We Pay to Get Lobbied?
A recent article from the Presbyterian News Service speaks of the participation of the Office of Political Witness (OPW, formerly the Washington Office) in the Ecumenical Advisory Days coming up in March—the days when mainline denominations and other religious groups gather in Washington to push an all-things-liberal agenda, speaking as if they were representing millions of Christians who actually would advocate for the other side of many issues. This is a longstanding exercise in leadership deception and political futility. Same old same old, although this year the stated theme sounds more decent than others.
However, a line from the article caught my attention: “OPW is working to extend its work outside of Washington and into the greater church.” What? So the office originally designed to lobby Congress is now going to lobby its funders instead?
Let me get this straight. Although…
Presbyterians already have multiple, overlapping, denomination-funded entities pushing one theologically and politically liberal issue after another at the church as a whole, so that we are already over-lobbied by our own church leadership elites;
Presbyterians in the plurality who actually happen to espouse a theologically or politically conservative position have no such internal access to denominational funds and clout (paid in part with their own money), but must turn around and support other groups that actually do promote their convictions;
The Office of Political Witness was set up to lobby the federal government apparatus in Washington for causes deemed important to Presbyterians—a lobby set up strategically to lobby exactly where political power is concentrated, in Washington; and
The Office of Political Witness has been roundly ineffectual in its task for years, held in low esteem by secular power, and generally ignored (fortunately, since it usually pushes radical issues opposed by most of the church);
… now the office plans to turn its focus back toward the church itself, in order to lobby us about issues frequently more important to and determined by liberal mainline lobbying peers than Presbyterians as a whole?
So we Presbyterians get yet one more agency funded by our dollars whose task it has become to pester us with skewed viewpoints “backed” by anemic theology?
Exactly who decided that this church-targeted effort was necessary in a denomination notorious for its backsliding miscues?
At least we Presbyterians have one consolation: The OPW has never been very good at what it does, so it will probably be as ineffective in this misdirected focus as it was in its wrong-headed lobbying. But what a waste of dollars and goodwill!