Clergy Leadership Network Aims to Balance Power of Christian Coalition

May 15, 2004

Source: The Daily Camera,1713,BDC_2477_2887130,00.html

On May 15, 2004 The Daily Camera reported, "This week, clergy members from across the country will gather in Cleveland for the first national meeting of the Clergy Leadership Network, a fledgling nonprofit that aims to serve as the left-of-center answer to the conservative and hugely successful Christian Coalition. While its nonprofit status keeps it from raising campaign money or endorsing candidates, CLN aims to be 'the strong political voice of the religious left' when it comes to the education, the economy, civil rights and the environment, says Executive Director the Rev. Brenda Bartella-Peterson. 'The religious left has not had very much of a public voice,' she says. Conservatives and liberals agree the so-called 'Religious Right,' has had a huge impact on national politics in the past decade. The Christian Coalition, founded in 1989 by Pat Robertson to "give Christians a voice in government," now boasts more than 2 million members. It distributed more than 70 million voter guides in 50 states before the last presidential election, lobbies heavily on issues such as abortion, tax cuts and school prayer, and is largely credited with helping the Republican party regain control of the White House in 2000. The Religious Left, as some call it, has been less successful, says Bartella-Peterson. 'It's like herding cats,' she says. 'Because we are such a diverse group of people from so many different faith organizations, it has been harder to get people to rally around a very focused cause.'"