Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christians Flex Muscles/Wallets: Gov't Influence

The number of religion-related lobbying groups in Washington has grown five-fold in the past 40 years, with their spending reaching almost $400 million annually, the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life latest study showed. It identified 212 groups, up from 158 a decade ago and 40 in 1970.

This certainly doesn't make the liberal media happy.

-- From "Religion-related lobby groups thrive in Washington, grew 5 times in 40 years" posted at Reuters 11/22/11

. . . in 2008, the Family Research Council spent $14 million and the American Jewish Committee $13 million.

In 2009, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops spent $27 million, Concerned Women for America $13 million, Bread for the World $11 million, the National Right to Life Committee $11 million and the Home School Legal Defense Association $11 million.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Study: Religious lobbying soars in D.C." by MJ Lee, Politico 11/22/11

. . . the economic downturn seems to have taken a toll on the expenditure of many religion-related advocacy groups, the study shows. Of the 104 groups for which expenditure data were available for 2008 and 2009, 56 of them said their spending was lower in 2009 than in the previous year, with an average decline in spending of about $500,000. The 104 groups altogether saw a net drop in spending of about $14 million during the two-year period.

The study found 15 percent of the groups that answered a questionnaire on their activities said meeting with officials was their most frequently used method of advocacy. This came in second after the most popular strategy — educating constituents on issues — which 41 percent of the groups cited as their most-used method.

The study shows that a majority of the groups, 64 percent, work on both domestic and foreign issues, while 20 percent engage in domestic issues only. The domestic topic most commonly addressed by the groups include the relationship between church and state, civil rights and liberties for religious and other minorities, life issues (such as abortion and capital punishment) and family and marriage.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Religious lobbying groups multiply on Capitol Hill" by Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post 11/21/11

The biggest spenders, the survey says, include the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and established social conservative groups focusing on abortion, same-sex marriage and home-schooling.

Some longtime Hill advocates highlighted the report’s finding that the vast majority of religious advocates stick to softer education-type outreach and don’t get into explicit politics, such as donating money to candidates. Others said the report showed how tiny the field is, compared with the tens of thousands of mostly corporate lobbyists that have ballooned in number in Washington.

Compared with their numbers in the U.S. population, Muslims and Jews make up a bigger chunk of advocates. There are 17 Muslim advocacy groups and 25 Jewish advocacy groups, while the faith groups represent less than 1 percent and 1.7 percent of the American public, respectively, according to Pew.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Lobbying for the Faithful" posted at Pew Research Center Publications 11/21/11

Of the 212 groups studied, about half (51%) address domestic church-state issues, such as debates over public displays of religion, hate-crime laws and school vouchers. A similar portion (48%) works on civil rights and liberties, such as gay rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights and the rights of religious and ethnic minorities.

About four in-ten groups in the study (42%) work on bioethics and life issues, which include abortion, capital punishment, stem cell research and end-of-life issues. Roughly as many (39%) address family and marriage issues, including the definition of marriage, domestic violence and fatherhood initiatives. About one-in-six groups (17%) work on other domestic issues, a catch-all category that includes corporate accountability/responsibility, limited government/private enterprise, elections/campaign finance, capitalism, volunteerism and veterans’ issues.

To read the entire Pew study, CLICK HERE.