Number of lobbies has grown from 40 to over 200
Most of these comments are saying, that as a believer I can have no say in this
government, while the eat, drink, and be merry crowd has their way promoting the
anything goes philosophy.Tolerance is nearly non-existent in todays
debate. Don't like it get a lawyer. I have never seen a public prayer or
expression of anyone's religion result in any harm, only that created in the
intolerant mind. Give me a beak, lighten up, and understand that
everyone as a human being sees things differently and be a little more
understanding.Unfortunately, lobbying is viewed as a means of
educating government officials to direct wise legislation. Not always saying I
agree with everything that comes out of DC. I could view extreme
environmentalism as a religion, it is, and call for removal of tax exempt
status. Let's focus on the billions they have bilked the layers out of in just
the last ten years.This is a minor debate the leading issue is
corruption in our government at all levels of government, and all parties.
Those who want their government to legislate morality are mistaken in the whole
idea of free choice.We cannot force others to accept and live by our
individual standards. We can puruade them, but never coerce. Government
intervention in religious morality is an attempt of reducing people's free
choice. We must let people choose, never force them to.Forced
morality only leads to embitterment, secrecy, and greater unruliness. We must learn that we must govern ourselves, and pursuade others to make
m.g. scott,"Many of you (mostly on the left of
course)..."I have been Republican and conservative my entire
life. Your labeling and judgmentalism is not cool.The right to
assemble and "petititon government for redress of grievances is NOT the
right to "lobby" Lobbyists do NOT present petitions to the government.
Your argument is completely fallacious.
Many of you (mostly on the left of course) seem to forget that in the same first
amendment that provides for Congress staying out of religion by passing no laws
respecting religion it also gives people (individules) the right to
assemble(lobby as a group) and petititon government (lobbying). For what many
of you want to happen you might as well be saying "throw out the whole
From the list at the PEW website, There is only one LDS lobbyist group. Mission StatementTo build relationships with people in the
public sphere whose influence and actions are relevant to the mission of The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
RanchHand posted: Do you really think God wants a PAC when all he really needs
to do is wiggle his nose? God is capable, but he won't, because of a
higher principal called free agency.
IMAN posted: Simple solution. Pump money into lobbying and politics, lose tax
exempt status. Yeh, if YOU pump money into the same, you should lose
your tax deductions.
Wayne Rout | 9:37 a.m. Nov. 22, 2011 El Paso, TX Religious
people have nothing but contempt for non-religious people. It is caused by
their fear of being found out as preaching a false dogma. If you could find one
shred of actual evidence of any of your gospel, we might consider changing our
minds. The only reason you have any religious freedom is because we
have a government not associated and controlled by a particular religion. If
the religion forces take over our government there will be no religious freedom
and little personal freedom in America, like so many other nations in the world.
As a personal exercise, try to find one religious freedom that was
lost in the history of America that did not provide a greater amount of freedom
of religion in return. Real Americans would like for every one to
share the burden of freedom in America. Many of us resent the forced
contribution to churches other than our own.
RanchHand,"I do have a problem when religions lobby for laws
that INFRINGE ON THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS."Wow, I mean really- what
statement could be more anti-democratic and against freedom than that?You have a problem with my promoting my beliefs? But you said that it's only
when I promote infringing rights... because, well... we ALL agree on what rights
are now don't we? Even if we actually did, how much do we agree on how rights
are best preserved and protected?But no, by all means. If I lobby my
OPINION vs your OPINION, you have a problem with it.I'm sorry
RanchHand, but that is self-evidently a hostile political stance. If you have a
problem with my opinion, fine. I welcome that opinion. But if you have a problem
with me lobbying, speaking out, or debating to support that opinion... then I
would ask- why do you live in a democracy? Having a problem with an opinion is
one thing. Having a problem with that opinion being successful in a democracy,
is most certainly a destructive stance.By all means, liberals
understand rights. Because the conservative half of America is OBVIOUSLY
Ms Molli,While I appreciate you point of view, I am frustrated with
the numberless people who feel that the LDS church in particular has weaseled
their way in too much into the affairs of Utah. In 1847, the Salt Lake Basin
was a wasteland, nothing would grow there - and no one wanted it. The westward
migration was headed for the green and gold laden valleys of Oregon and
California. The Mormon people set down stakes in the Salt Lake
Valley and converted it into a near garden spot, and now, all of a sudden, they
considered to be meddling in the affairs of the area. My ancestors and those of
many other people, paid a heavy price for their faith in building a home in a
desolate wilderness, forgive us if what happens in the valley still matters very
much to us.
JRJWell, I haven't heard of many Democrats attending conventions of
atheists, or having atheists publicly support Democrats in their office seeking.
Have you? I have however, listed to Falwell, Roberts, and many
other conservative preachers like the anti Mormon one from Dallas who supports
Perry. And, there are other conservative religious groups that do not directly
endorse one party over the other (perhaps concerned about the potential for tax
consequences) but their membership still knows how to vote for the party.
candidate, or issue they prefer.
@VoR: Interesting thought indeed. I don't have an issue
with you donating to your church or even how your church uses those funds
(though Christianity is supposedly about helping the poor and needy;
actions/words, my friend). I do have a problem when religions lobby
for laws that INFRINGE ON THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS. Be they other religions, other
citizens, other groups, whatnot.When one religion gets a law enacted
that restricts another religion's practices, that infringement violates the 1st
Amendment. Anti-abortion, anti-glbt, anti-muslim, pro-SchoolPrayer laws violate
the freedom of the individual AND other religions.The first
amendment does NOT grant religions the right to infringe on ANY other rights.
