the self described "Ten Commandments judge?" Guess who paid the legal fees? Guess who filmed the late night installation of said monument for use in fund raising? Guess who staged the whole sorry affair in its never-ending effort to tear our nation apart?

Coral Ridge is a center in what is known as the Christian Reconstructionism. Christian Reconstructionism arose out of conservative Presbyterianism in the early 1970's. Followers believe "that every area dominated by sin must be 'reconstructed' in terms of the Bible."(2)

What will you find at Coral Ridge? See for yourself: A little digging (very little) yields these precious gems:

- The Center for Reclaiming America
- The Center for Christian Statesmanship
- Impact Newsletter

As for positive media portrayals, Dr. Kennedy, like Dr. Dobson, does his own media and blasts it out to Political Evangelicals through the internet, broadcast television and direct mail on a nation wide basis using the most sophisticated tools of database marketing. These people do not simply believe in God nor do they simply love their country. Dr. Kennedy and his followers believe that God has endowed them and only them with the ability to lead this nation. Blue staters need not apply.

A note to my Evangelical friends, while dictators and propagandists always paint themselves as heroic, history rarely does. While Coral Ridge's carefully crafted image of God and Country may make the hearts of Political Evangelicals swell with pride it fills the rest of the world with a sense of fear and dread similar to what was felt when hearing the phrase, "Germany for Germans."

Whether or not Evangelicals agree with Dr. Kennedy's theology, they need to realize that Coral Ridge is increasingly becoming the face of American Evangelicalism.

(1) Based on estimates of $24 million for Coral Ridge Ministries and $16 million for Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (I will need to get a better source for this data).

(2) From Religious


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