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Taking the Hill.



Religious Broadcaster James Dobson's Foray Into Verb 1. foray into - enter someone else's territory and take spoils; "The pirates raided the coastal villages regularly"
raid

encroach upon, intrude on, obtrude upon, invade - to intrude upon, infringe, encroach on, violate; "This new colleague invades my
 Washington Forces Republican Surrender To Religious Right In Congress

When James Dobson James Clayton "Jim" Dobson, Ph.D. (born April 21, 1936 in Shreveport, Louisiana) is the chairman of the board of Focus on the Family, a nonprofit organization he founded in 1977.  talks, House Speaker Newt Gingrich listens. And so do other Republican leaders on Capitol Hill.

Relying on hardball political threats and pious posturing, Dobson and his Religious Right allies in May stared down the GOP leadership in Congress and won major concessions for their movement. Key House Republicans promised to schedule action on legislation and set up a formal liaison system to ensure close GOP coordination with the fundamentalists' camp.

Gingrich, Majority Leader Dick Armey, Majority Whip Tom DeLay and other House members met with Dobson and over a dozen other Religious Right leaders for three and a half hours May 8 at the Library of Congress. When they emerged from the closed-door session, participants confirmed the new working agreement.

DeLay, who chaired the summit, told reporters, "The leadership is committed, deeply committed, to making sure that what came out of this meeting actually happens."

The GOP capitulation CAPITULATION, war. The treaty which determines the conditions under which a fortified place is abandoned to the commanding officer of the army which besieges it.
     2.
 to the Religious Right was a personal triumph for Dobson. The Focus on the Family head in recent months has unleashed a bitter fusillade of criticism toward Gingrich and other Republican leaders for moving too slowly on social issues legislation and failing to speak out on "moral" concerns.

Dobson, president of a $116-million-a-year evangelical broadcasting empire based in Colorado Springs Colorado Springs, city (1990 pop. 281,140), seat of El Paso co., central Colo., on Monument and Fountain creeks, at the foot of Pikes Peak; inc. 1886. It is a year-round resort and a booming military, technological, and commercial city. , even threatened to ask his millions of followers to abandon the Republican Party, staying home in the November elections or voting for third-party candidates such as the militantly right-wing U.S. Taxpayers Party.

Deftly combining his religious and political agendas the first week of May, Dobson came to Washington to participate in National Day of Prayer activities and to preach repentance to Republican congressional leaders.

Although he built his tax-exempt empire through radio, the family counselor turned to television to throw down the gantlet. Dobson appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" May 3, arguing that Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Gingrich and others in the GOP have ignored and insulted conservative Christians who make up a large portion of the party's base.

Dobson acknowledged his threat to bolt the party if he and his fundamentalist allies don't get their way. "I have said that," Dobson replied, "and it would be, I think, a disaster if that would be necessary. First of all there are a lot of good, solid pro-life, pro-family congressmen and senators in the Congress. And they would be hurt in the process.

"I know who would inherit the power," he continued. "It would be the Democrats in the White House and the Congress, so that would be unfortunate. But you never take a hill unless you're willing to die on it. And we must die on this hill if necessary."

After that nationally televised jeremiad jer·e·mi·ad  
n.
A literary work or speech expressing a bitter lament or a righteous prophecy of doom.



[French jérémiade, after Jérémie, Jeremiah, author of The Lamentations
, Dobson launched into a round of meetings in the capital. On Monday, he had dinner with Armey, followed by a session with 16 GOP senators the next day. On Wednesday he conferred for an hour with Lott.

That evening, Dobson appeared on CNN's "Larry King Live Larry King Live is a nightly CNN interview program hosted by broadcaster and writer Larry King. The show premiered in 1985, and is CNN's most watched program, with over one million viewers nightly. " to renew his apocalyptic warnings, while making a few conciliatory con·cil·i·ate  
v. con·cil·i·at·ed, con·cil·i·at·ing, con·cil·i·ates

v.tr.
1. To overcome the distrust or animosity of; appease.

2.
 noises. "I believe we're going to see some change," he said. "I've been encouraged this week, I met for an hour with Trent Lott this afternoon and I believe there are good things coming. But if there is not, we have to be willing to die on that hill."

On Thursday Dobson participated in National Day of Prayer services at the Senate Russell Office Building. But on Friday he resumed his direct political action, attending the private showdown session between Religious Right leaders and top House officials.

Hosted by DeLay, the meeting included not only Dobson and his top lieutenant Gary Bauer Gary L. Bauer (born May 4 1946, Covington, Kentucky)[1] is a conservative American politician notable for his ties to several evangelical Christian groups and campaigns. In 1973, Bauer received a Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University.  of the Family Research Council, but also Christian Coalition Christian Coalition, organization founded to advance the agenda of political and social conservatives, mostly comprised of evangelical Protestant Republicans, and to preserve what it deems traditional American values.  Executive Director Randy Tate Randy J. Tate (b. November 23, 1965 in Puyallup, Washington) is an American politician and a former Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Washington. , Traditional Values Coalition The Traditional Values Coalition is a Christian Right organization that claims to represent over 43,000 conservative Christian churches throughout the United States of America. Headquartered in Washington, D.C.  President Lou Sheldon, Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is a United States-based "nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms. , Richard Land of the Southern Baptists' Religious Liberty and Ethics Commission, Carmen Carmen

throws over lover for another. [Fr. Lit.: Carmen; Fr. Opera: Bizet, Carmen, Westerman, 189–190]

See : Faithlessness


Carmen

the cards repeatedly spell her death. [Fr.
 Pate of Concerned Women for America Concerned Women for America is a conservative Christian political action group active in the United States. The group was founded in 1979 by Beverly LaHaye, wife of Christian Coalition co-founder Timothy LaHaye, as a response to activities by the National Organization for Women and , a representative of the National Right to Life Committee The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to end legalized Abortion in the United States. Founded in 1973, following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 93 S. Ct. 705, 35 L. Ed.  and others.

