Have you been shaking your head over how the U.S. seems to be going nowhere on the issue of LGBT civil rights, and backwards on contraception, and women’s health and reproduction rights? Doesn’t it seem illogical, even counter-intuitive that lawmakers are speaking out against such basic needs? Can’t think of any reason for it?
I can give you 216.
In 1970 there were around 40 lobbying firms advocating on behalf of religious organizations, today there are over 200. They’re in Senate halls and Congressional offices working to influence your elected representatives. And it’s not just same sex-marriage and pro-choice issues on their agenda. “In any congressional session, religious leaders will … be embroiled in battles over food stamps, foreign aid, civil rights litigation, social security, funding for day care, environmental protection farm bills and the list goes on,” says researcher Allan Hertzke.
Certainly not all the groups are conservative, a few are progressive, and some seem to exist exclusively to defend their faiths from being steam-rolled by some of the larger, more demanding evangelical groups. The vast majority are Judeo-Christian sects. A mere 12% identify as ‘Muslim.’ or ‘Other’.
But while there is a little diversity in the make-up of the lobby groups, an awful lot of them are similar to the Family Research Council or the Traditional Values Coalition. These two groups alone, bring nearly $25 million to the ‘conversation’ in Washington D.C. If you’re wondering what ‘traditional values’ are, here’s the coalition’s mission statement:
For more than 30 years, Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) is a leading voice in the halls of Congress for the Bible-based traditional values that created and preserved our nation and our prosperity for over two centuries. These values include:
- Promoting religious liberty and a free society;
– Uncovering wasteful spending in Washington;
– Championing Judeo-Christian values in the public square;
– Protecting traditional marriage and family as the cornerstone of society;
– Securing the Constitution against the growing threat of Islam and Shariah law;
– Defending human life from its earliest moments to natural death; and
– Ensuring the economic security of future generations of Americans as a moral issue.
Isn’t it great that they’re fighting for “Promoting religious liberty and a free society” by trying to bar other folks from religious liberty (Islam) and a free society (‘traditional’ marriage).
So the next time a conservative politician says he stands for ‘traditional values,’ it probably means he’s standing on a pile of lobbyist money that originated from collection plates.
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