The Washington-based Christian Coalition and one of its state partners have decided to part company, even though they both say they will continue to work on moral issues in the state of Alabama.

Coalition founder Pat Robertson

The announcement came yesterday when Christian Coalition of Alabama president John Giles announced the group was seeking a new name in its departure from the national Christian Coalition.

“It didn’t happen overnight,” he told WorldNetDaily. “It’s a very sad day, but a very liberating day for all of us involved here.”

He said the state organization, which plans to keep its board of directors, also will keep the core tenets of the Christian Coalition as they were “profoundly” put together at its launch by Pat Robertson and others in 1989.

He said the national group has been moving to the left ever since a 2003 campaign by the national group opposed the statewide organization on the issue of a tax increase.

“Recently there was an article where she talked about a new vision. We don’t know anything about a new vision,” Giles said. He cited the environment, minimum wage and net neutrality all as important issues, but not the ones the Christian Coalition of Alabama chooses to pursue.

“We just felt like it was something we had to do. It was kind of heart-gripping, to make this decision, but it came down to if we’re going to save the mission of the Christian Coalition,” he said.

Michelle Combs, the director of communications for the national organization, said there was an underlying issue, too.

The national group had resolved a dispute involving the Internal Revenue Service in which it maintained its right to publish and distribute its famous voters guides each election year.

However, part of that resolution was that the guides would have to be approved at the national level, she said. Alabama sent out the information without that approval, she said.

“When you make an agreement with the IRS, you need to stick by it,” she said. The national organization told the Alabama group to follow the rules or it couldn’t remain a part, she said.

“I’ve heard John Giles said we’ve gotten off of our base,” she said. “That is not true.”

“We’re going into issues that may not necessarily be issues of the past. As with anything we have to broaden our agenda,” she said.

“We have taken on some issues. We are hearing back from churches and Christians on what they would like us to do,” she told WND.

However, she said the national organization remains dedicated to its core fights over abortion, stem cell research and others.

“We’re still there, but we try to keep up with the times. It’s a different era. We don’t have President Clinton in the White House.”

She said the national Coalition soon would have a new leader in Alabama and continue its work there too.

Giles’ announcement said he had sent a letter to Christian Coalition President Robert Combs about the name change.

He said Alabama joins Iowa and Ohio state chapters in departing as state affiliates.

He said the standing mission statement will remain: “We believe that people of faith have a right and a responsibility to be involved in the world around them; that involvement includes social, community and political action.”

The tenets the state organization will follow include: strengthening the family, protecting innocent human life, returning education to local and parental control, easing the tax burden of families, punishing criminals and defending victims’ rights, protecting people from the “pollution of pornography” and gambling and defending marriage.

“In every major public policy debate, it is almost guaranteed that the liberal forces opposing our view will try to redefine who we are and feverishly attempt to amend our tenets and mission,” he said. “The Christian Coalition of America has demonstrated by their actions in word and in deed a desire to drift from our founding tenets.

“The Christian Coalition has left us, we have not left them,” he said.

Giles said a new name is being developed in time for the mission of educating voters in the state with 1.7 million voter guides.

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