If anyone has doubts that an organization exists that coordinates strategic objectives for Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) takeover leaders, Christian Reconstructionists, Dominionists and other Religious Right leaders, they ought to do some research on the Council for National Policy (CNP).
John Sugg talks about the CNP a little in his article on A Nation Under God in the Dec. 2005 issue of Mother Jones magazine (The printed copy also has a sidebar on the CNP entitled "The Fountainhead" on page 50)
The first time I heard about the CNP was when I watched a documentary by Bill Moyers entitled The Battle for the Bible that was about the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. In the broadcast Moyers asked Paul Pressler, architect of the takeover of the SBC, about his involvement in the CNP. Pressler did not want to talk about it. Moyers pressed him about it.
[To hear a 6.12 minute podcast (mp3) of Bill Moyers trying to get Paul Pressler to talk to him about his involvement in the Council for National Policy (along with Falwell, Robertson, North, Rushdoony and others), click here and wait for it to download.]
A good resource for further research on the CNP is a little known book by Russ Bellent called The Coors Connection. Bellent himself says little about Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler, but he provides early lists of CNP members. His lists reveal the prominence that Pressler had within the group. As though he were being rewarded for a job well-done, Pressler was elected President of the organization in 1989 -- the year the takeover of the SBC was complete.
Online lists of CNP membership can be found here. Here's some history of the CNP and its relation to SBC takeover leaders:
In 1981 Tim LaHaye left the pastorate and founded the secretive Council for National Policy (CNP) -- an exclusive conservative Christian lobbying group that meets three times a year. It brings influential conservative Christian leaders together behind closed doors with America's most powerful conservative politicians, journalists, lawyers, and industrialists to strategize about politics and public policy. Start-up funds came from Cullen Davis and Nelson Bunker Hunt. Membership is by invitation only and annual dues are several thousand dollars. Guests attend meetings only with the unanimous approval of the executive committee. The membership list is a Who's Who of the Religious Right and of the politicians pushing their agenda. Southern Baptists who are members include Paul Pressler, who was president of their Executive Committee 1988-90 and in 1994; Paul Pressler IV (his son), Paige Patterson, Ed McAteer (Religious Roundtable), James Robison, Jay Strack, Jerry Falwell, and Rick Scarborough (Vision America), Coy Privette (served as a trustee at Southeastern Seminary), Alan Sears (President and CEO of the Alliance Defense Fund, served as a member of Executive Board of SBC), Ann Frazier (from North Carolina, served as a NAMB Trustee), Robbie Hughes (from Mississippi, served as member of SBC Public Affairs Committee) Andrew Lester (layman at FBC OKC), Lawson Ridgeway (deacon at FBC Dallas), Dal Shealy (1998 President/CEO Fellowship of Christian Athletes, deacon FBC Kansas City, MO, served on the board of trustees Carson-Newman College), Jim R. Smith (deacon at Second Baptist Houston, served as board member and executive committee member at Houston Baptist University), Steve Stockman (former U.S. Congressman, member FBC Houston).
A further word about Rick Scarborough. Scarborough was formerly pastor in Pearland, Texas and once was the Fundamentalist's approved candidate for President of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (soundly defeated by Mainstream Baptists in Texas). He organized his church for political action and put church members in key political positions in the city of Pearland. He and his church were also credited in Jerry Falwell's Liberty Journal with helping elect Steve Stockman to Congress. For the last three years, he has been working for Vision America preaching "revivals" around the country in Southern Baptist churches, mustering votes for "Christian values," promoting ten commandments rally's for Judge Roy Moore, and organizing "Patriot Pastors" to get involved in political takeover movements.
Tomorrow, I'll write about Reconstructionism, Southern Baptists and Education