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CHRISTIAN COALITION DECLARES POLITICAL WAR ON LIBERALISM

Hundreds of right-wing Christians, organized in a powerful and growing grassroots movement, denounced America's "godless" society Friday and urged the defeat of Democrats in November mid-term elections.

The activists met at the fifth annual conference of the Christian Coalition, a group founded by preacher Pat Robertson in 1989 that now claims over a million members and has become a significant force in the Republican Party.Underlying the strength of the movement, the two-day conference was due to be addressed by four possible 1996 Republican presidential contenders - former vice president Dan Quayle, Texas Senator Phil Gramm, former education secretary Lamar Alexander and former defense secretary Dick Cheney.

Senate Republican leader Bob Dole of Kansas was being represented by his wife Elizabeth Dole. Among major Republican presidential hopefuls, only former housing secretary Jack Kemp was absent.

The conference itself was blessed at its outset with an act of God, according to Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed. He explained that the hydraulic system on Robertson's plane malfunctioned en route to the conference and the plane had to turn back for an emergency landing.

Reed then led delegates in a prayer that thanked Jesus Christ for performing what he said was a true miracle in preserving Robertson's life. That done, he lost little time steering the conference back to political business.

"We are here to send a message and that message is that we are fed up with Clinton-style liberalism and in six weeks it comes to an end," Reed declared.

He said Nov. 8 mid-term elections, when Republicans have an opportunity of regaining control of the Senate and perhaps also of the House of Representatives, was a rare and historic opportunity.

"Our goal is to see the largest turnout of evangelical and pro-family Catholic voters in the history of this country," Reed declared.

The rise of the Christian Coalition, to the point that evangelical Christians formally control the Republican Party in several states, has itself become a campaign issue.

Democrats and some moderate Republicans are afraid the fundamentalists want to impose their own version of morality and fervent opposition to abortion and homosexuality on the country as well as blur the separation of church and state.

"What people don't like about the radical right or the religious right is the implication that religious faith or values lead to one single point of view," said Democratic Party chairman David Wil-helm.

"People don't like the implication that government might be used to impose that point of view on the rest of us," he told a news conference.

The Christian Coalition, with 872 local chapters in all 50 states, suffered a setback this week when fundamentalist Christian candidate Allen Quist was soundly beaten in a Republican primary for governor in Minnesota by incumbent Arne Carlson, a pro-abortion rights moderate.

But its leaders believe the mood of the country is with them. Speakers rallied the delegates to take a stand against "all manner of ungodliness, unbelief, immorality and perversion that have run rampant," in the words of preacher D. James Kennedy, the first keynote speaker.