James Dobson ranks No. 2. (Blame Pat Robertson.)
The top power brokers are indexed, along with much longer versions of the following profiles for each:
1. Christian Broadcasting Network (Pat Robertson, 2004 Revenue: $186,482,060)
Over the years, the failed presidential candidate has often dallied with brutal dictators. He celebrated Guatemala’s Pentecostal strongman Efrain Rios Montt, lauded Frederick Chiluba of Zambia as a model for American politicians, hunted for gold with Liberia’s Charles Taylor and did business with Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire. (He was caught using relief airplanes owned by his charity, Operation Blessing, to ferry diamond-mining equipment in and out of Zaire.)
2. Focus on the Family (James Dobson, 2005 Revenue: $137,848,520)
Although he poses as an avuncular family counselor, Dobson and his empire spread Religious Right propaganda and extreme rhetoric. In a 1996 radio address, he attacked the concept of tolerance, calling it “kind of a watchword of those who reject the concepts of right and wrong….It’s kind of a desensitization to evil of all varieties.” Two years before that, an FOF magazine attacked the Girl Scouts for being agents of “humanism and radical feminism.”
More recently, Dobson lashed out at a pro-tolerance video produced for public schools that featured popular cartoon characters, among them SpongeBob SquarePants, because the group that produced it put a “tolerance pledge” on its Web site that included gays.
Dobson has promoted right-wing politics for a long time, but in 2004 he took the step of forming a more overtly political arm, Focus on the Family Action, and began personally endorsing candidates for public office. According to information on the FOF Action Web site, the group collected just under $25 million in 2005.
Figures such as these give Dobson major political clout. He regularly threatens Republicans with retaliation if they do not do his bidding and claims credit for knocking U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) out of the Senate in 2004.
3. Coral Ridge Ministries (D. James Kennedy, 2005 Revenue: $39,253,882)
Kennedy is a big promoter of the “Christian nation” view of American history. Every year, his Center for Reclaiming America for Christ, hosts a major Religious Right conference in Fort Lauderdale. The event attracts a mix of activists and politicians. In 2006, Arkansas Gov. (and 2008 presidential hopeful) Mike Huckabee spoke.
In 1995, Kennedy decided he wanted a presence in Washington and opened the Center for Christian Statesmanship. The Center hosts regular events for Capitol Hill staffers to instruct them in the proper “biblical worldview” and works closely with far-right GOP lawmakers.
4. Alliance Defense Fund (Alan Sears, 2004 Revenue: $17,921,146)
The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) was founded in 1993 by a coalition of 30 Religious Right leaders, among them James Dobson, D. James Kennedy, Donald Wildmon and the late Marlin Maddoux and Bill Bright. The original idea was to create a funding pool that would subsidize the Religious Right’s courtroom activity, and as its Web site proclaims, “reclaim the legal system for Jesus Christ.” ADF head Alan Sears served under Reagan-era Attorney General Edwin Meese, leading the Meese Commission on Pornography.
While the ADF still supports lawsuits spearheaded by other groups, it has begun directly litigating in court as well. The organization also sends intimidating letters to government officials and public schools, containing thinly veiled threats to sue unless ADF demands are met. Last year, the group launched a campaign to derail the alleged “war on Christmas” and bragged that it had 800 attorneys standing by. (In the end, only one lawsuit was filed.)
5. American Family Association / AgapePress (Donald Wildmon, 2005 Revenue: $17,595,352)
Wildmon, 68, has flirted with anti-Semitism, suggesting that Jews control the entertainment industry. The AFA’s Journal has also reprinted articles from The Spotlight, an anti-Semitic newspaper. In December, Wildmon said evangelicals may stop supporting Israel if Jewish leaders don’t stop criticizing the Religious Right.
6. American Center for Law and Justice (Pat Robertson/Jay Sekulow, 2005 Revenue: $14,485,514)
7. Family Research Council (James Dobson/Tony Perkins, 2005 Revenue: $9,958,115)
8. Jerry Falwell Ministries (Jerry Falwell, 2005 Revenue: $8,950,480)
9. Concerned Women for America (Tim and Beverly LaHaye, 2005 Revenue: $8,484,108)
10. Traditional Values Coalition (Louis P. Sheldon, 2005 Revenue: $6,389,448)
Visit Americans United for Separation of Church and State for more details about all 10 organizations.