Lobbying From a Faith
How can people of faith be true
to our values and traditions, and also strategic and effective in
communicating with government decision-makers about public issues?
Here are a few suggestions gathered from professional staff of Christian
denominations who served as lobbyists for their national church
We are Advocates. “Advocacy” is a better
term than “lobbying” for describing our activities to
bring values and social concerns to the attention of elected officials.
We speak not for ourselves, but for the well being of society and
We educate ourselves on the facts, but we do not wait to speak until
we are experts, for we know that politics is where public priorities
are decided and resources are raised and allocated for good or ill.
We know that these decisions are fundamentally values decisions
that affect everyone. We speak as citizens concerned about the good
of all, urging our elected officials to ensure that government implements
policies and programs that support the well-being of all more than
the benefit of the few. We advocate for the good of the whole, for
all, and for future generations.
We Speak for what is Right, not what is Popular.
We ask for what we believe is right, even when it may not be seen
as politically popular. We respect the opinions of political strategists,
and seek their counsel, for we are concerned to dedicate resources
effectively. Yet, we place political tactics as a second priority
below doing what we believe is right. We are called by faith to
We Call for Fundamental Solutions. We hold to enduring
principles over pursuit of quick and easier victories when such
“quick fixes” might undermine the principles upon which
our faith is based – principles of justice, peace, reconciliation,
protection of the poor and weak…
We Seek to Understand. We are compassionate toward
our elected officials, and recognize that those who hold public
office face many complex pressures. Our job is not to condemn, but
to understand different points of view. Compassion does not mean
we keep quiet when our perspective differs. Understanding an elected
official’s point of view enables us to speak with kindness,
and to focus more precisely on where there may be differences in
information, values, or priorities.
We Support and Build Relationships. We build support
for elected officials to do the right thing, and do not make threats
when their actions violate our trust. We build relationships based
on respect and commitment to societal good, not back-scratching.
We are quick to embrace the good actions of our “opponents”,
and we separate actions from the people who do them.
We Persist. We do not assume quick and easy results,
but set our hearts, minds and hands to work for good. We take the
long-term view – that anything worth doing will likely take
time to accomplish. Thus we are not easily discouraged from our
advocacy tasks, because it is not our own preferences that we seek
to accommodate, but a larger good that we seek to advance.
We Serve. Our purpose is not victory on our own terms,
or victories we can claim to have achieved, but to help our society
be better aligned with enduring principles and values.
By Tina Clarke, Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, www.healthytomorrow.org