Two days before the Christian Coalition's "Road to Victory" Conference, TV preacher Pat Robertson told his "700 Club" audience about the time he had to perform an exorcism on his own daughter.
Robertson explained on the Sept. 27 edition of the show that "a few years ago" a group of witches put a curse on his youngest daughter, causing her to have bad headaches. At first Robertson assumed his daughter was just sick but then it hit him that something more nefarious was afoot.
"All of a sudden I said, 'They couldn't, they wouldn't dare! They're praying curses against me.' And I jumped up and I ran in to my daughter and said, 'Come here.' 'In the name of Jesus,' I said, 'You foul spirit of witchcraft, I command you, loose this child and go back where you came from.' Just like that, she was free."
Continued Robertson, "In the name of Jesus I said, 'You don't dare do this to me.' I commanded those things to go back where they came from and cause trouble down there. And they will obey you, they'll go back and give those little witches a bit of the taste of their own medicine."
Local Coalition activists may soon need to tap into Robertson's powers of exorcism, as many of them seem convinced that they are under diabolical attack. During the recent "Road to Victory," Satan's name came up more than once; he was blamed for everything from broken photocopiers to bad public schools and news media bias.
Here is a roundup from some of the caucus meetings and breakout sessions at this year's "Road to Victory."
Carolyn Kunkel, an official of the Florida Christian Coalition affiliate, addressed the caucus, telling the crowd of about 30 that their prayers are needed because their suburban Orlando headquarters is under attack by "the Enemy," a fundamentalist term for Satan. She noted that for the past month or so, the photocopier and fax machine have been "acting up" and said the office had inadvertently sent an e-mail alert that contained a computer virus to 5,000 people.
The state affiliate is low on funds, she said, but activists still hope to distribute three million voter guides this year. Coalition activists also pledged to "expose the sale of baby body parts in Florida."
South Carolina Republican National Committeewoman Cindy Costa told the 25 people attending the state caucus that her goal is to use the Coalition to make the GOP "get more conservative and more Christian in its ideology."
She added, "If everyone will determine in their hearts today that they're going to go back home, and they're going to try with all their heart and soul and strength to get 10 people committed to voting for George Bush - get them committed to getting 10 people.... Between now and election day, if we do our work in the next 30 days....if we figure it out exponentially - all the people that are here, and the impact that we can have, we can win this thing, and we can win this thing big, if we do our job. But don't go back and get defeated by Satan and get distracted."
During a breakout session titled "Applying Biblical Principles to Civic Involvement," Paige McKenzie, executive director of the New Mexico Christian Coalition, insisted, "We're under Satan's attack like never before."
She asserted that Satan controls the nation's media - at least the electronic forms. McKenzie referred to a biblical passage that says that Satan is the "prince of the air," saying she interprets this to mean that Satan controls the radio and television airwaves.
"He's got the main way people get information in our country," McKenzie said. "Where God is not, Satan will fill the void."
McKenzie also implied that Satan has influence over public schools. Attacking the "lie of separation of church and state," she bemoaned the lack of organized religion in schools and told a series of anecdotes about students allegedly being denied the right to pray and having their Bibles confiscated. She also told a story about a teacher who was fired for mentioning God to his sixth grade class, more than half of whom, McKenzie asserted, "were heroin addicts."
Not surprisingly, no specific details were given about any of these alleged incidents.
Satan didn't get blamed for it directly, but leaders in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York and the District of Columbia (who met in a joint caucus session) were frank in admitting that their chapters are in shambles.
Bill Banuchi, chairman of the New York chapter, reported the state's executive director has resigned and said other people are "just beginning to reorganize the state of New York." Banuchi said in 1998 the group had active chapters in 98 New York counties but now has only a handful.
"Things have been let go," Banuchi said. "We're beginning to rebuild. We're going to start rebuilding as a mighty force."