November 22nd, 2011
12:29 PM ET
Report tracks explosion of religious lobbying in Washington
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - Lobbying and advocacy by religious groups in Washington have exploded in recent decades, increasing fivefold since 1970 to become a nearly $400 million industry, a new Pew report finds.
More than 200 groups are doing faith-related lobbying and advocacy in the nation’s capital, compared to fewer than 40 in 1970, according to the report. Put together, the groups employ at least 1,000 people.
The report, released Monday by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life, found that religious groups spend $390 million a year to influence U.S. domestic and foreign policy.
“About one-in-five religious advocacy organizations in Washington have a Roman Catholic perspective (19%) and a similar proportion is evangelical Protestant in outlook (18%), while 12% are Jewish and 8% are mainline Protestant,” according to the report, called "Lobbying for the Faithful: Religious Advocacy Groups in Washington, D.C."
“But many smaller U.S. religious groups, including Baha’is, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, also have established advocacy organizations in the Washington area,” the report said.
The number of Muslim groups engaged in lobbying and advocacy in Washington (17) is about the same as the number of mainline Protestant groups engaged in such work (16).
The report said that the most common domestic issues for religious groups are:
- The relationship between church and state;
- Civil rights and liberties for religious and other minorities;
- Bioethics and life issues, including abortion, capital punishment and end-of-life issues;
- Family/marriage issues, including definition of marriage, domestic violence and fatherhood initiatives.
The top international issues for religious groups are religious freedom, human rights, debt relief and other economic issues, and the promotion of peace and democracy, the report found.
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
Are they using tax-deductable donations to further their political activities? If it acts like a business tax it like a business, tax it like a business.
Take away their tax-exempt status.
Great. Just what we need- more lobbyists. Maybe Grover Norquist will find religion and release his hostages.
The GOP ≠ God’s Ordained Politicians.
TAX CHURCHES NOW!
Just be patient. It will happen soon. By the way, they also will be eliminated for ever.
It was from our Chapels that came the War-on-Drugs, War-on-Alcohol (prohibition, Blue Laws and the Comstock Laws.
It is at least partly lobbying from the Chapels that the US involves itself in the Middle East on the side of Israel.
Religion has brought the US one set of bad laws after another. It is a shame that evangelical Christians can't learn from
the Amish and stop trying to force their will on others.
Down with all the right wing evangelical christians too! They are all a bunch of hypocrites!
Well said Eric!
Tax these morons
TAX THE CHURCH!
Corporate greed is alive and well in America! What ever became of the family values repug politicians?
if churches and religious organizations want to lobby and get involved in politics, they should start PAYING TAXES like the rest of us. If you aren't paying, shut the hell up.
I agree! Tax the church if they want to involve themselves into politics and create laws that affect our citizens.
Good...so the 47% who don't pay taxes can no longer have a voice...
Religious people feverous enough to speak out tend to be the dumbest and most opinionated. These undereducated meat puppets need to go home and study for their GED exams.
Anyone who wishes to impose their will on others using the power of the state as a club is dangerous and opinionated. Religion doesn't make one better or worse in this regard.
It was the pursuit of religious principles that led to the transforming of the "Land of the Free" into the worlds "Prison Nation". Laws inspired by Christian Values have led to the ruin of all that once made this a great nation.
This world needs less religion to succeed.
Let's hear it for the new Theocracy! << said sarcastically. If they can lobby they should be taxed. Separation not lobby-nation.
"Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's" - If they are lobbying, they better be paying taxes!
Yes, they absolutely should be paying taxes...tax all churches!
definitely time to revoke tax exempt status
Another point, religion is the root of all evil in the world today! Just take a look around and see what's going on in the world today and for the past thousand or so years!
You are so right!!!
Our country's corruption is implicit in the legality of lobbying our elected officials to do anything other than what we elected them to do. Why do we bother with elections? Just let the rich buy their positions.
So, remind me again why we don't tax religious organizations?