The only right granted is the right to PRACTICE your religion in your own home
and church w/o government interference. Yes, you can discuss it in public, but
you may NOT force others to adhere to it. All this lobbying is intended to
force their own version of morality or whatever into law. That is wrong.
So MIke in Texas: If the religious right has hijacked the Republican party,
does that mean the atheistic left has hijacked the Democrat Party? Gotta be
fair. Perhaps the lobbying should just disappear. Whoops, that would put another
'loophole' in things as all lobbying would then go farther underground and
larger pieces of pie would be at stake. I think we're talking about a desire to
have people of all faiths, political parties and other interests just be... wait
for it....honest? Frankly, I think the majority of the country doesn't care a
fig about anyone else. It's all me, me, me.
@Wayne Rout"Liberal Democrats have nothing but contempt for religious
people."I'm pretty sure the majority of liberal democrats are
religious."If you are a Christian in this country, you have
almost no rights."As a Christian myself I find this notion
silly."I have to say, as someone who is not Christian, its hard
for me to believe Christians are a persecuted people in America. God-willing,
maybe one of you one day will even rise up and get to be president of this
country - or maybe forty-four in a row. But, thats my point, is theyve taken
this idea of no establishment as persecution, because they feel entitled, not to
equal status, but to greater status." Jon Stewart to Mike Huckabee on
The Daily Show
The 1st Amendment allows all to petition government so lobbying is a
constitutional right for all. Religions are no different than the NAACP or NRA
in wanting to shape society so there is no way to stop religions from lobbying
government nor should there be. They have a right to petition government.Christianity isnt under attack. Its just no longer granted special
privileges. No prayer in school or Bible reading. This isnt an attack, but
simply avoiding government promotion of religion. If schools try to teach about
Islam or other beliefs while denying Christianity equal treatment, they need to
be stopped.Being a Libertarian, I believe that laws should only be
instituted to punish actions that objectively harm to person, property or rights
of another. Laws involving other actions that dont objectively harm others
should be eschewed even though religious groups often promote them. Such laws
often involve vice (gambling, prostitution, shopping on Sunday, etc). Vice is
not crime. It may be a sin per ones SUBJECTIVE morals, but not crime.Christian religions must also obey 1 Cor. 10:29 which condemns using
subjective morality to justify outlawing the rights of others.
RanchHand,I am by no means Rich. I could use more money right now.
However, I have willingly given money to my religion why? Because I wanted them
to spend it on helping others. Whether that's through a lobbyist or not is
irrelevant. Whether you agree on what defines 'helping' is irrelevant.What is relevant is that I am a free citizen of a free country and I freely
chose to endorse what I want to with what is mine.So aside from
being well within my rights to do so, I argue that how I spend my money is not
subject to the criticism of others. That what belongs to me is spent best HOW I
see fit. So while you may think it would be better spent elsewhere. I got news
for you. No one ever listens to how their neighbor thinks they should spend
their money. We listen to how WE believe our resources are best focused. That is
our right, and criticism of our choices produces nothing. One could argue that
you or I on this board could spend our time better also, by helping those in
need. Yet we're still on here. Interesting thought.
unless u have the power to make lions cow at your feet, and can throw on a robe
and walk through fire; anyone who would complain about religion lobbying as a
diversion to equality in social policy is really saying that the diversity they
hold as ideal turns out to be the exclusion and approbation of the historical
value of christianity and the role it had in the foundation of our counrty, and
the formation of it's values, which were 'at least' christian, as much as they
'Religiuous lobbying is changing political focus' - Title while
previously: *'Bishops say government eroding religious liberty' - By
Rachel Zoll - AP - Published by DSNews - 11/14/11 The claims of this
BISHOP (religious office) that religious liberty is 'under threat' is now so
abusurd it goes beyond humor and should not be... pittyed. When we see, example, after example of people using thier RELIGION...as a
Yes, let's mandate the US as a Christian nation! While we're at it, let's
mandate which religion we "have" to choose also. And then let's ship
the nonbelievers out of here along with the illegal aliens!
...and our political discourse has never been more fractious. Punt the church
out of the legislature.
UltraBob states: 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. I
strongly disagree. That is quite a cynical, negative assertion, that religions
are out to enslave and rob the general population. Most religions espouse
healthy, positive conduct that leads to peace among people. Judeo-Christian values have been the mainstay of our nation and it's laws and
have facilitated the growth of the greatest nation in history. The ultimate
form of influence is the vote, at least in this country. Whether it be a group,
organization, or individual, trying to influence the government according to
one's own conscience IS one of those inviolable rights protected by the
constitution.However, I will agree that some lobbies have
overstepped their bounds and are scary given their financial power and
influence. But that is not a good enough reason to outlaw lobbying. It is,
however, a good enough reason to regulate it.
J-TX says:"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."---That is actually a good idea. You do
have them every once in a while.Mike in Texas says:"...
or maybe it's just a marriage of cynical political convenience."---Tee hee hee. Per a variety of changes to various state constitutions
re-defining the word "marriage", you can no longer call such a union
"marriage". ;}@Hawkeye79 & The Skeptical Chymist;The problem is that laws favoring beliefs of a specific religion
automatically infringe on the freedom of religion of other religions with
I think that for the most part, people who support religions affecting politics
are in support because they want the religion they are affiliated with to have
the right to continue "as is". However, if those individuals were to
be in a situation where another religion that is polar opposite finds a great
deal of funding and becomes a powerful lobbyist, I think you will see a whole
new perspective on whether or not religions should have a voice in politics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 AmendmentPerhaps someone can explain what, in this text,
suggests that religions can have no discussions with government.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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"
Simple solution. Pump money into lobbying and politics, lose tax exempt status.
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!
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.
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.
"... roughly 390 million dollars are spent annually by religious lobby
groups in pursuit of their policy objectives."---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?
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.