Evangelist Pat Robertson announced his resignation yesterday from his post as president of the Christian Coalition, a right-wing political organization. The Christian Coalition was once seen as a bastion of the Religious Right, claiming 4 million members and a budget of $25 million in 1994. Today, critics say that the group is faltering, with membership cut by more than fifty percent, and that the resignation of Robertson will bring its complete demise. According to Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, “The Christian Coalition has been a sinking ship for several years, and now the captain’s jumped overboard.”
Robertson, however, is not totally abandoning the public sector. Regent University, a religious school founded by Robertson, will continue to perpetuate his legacy. Robertson will also continue to broadcast his right-wing message on his Christian Broadcast Network (CBN) and give political commentary on his “700 Club” television show. CBN is broadcast into more than 90 countries, and Robertson admits that he wants to become more vocal overseas.
Robertson already has several business interests overseas that fund his ministry and other work, including the for-profit company Freedom Gold. Formed by Robertson in 1998, Freedom Gold signed a deal with Liberian President Charles Taylor granting the company mining rights in Liberia and opening up profits to the Liberian government. Taylor, a controversial political figure, has been connected to the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone and to the trade of “blood diamonds.” The Washington Post has previously reported that al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden have funded their activities through the trade of these illicit diamonds and also have connections to the RUF.