Coalition of Christians Eating Their Own – UPDATED

UPDATED: 4 August 4:50 p.m.

Talk about eating their own.  The latest development over Gay Mailer-gate in Congressional District 5 has the president of the national Christian Coalition calling candidate Jeff Crank to apologize for a hit piece sent out by its Colorado chapter.

Colorado Springs TV station KOAA Channels 5/30 reports that the national organization is planning to investigate its affiliate over the mailer, sent to thousands of potential voters, accusing Crank and another candidate, Lionel Rivera, of promoting the “radical homosexual lobby.” The apology comes after Pastor Ted Haggard of New Life Church attacked the Christian Coalition for being “un-Christian” during his July 23 Sunday sermon. As reported last week by Colorado Confidential, Pastor Ted, as he is affectionately known to his flock – and who is also the president of the National Association of Evangelicals – accused the Christian Coalition of twisting the facts and all but endorsed Crank in his bid for Congress.

During his sermon, Haggard charged the state chapter with practicing yellow journalism for misrepresenting a report from the Colorado Springs Independent . Check out this week’s Public Eye column for more on Pastor Ted’s shout-out.

The national Christian Coalition may have apologized to Crank about the mailer, but apparently have not extended the same courtesy to candidate Rivera, the mayor of Colorado Springs  who was also smeared.

“In the sake of fairness, if they truly do not go out and support one candidate over another, they should probably apologize to all as well,” said Rivera’s spokeswoman Theresa Sauer.

Michele Combs, spokeswoman of the Christian Coalition, did not immediately return a call seeking clarification over why Crank had been apologized to, but not Rivera.

As noted in Colorado Confidential’s original report detailing the initial explosion over the mailer aftermath, in conservative El Paso County Republican circles, the charge, of supporting the “homosexual agenda,” is the equivalent of saying that you are a devil worshipper-or worse, believe that Ward Churchill has some valid points.

The executive director of the Colorado chapter is Mark Hotaling, the brother of Jon Hotaling, who is running Doug Lamborn’s campaign. Lamborn and Crank appear to be wrestling for many of the same votes in the Aug. 8 primary. During business hours on Friday, the phones went unanswered at both the Christian Coalition of Colorado’s Denver headquarters, at CCC president Chuck Gosnell’s Colorado Springs insurance company – and even Lamborn for Congress headquarters.

On his campaign website blog, Crank detailed the phone call he received from Christian Coaltion president Roberta Combs.

Today I received a phone call that I greatly appreciate from National Christian Coalition’s President Roberta Combs. Roberta graciously called me to apologize on behalf of their organization for the false hit pieces that their Colorado chapter sent last week making allegations that I support the “radical homosexual agenda”. Roberta understands that nothing could be further from the truth and knows that I have fought for years against such an agenda.

I appreciate Christian Coalition and the good things they do at the national level to educate Christians about candidates across our country.

I still hope that Senator Lamborn will answer my call to apologize and rebuke the Colorado Chapter’s disgusting hit pieces that were crafted to help his campaign. We are still waiting for that call.

Regardless, I am pleased to have received the apology from Roberta and appreciate their integrity in standing against the actions of their local chapter.

With less than five days to go before Election Day, we will continue to get the word out about my record and continue to talk about issues.

Thank you for your continued support. God Bless!

On Friday, Crank spokesman Jim Banks declared, “It’s a good day for the Crank campaign.” In addition to the Christian Coalition apology, Banks says that earlier this week he personally caught Lamborn’s son on camera, yanking out a Crank yard sign. Banks says he confronted Nate Lamborn in front of an Applebee’s restaurant  on Wednesday night just before midnight, after following him around for an hour.

“It was bizarre,” Banks said. “He was just acting very suspicious.” The campaign has filed a complaint with the Colorado Springs Police Department.

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Cara Degette

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