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September 29, 2008

Christian Coalition Blasts Freedom's Watch

They might ordinarily find themselves rooting for the same candidates, but the Christian Coalition is no fan of Freedom's Watch and its major funder, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Last week, Freedom's Watch launched a new ad campaign slamming Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright for what it said was a record of raising taxes. Bright fired back with his own ad citing his "conservative Christian values," implicitly in contrast with those of Freedom's Watch and Adelson, who is Jewish.

The Christian Coalition takes issue with Adelson, who made billions -- he's the country's fifteenth-richest man, according to this year's Forbes 400 list -- in the casino business, with properties in Las Vegas and Macau. The Venetian Macau is what sticks in the craw of social conservatives. "Where Adelson has placed his treasure makes it quite clear where his heart is: in gambling and in backing the regime in China that persecutes Christians," Alabama Christian Coalition president Randy Brinson said in a statement.

The coalition also invokes disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who helped Native American tribes get approval for new casinos, often aiding his clients by funneling money to Christian organizations that would then rally in opposition to other tribes' efforts. "We're tired of the Abramoffs and Adelsons of this world using their ill-gotten gains to try to buy elections and influence," Brinson said.

Bright, running as a conservative Democrat, actually attends the same church as his opponent, State Rep. Jay Love. The Christian Coalition called on Love to repudiate the Freedom's Watch ads as well.