Comments about ‘Religious lobbying is changing political focus’

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Number of lobbies has grown from 40 to over 200

Published: Monday, Nov. 21 2011 11:22 p.m. MST

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My2Cents
Taylorsville, UT

I find this rather offensive that religious groups are lobbying our government when it is completley forbidden in our constitution to keep religion out of our government policy and decisions making. The lobby groups should be disbanded and barred from any lobbying of our representatives forever. The rights of religion ends at the chapel doors.

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

"... roughly 390 million dollars are spent annually by religious lobby groups in pursuit of their policy objectives."

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Money that would better be spend aiding their congregants, the poor and the needy.

Do you really think God wants a PAC when all he really needs to do is wiggle his nose?

One Fly
WALSENBURG, CO

The integration of religion into politics is a huge negative and needs to stop. Of course it won't because the religiously insane know no other way. When you have elected officials saying math/science and research is flawed that reason alone is enough to get religion out of the halls of Congress.

CJ
Murray, UT

I think it is time to change the tax exempt status of all churches who are engaging in political activism. Why should I pay extra taxes to support so called "charities" that are lobbying for things I don't believe in or support? A very good example would be our local religion telling legislators how to vote on Hb116 and trying to push amnesty for law breaking illegal aliens who are destroying my state. Are they a religion or a political action committee? What we need is one really good challenge that sends a message to all of them.

Florien Wineriter
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I am concerned about the one-way street of religions trying to influence civil affairs while they would scream loudly if civil officials even suggested influencing religious activities.
Then there is the enormous tax exemption given all religious sturctures while they enjoy the use of police and fire protection, and all other governmental services.
If religions insist on the freedom to influence secular affairs then they should accept the responsibility of financially supporting their sevices.
Once again I urge the complete seperation of religion and secular affairs...Freedom and Responsbility,it's a fine line isn't it!

IMAN
Marlborough, MA

Simple solution. Pump money into lobbying and politics, lose tax exempt status.

ParkCityAggie
Park City, Ut

Our Founding Fathers never could have foreseen this modern ultra-religious landscape that did not exist in their day. The whole reason this country exists is because the people wanted to escape Theocratic rule. The Establishment clause in the 1st amendment was meant to be broad, and they didn't see the need to be so explicit about the separation. Yet in Thomas Jefferson's often misquoted 1802 letter to Danbury Baptists he quite literally states that the Establishment clause was meant to provide a "wall of separation between church and State" and this is the Author of the 1st Amendment. You know his true intentions, you know our founding fathers true intentions, read Madison, Adams, Paine, et al. The religious revisionist historians have oft tried to hijack this history, and it's wrong on so many levels. Might I suggest another good book on this subject: "Attack of the Theocrats! How the Religious Right Harms Us All- and What We Can Do About It"

JWB
Kaysville, UT

As in the Super Committee lives with the saying that "Don't let a crisis go to waste", this article is part of that process also. Principles are part of everyday life and people will make a case that principles are religion and we can't have those. Lobbying may not be a good thing for religious groups to do but there are principles that they want to live and support. The faith based promotion of the prior administration relates to some of these lobbyists as they are probably 501c3 and want to make a difference in life in our country. There are plenty of people that need help and religious organizations are an integral part of our life in the U.S. It is not always true in other countries. Just because we are now in the last 11 months of the Presidential campaign people will tear at these religious groups so people will not want to donate to their cause, thus increasing our government's ploy of welfare rolls. Religion is a part of country. There are some restrictions but not control by the government. Liberty and freedoms are precious and our religious freedoms were very previous to our Founders.

BalancedFulfilledLife
MISSOURI CITY, TX

Religious lobbying exists because of the decline in individual and societal ethics. For the vast majority of the history of this world, people have valued, honored and protected marriage between a man and a woman, family, human life, freedom of religion, and so forth. Our rapidly polarizing nation is divided as to whether or not to continue to value, honor and protect these fundamental concepts that are the core of civilization. Because our nation is divided, those who uphold truth must stand (even politically if necessary) to defend what God has endowed as sacred and holy, namely traditional marriage, family, human life, freedom of religion, and so forth.

Lilljemalm
Gilbert, AZ

A religious organization is not forbidden by the constitution from lobbying or stating a position on an issue being considered by politicians or government officials by the Bill of Rights. The federal government, however, is forbidden from sponsoring a religion or impeding the practice of religion by the citizenry. Anyone who advocates silencing groups like a religious group, corporation, special interest group, etc. might as well silence themselves. Preventing one group from lobbying will eventually lead to the preventing of all from lobbying. Freedom of speech allows all to lobby.

Ms Molli
Bountiful, Utah

If more Americans lived in Utah for awhile, they would be scared as heck at how much religion can affect politics. All a church needs to do is get a VERY strong foot in the door and watch out. The "non-believers" will basically be pressured to move or accept the fact that the predominant religion is going to be making most of the decisions. One could also argue that the Catholic religion has had a similar hold in a couple of States in the past.

