- The Washington Times - Friday, April 20, 2001

The Christian Coalitions mounting legal and financial difficulties were compounded this week by founder Pat Robertsons comments about abortion and racial purity in China.
Attorneys for 10 of the coalitions black employees, who filed a racial bias lawsuit against the group in February, said that as the lawsuit progresses in U.S. District Court here, they are looking at the positions of Mr. Robertson and other coalition officials on racial issues.
"He doesnt see this lawsuit as related to him, or he would avoid any mention of racial purity, " said Jon S. Nicholas, an attorney for the coalition employees. He was referring to Mr. Robertsons comments that Chinas forced-abortion policies ultimately would dilute racial purity in China.
Mr. Robertson, who ran as a Republican candidate for president in 1988, made his comments Monday on CNNs "Wolf Blitzer Reports."
The Christian Coalition president said he disagreed with Chinas forced-abortion practices but went on to defend them on pragmatic grounds.
"I dont agree with it, " he said of mass abortions in China, "but at the same time, theyve got 1.2 billion people and they dont know what to do. If every family over there was allowed to have three or four children, the population would be completely unsustainable. Right now, they run the risk of tremendous unemployment. . So I think that right now theyre doing what they have to do."
Mr. Robertson said Chinas policy restricting couples to one child would be "a demographic catastrophe" because "theyre picking the girl babies for the slaughter and theyre only allowing the males to be born. And in another, say, 10 or 20 years, theres going to be a critical shortage of wives. The young men wont have any women to marry, so it will, in a sense, dilute the — what they consider the racial purity of the Han Chinese.
"And that to them will be a great tragedy, " he said, "because then they will have to be importing wives from Indonesia and other countries in order to fill up the population."
On Tuesday, Mr. Robertson issued another statement to underscore his lifelong "strongly pro-life deeply held convictions," but defended Chinas actions on pragmatic grounds. "Given their situation, intelligent family planning reflects an obvious necessity; however, I am unalterably opposed to the policy which would result in forced abortions or sex selection," he said.
Mr. Robertson, founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), has had a multimillion-dollar business partnership with the Chinese government for television programming since 1995. He was a strong proponent last year of Congress passage of permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) between the United States and Beijing. CBNs joint venture investment partners in China include the Lippo Group of Indonesia and Malaysian real estate interests.
Mr. Nicholas said Mr. Robertsons racial stands and those of other Christian Coalition officials are pertinent in the pending lawsuit, in which 10 black employees and one former white employee have accused coalition managers of racial segregation by requiring blacks to use a different office entrance than whites and by prohibiting blacks from using an office lunch and break area used by white employees.
The coalition has not yet formally responded to the lawsuit, but Roberta Combs, the groups executive vice president, gave a statement strongly denying any racial discrimination. Mrs. Combs issued a memorandum to end the segregation practices after the lawsuit was filed, saying the accusations resulted from a "misunderstanding."
Mrs. Combs did not respond to requests for comment yesterday. Legal discovery has not begun in the case. The employees, who have requested a jury trial in Washington, are seeking $621 million in compensatory and punitive damages against the coalition.
Meanwhile, annual fund raising by the Christian Coalition plummeted from $15.8 million in 1997 to $2.9 million in 1999, according to federal tax documents the coalition provided The Washington Times.
Mrs. Combs declined to explain the drop in reported fund raising, despite repeated inquiries.
She also declined to explain a sudden decision to cancel plans for the groups annual "Road to Victory" political conference, which was scheduled later this year at the Washington Hilton Hotel.

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