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Ralph Reed Is Betting Evangelical Voters Will Forget His Casino-Lobbyist Past, Says Americans United

Former Christian Coalition Director Seeks To Regain Religious Right Leadership Role With D.C. ‘Strategy Briefing’

WASHINGTON - Hoping to reemerge as a leader of the Religious Right, former Christian Coalition Executive Director Ralph Reed will hold a national meeting in Washington, D.C., Sept. 10-11 under the auspices of his new Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Reed will be successful only if evangelical Christians engage in a case of collective amnesia, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

"This is the same Ralph Reed who carried water for the casino industry in the Jack Abramoff scandal," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "This is the same Ralph Reed who misled his evangelical friends while collecting a lot of dough."

Added Lynn, "Reed is gambling that evangelicals are willing to forgive his past sins, but I sure wouldn't bet on that."

After leaving the Christian Coalition in 1997, Reed followed a checkered career as a lobbyist and political strategist. He became enmeshed in the Abramoff scandal when documents surfaced showing that Reed had been paid more than $5 million by two Indian tribes that owned casinos.

The tribes were Abramoff clients who wanted to fend off attempts by other tribes to establish competing casinos. Reed worked with Abramoff to mobilize conservative Christians to oppose the new casinos - without telling them that the established gambling interests would benefit.

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Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

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