Just four months after his selection, the president-elect of the Christian Coalition "has stepped down, saying the group resisted his efforts to broaden its agenda to include reducing poverty and fighting global warming," The New York Times reports.
The Rev. Joel C. Hunter's decision is another blow to the religious right organization. (Hunter pictured at right.) Once considered among the most powerful constituent organizations within the Republican party, the Coalition's star has sharply fallen since its 1988 founding by Pat Robertson. Internal disputes over leadership compound the financial problems of a nearly $2 million debt. A single work-from-home employee is all that remains of the powerful army of Washington lobbyists it once boasted.
Problems at the organization reflect difficulties within the larger ideological movement. As some conservative Christians expand their purview to tackle issues such as poverty and environmental degradation (see example), others respond that the movement should remain narrowly focused on the traditional concerns of abortion and homosexuality.
While such disagreements within a particular organization are enough to spell its demise, they are not capable of dissolving the movement as an ideology. But it may indicate a weaker political clout. The greater the divisions within a movement, the weaker it becomes as a political force.