Jay Atkins on Does Jesus Need a Lobbyist?

“To be ignorant and simple now – not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground – would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our…brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the…attacks of the heathen.” – C. S. Lewis

Lobbyists get a bad rap. They are seen as a corrupting influence in politics and as the embodiment of an unfair system that serves the interests of corporate elites at the expense of the people. That’s too bad.  Not only is it untrue but believing in such caricatures dissuades Christians from working with professional lobbyists.  That puts us at an unnecessary disadvantage in the ongoing culture war.  A war, incidentally, we are losing.  If Christians would deploy professional lobbyists to engage in coordinated and strategic policy campaigns against the other side, we could break out of our perpetually defensive posture and start winning back lost ground.

Jay Atkins | Courtesy of Jay Atkins

It’s time for us to rethink our strategy in a big way.  Yes, the Lord is sovereign, and our ultimate victory is secure, but what we do here and now matters. Our approach to growing the Kingdom needs to be multifaceted. Christian advocacy through professional lobbying is different from ministry and charity, but it is no less important. It is not direct engagement with individuals to save souls.  Rather, it is a symbiotic activity that endeavors to ensure ministry and charity can proceed unencumbered. Groups hostile to Christianity – Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, GLAAD, &c. – have been engaged in professional lobbying and policymaking for years with the express purpose of restricting our ability to freely and openly live our faith.  It’s one of the reasons they’ve gained so much ground.  We didn’t end up on defense by accident.  While we were going to court trying to protect our turf, they were mounting an offensive.  We were out maneuvered and out gunned by a full-frontal assault on the very laws and policies meant to protect us. We are now decades behind, and it’s time to flip the script. Organized, professional lobbying can help do just that.

It is important for Christians to understand what lobbying is, why it happens, and how we can use it to serve our faith. It’s dubious reputation notwithstanding, lobbying, and lobbyists, play an important role in our representative democracy.

Lobbying is a form of legally sanctioned advocacy that allows people or groups to hire trained professionals to represent their interests before the government.  There are no limits on who may retain a professional lobbyist, or how many they may hire, but there are constraints on what lobbyists are permitted to do during the course of their representation.  Lobbyists are not allowed to exchange anything of value for an elected official’s vote (i.e. pay-for-play), but they do get broad access to officials for the purpose of educating and persuading them.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jay Atkins