The Top 10 Power Brokers of the Religious Right
By Rob Boston, Church and State
Posted on July 7, 2006
The United States is home to dozens of Religious Right groups. Many have small budgets and focus on state and local issues; the most powerful organizations conduct nationwide operations, command multi-million-dollar bank accounts and attract millions of followers. They have disproportionate clout in the halls of Congress, the White House and the courts, and they wield enormous influence within the political system.
What follows is a list of the nation’s Top Ten Religious Right groups, as determined by publicly available financial data and political prominence. Additional information describes the organizations’ leaders, funding and activities.
1. Christian Broadcasting Network
Founder, CEO and Director: The Rev. Pat Robertson
2004 Revenue: $186,482,060
Location: Virginia Beach, Va.
Web site: www.cbn.com
Overview: The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) airs Robertson’s “700 Club,” an incendiary daily mix of Pentecostal faith-healing, lifestyle advice and far-right politics. He calls church-state separation a “lie of the left” and thinks Christians like him should lead the world. With his withdrawal from the Christian Coalition in 2001, Robertson uses CBN as his primary political soapbox. The show, which according to Nielsen Media Research has 830,000 daily viewers, opens with a “newscast” that parrots Robertson’s views, often followed by commentary from the televangelist himself. Top leaders of the conservative movement regularly pontificate on the program, and Republican members of Congress appear to tout legislative goals.
Robertson, 76, has a history of controversy. His 1991 book The New World Order was based on a host of anti-Semitic sources, although Robertson has always been pro-Israel for end-times theological reasons. The same book opines that former presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush may have been unwitting dupes for Lucifer. On his TV show, Robertson once charged that Methodists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians represent “the spirit of the Antichrist.” In a Sept. 13, 2001, diatribe, he asserted that the terrorist attacks on America happened because of the Supreme Court’s rulings in favor of church-state separation. In the ensuing controversy, Robertson shifted the blame to Jerry Falwell, who had been on the show with him.