Sunday, February 25, 2007
The Council for National Policy (CNP) is one of those shadowy secret organizations that makes great fodder for internet conspiracy theorists. It is a private conservative organization that meets three times per year to discuss issues affecting the Christian supremacist movement in the U.S. In an effort to maintain an open atmosphere where all of the participants can speak their minds, the membership lists of the organization are secret, and no records are released regarding the discussions that take place (although some of the keynote speeches have been posted on the CNP website). However, as might be expected, persons attending the conferences will often speak to reporters anonymously about what was discussed. From these anonymous leaks, it is known that such right wing movers and shakers as John Ashcroft, Jerry Falwell, Alan Keyes, Oliver North, Pat Robertson, Ken Starr (!), James Dobson, Phyllis Schlafly, and Donald Wildmon are all members. The CNP exerts quit a lot of sway within the Republican party; George W. Bush received the group’s official blessing at a meeting in 1999 prior to his declaration as a candidate for president. So it was with great glee that I read in a recent New York Times article that the CNP is quit despondent over its lack of influence over the current field of major Republican candidate for president. The two major contenders, Rudolph Giuliani and John McCain, have both had major run-ins with the religious right. Giuliani is pro-choice, supports gay rights, and has been married three times. McCain favors a guest worker program for illegal immigrants, and once referred to Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson as being “agents of intolerance”. Mitt Romney, while supported by some CNP members, was at one point pro-choice, and supported civil unions for gay couples. He is also a Mormon, which probably doesn’t play well with this type of protestant fanatic. All of the other Republican candidates are currently scoring so low in opinion polls as to not be considered to have a credible chance of getting the nomination. The only potential candidate who might win the CNP’s endorsement and have a real chance of getting the nomination is Newt Gingrich, a man who might truly be deserving of the term “unelectable”. It appears even if the GOP’s candidate prevails in 2008, he will have little to thank the CNP for, and the group will not have nearly the amount of influence it had over the current president. For those of us who support a secular U.S. government, this is of course happy news.