Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Christian Lobbying

Last weekend someone who I admire very much spoke on justice and the value of the United Methodist Church having a lobbying office in Washington, DC. The idea behind the lobby is to exercise the collective United Methodist Church’s desire to construct a just society. That sounds wonderful, but, my I believe my friend and I have divergent opinions about the value of the lobby. Over the next three weeks before winter break I will attempt to articulate my opposing stance.

With a quick count of the General Board of Society and Religion the United Methodist Church employs 23 people at their site in Washington, DC. These people work in premiere office space located across the street from the Supreme Court. With those jobs located in Washington and the expensive office space what other projects could the United Methodist Church use those resources towards? Possibly orphanages or digging clean water wells or constructing community halls and recreation centers?

Seemingly lobbies exist for every type of interest group possible in Washington, DC. In addition to there being multiple church lobbies in addition to the United Methodist Church there are other political lobby groups that advocate for the same outcomes. How much are we simply duplicating the efforts of other lobby groups?

Finally, something that troubles me very significantly is my lack of knowledge about who to contact. The United Methodist Church supports with the money received from collection plates around the country an organization called the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice which is yet another Washington, DC lobby for Pro-Choice. I do not want any money that I give to the church to be associated with the finance of such a lobbying organization. But, who do I contact? My search on the web has turned up no leadership on the General Board that look like they would be the right contact. This is particularly frustrating because if people in the church do have grievances who should they contact? Who are “they” that decide what the United Methodist Church supports? This is a hopeful post, perhaps you have that information.

Until this weekend I did not know that the United Methodist Church allocated resources towards the costs of lobbying the federal government. Please share your opinion on this matter.

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