In addition to Gingrich, Armey and DeLay, House members present included Reps. David McIntosh (R-Ind.), Robert L. Livingston (R-La.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Mark Souder (R-Ind.), Ron Lewis (R-Ky.) and David Weldon (R-Fla.).

Sources said the meeting was often tense.

The conservative Washington Times reported that Gingrich sometimes appeared frustrated and even sarcastic, insisting that religious conservatives don't appreciate his efforts to pass their legislation.

But by the meeting's end, both sides had reached a detente dé·tente  
n.
1. A relaxing or easing, as of tension between rivals.

2. A policy toward a rival nation or bloc characterized by increased diplomatic, commercial, and cultural contact and a desire to reduce tensions, as through
 that gave Dobson and his friends much of what they wanted. The Republicans promised to move swiftly on church-state measures, abortion restrictions, arts defunding and other issues high on the Religious Right's wish list.

Shutting down the National Endowment for the Arts National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

Independent agency of the U.S. government that supports the creation, dissemination, and performance of the arts. It was created by the U.S.
, banning so-called "partial birth" abortions and ending the "marriage penalty" for married taxpayers were singled out in the post-summit press conferences. A vote on the Istook Amendment, a measure that critics say would effectively repeal church-state separation, is reportedly set for House action in early June.

Gingrich and company also agreed to create a "Values Action Team" to meet weekly with Religious Right representatives to discuss their agenda and develop strategy for enacting it into law. Headed by U.S. Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.), the team will include eight to ten House members, and its meetings with the Religious Right will include the House leadership.

"We unequivocally gave these organizations our commitment to work on a long-term basis until these issues are won," said DeLay after the meeting. "Either with a new Congress or a new president, whatever we have to do, we are going to win these issues."

Gingrich later told reporters he, too, was satisfied with the outcome. "We were focused," he said. "We were practical. I thought it was the most positive meeting we've had with conservative activists."

However, according to The Washington Times, he predicted mixed success for the Religious Right's legislative measures this year. "I think some of them will pass," he said. "Some of them, quickly frankly, we will lose, but the Democrats who help beat them will have to face the challenge of going home this fall and having to defend their vote."

Religious Right leaders seemed pleased with the meeting's outcome, but they were restrained in their comments.

"I believe we're going to see action on some of these items," observed Dobson. "Only time will tell. It's easy to talk about things. It's tougher to get some action in Congress."

On an edition of CNN's "Evans & Novak" aired the next day, Dobson was cautious. "I'm still uneasy," he said, "but I'm hopeful. I'm a lot more hopeful than I was three, four weeks ago. There is movement. There's willingness to talk."

Asked if he would care if Republicans lost control of Congress, Dobson replied, I would care a lot about that. Because obviously the Democrats do not support the kind of things that I believe, and make no bones about that. So, you know, I do not want to see the Republicans lose. What I want them to do is pay attention to their base.

"If they won't do that," he continued, "then they ought to lose, as any party should, and let's start over."

Moderate Republicans and church-state separation advocates expressed concern about the Religious Right-GOP deal.

U.S. Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) told CNN CNN
 or Cable News Network

Subsidiary company of Turner Broadcasting Systems. It was created by Ted Turner in 1980 to present 24-hour live news broadcasts, using satellites to transmit reports from news bureaus around the world.
, "To have us jump every time Mr. Dobson speaks means that we'll become a very small party pretty quickly."

Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn Reverend Barry W. Lynn (born 1948 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) has been the Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State since 1992.[1]  observed, "Every American ought to be worried that TV preachers and fundamentalist politicos are setting our national agenda," he said in a press release. "Leaders in Congress have made a deal with the devil A deal with the Devil, pact with the Devil, or Faustian bargain is a cultural motif widespread wherever the Devil is vividly present, most familiar in the legend of Faust and the figure of Mephistopheles, but elemental to many Christian folktales. , and now they're having to give the devil his due."

Lynn said Americans United will fight any and all efforts in Congress to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state.

Meanwhile, Dobson is expanding his political crusade by personally endorsing select Republican candidates who share his Religious Right agenda. Recent beneficiaries include Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, who is seeking a congressional seat in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
, and Robert Dornan, who is attempting to regain his congressional seat in California.
COPYRIGHT 1998 Americans United for Separation of Church and State
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Capitol Hill, Religious Right's influence
Author:Conn, Joseph L.
Publication:Church & State
Date:Jun 1, 1998
Words:1371
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