For some religion is a private affair or one done in devotion to textual study, but increasingly religious identity is connected to lobbying in Washington. I have mentioned many times that in a single row in synagogue – one can find one person interested in halkhic minutia in their life, another into Rav Nachman and a third interested in Lobbying in Washington.The three congregants have three different moral orders to their religion. This article is an indication that many of the significant clergy in our decade are into lobbying and politicking. I see many Roshei Yeshiva comfortable in this role as well as many pulpit rabbis – their commitment shares much with Archbishop Dolan’s political lobbying.
Religion-related lobby groups thrive in Washington, grew 5 times in 40 years
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.
Their collective budgets for lobbing efforts in Washington were estimated at $390 million a year. For 131 of the groups for which data could be obtained, median spending was $890,000 in 2009, down from $970,000 the year before.
Forty groups accounted for the bulk of the spending, led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which spent nearly $88 million in 2008, the last year for which data was provided.
Also 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.
Issues the various groups lobbied on included support of Israel, church-state issues, and religious rights.
The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life said in the report on Monday that other topics were bioethics, abortion, capital punishment, and end-of-life and family-marriage issues. Many of the groups also addressed international issues such as poverty.