News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 2005


Blame Christian Coalition for last-minute budgets

The brokering of an education budget gave the state's schoolteachers the 6 percent raise they deserve and higher education $18 million lost to earlier cutbacks.

Even if the budgets make it past a gubernatorial veto, the state's voters can't count the negotiations a complete success.

The Christian Coalition was a powerful behind-the-scenes force in keeping the Senate tied up for five weeks for its own political reasons.

Coalition-backed senators successfully protected John Giles' group from having to be honest with the people of Alabama.

A Christian group with integrity shouldn't mind disclosing the sources of its political funds. Rumor strongly suspects the Coalition and Mr. Giles made a deal with the devil to help kill former Gov. Don Siegelman's education lottery referendum.

The Coalition has done nothing, except to deny, suspicion it took money from instate Indian and Mississippi gambling groups to help defeat the lottery. Both groups didn't want to compete with the lottery for state gambling dollars.

House and Senate Democrats began the legislative session wanting to make the Christian Coalition appear, if not in fact, a more honest organization. Their way was to simply require any nonprofit group to disclose the source of funding used to buy advertising to influence an election or a referendum.

Stalling the budgets wasn't mainly over teacher raises and college funding, it was to keep the disclosure bill from passing.

To take up the budgets, senators had to agree to not pass a disclosure bill.

One Coalition House member came up with the outlandish thought that disclosure is the same as regulating free speech.

Alabamians should ask themselves why any group that touts its Christianity doesn't want its politics to be above suspicion.

And they should consider if they really want to be part of such a group.

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