J-TX
Allen, TX

My2Cents | 6:37 a.m. Nov. 22, 2011
I find this rather offensive that religious groups are lobbying our government when it is completley forbidden in our constitution to keep religion out of our government policy and decisions making.

M2C: You need to re-read the constitution, I think.

Florien Wineriter | 7:29 a.m. Nov. 22, 2011
I am concerned about the one-way street of religions trying to influence civil affairs while they would scream loudly if civil officials even suggested influencing religious activities.

FW: even suggested? Look around. The States have been attempting to squash Christ and Christianity for decades! Especially in the schools, you may name any religion or God except christianity and Christ. Well, not in Texas, thank goodness. There's a reason it's called POLITICAL correctness....

One group's lobbying is free speech as much as the next group's, according to current law.

So here is the solution: Outlaw lobbying on capitol hill. All lobbying. Big Oil, Religion, ACLU, Teachers' Unions, AMA, Banking, PETA, All Lobbying. It's just one more step we need to take to take back our country. Let individual citizens call, write and email, so Congress knows what we really want and need.

very concerned
Sandy, UT

Religion is under such fervent attack these days that I believe it needs a voice.

Second, in response to My2Cents, you stated it is completley forbidden in our constitution to keep religion out of (in?) our government policy and decisions making, I don't think it is correct to say that religion is completely forbidden as a source for political change. To say so would be to deny even the individual citizen the right to vote along religious lines.

Third, as for tax exempt status, there are many non-profit (non-taxed) entities that lobby politicians, both secular and religious. To deny one category (religion) the right to lobby would put all others (even secular non-profits) in jeopardy as well.

What I guess Im emphatically saying is that yes, religious groups should have the right to lobby. Not control nor dictate, but lobby, for policies of such importance to them. Controling/dicatating should be left to the voters. But, remember, as the article quotes, we as citizens vote from the perspective of religious morals all the time. That is our right. We may vote for a person/policy who holds our same spiritual values without upsetting the constitution.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

As the champion of the unprotected people begins to falter, the wolves increase their ferocious attack.

Our government by the words of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution promised a nation governed by the notion of government by the people and for the people. While it was never really so, the notion of a peoples government was the spark that raised this nation to its present glory. Again, the thing that made this country great was a government that protected and nurtured the benefits of a empowered people.

States, businesses, religions, and unions of all sorts, combine their members strength to seek special privileges and concessions from the government to enhance their ability to enslave and rob the general population. In this way religious organizations are no different from other commercial businesses. All are anti-democracy and anti-people.

Mike in Texas
Cedar City, Utah

Oh, for the good old days when faith based groups were mostly concerned with the salvation and well being of their adherents and not in messing with the lives of non-believers. In recent years many religions have sought to impose their particular moral views on the nation. Isn't this just a form of tyranny? I personally think that the religious right has hijacked the Republican Party - or maybe it's just a marriage of cynical political convenience.

Given this increase in political activism, maybe we should eliminate the tax advantages they enjoy.

Hawkeye79
Iowa City, IA

As a point of reference for the discussion that will inevitably take place here (and has already started), here is what the constitution actually says about religion and government:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." -First Amendment

Perhaps someone can explain what, in this text, suggests that religions can have no discussions with government.

ulvegaard
Medical Lake, Washington

I for one think such lobbying should end. But don't stop at the religious groups, make a clean sweep across the board. In today's political world, if religions don't lobby, interests of freedom of religion, good standards and fairness will be completely dismantled by the lobbyists who people commenting on this site seem to think should exist.

Fair is fair, all, or none.

merich39
Salt Lake City, UT

there is nothing in the constitution that says religions cannot try to influence government. it is quite the opposite. however, there is also nothing in the constitution that says that religions should receive tax exempt status. so the solution is actually very simple. let religions exert all the political influence they like. just remove their tax exempt status.

The Skeptical Chymist
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Of course, religions should be able to voice their views, and to work to influence legislation. Everyone should be able to access their representatives and attempt to influence them. The problem is that money talks more loudly than anything else. Along those lines, the governmental policy allowing tax deductions for contributions to religious organizations is wrong, and in my opinion unconstitutional. This amounts to government aiding the establishment of religion in general. In effect, government is supporting the religious viewpoint over a secular viewpoint by the policy of allowing tax deductions for contributions to religious organizations. Government should be strictly neutral in matters of religion, and should not be endorsing religious activities by their tax policies.

Wayne Rout
El Paso, TX

Liberal Democrats have nothing but contempt for religious people. It is great that church groups are doing more, but for the most part, people with religious faith are not nearly active enough in uniting their votes to get the troublemakers out of elective office. We are loosing our religious freedom on a regular basis because of government. If you are a Christian in this country, you have almost no rights. If we do not become more aggressive, we have a lot to loose. We know that Democrats want to tax church property. We are seeing Obama and the Democrats efforts to take away charitable deductions. We don't have much time left to turn this country around.

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