You've probably heard me gripe a time or two about the clout of the religious right over the Bush Administration. I just happened across some specific data on this point, published last fall, so I figured I'd pass it along.
4 Sep 2009 // Washington, D.C. - Newly disclosed Bush-era White House visitor records suggest leading conservative Christian leaders may have had a significant voice in President Bush’s administration, and many seem to have had the ear of the president himself. The White House produced these records in response to CREW’s request for the visitor records of nine individuals beginning in January 1, 2001. Only one record indicates a visit after October 4, 2006, the date of CREW’s request. The data is summarized below.
- For the period April 2001 through June 2006, Focus on the Family Founder and Chairman Emeritus James Dobson visited the White House 24 times; 10 of those visits were to President Bush.
- Andrea Lafferty, Executive Director of the Traditional Values Coalition, made an astonishing 50 visits to the White House starting on February 1, 2001, and continuing through March 16, 2008. Six of those visits were to President Bush.
- Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America, made 43 visits to the White House between May 2001 and August 2006. Four of those visits were to President Bush.
- Gary Bauer, President of American Values, made 10 visits to the White House, starting with a January 6, 2003 visit to Vice President Cheney and ending with a July 20, 2006 visit to President Bush.
- The late Jerry Falwell, of Jerry Falwell Ministries, made eight visits to the White House between May 2001 and September 2004. Three of those visits were to President Bush.
- Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council, visited the White House 14 times between February 2001 and June 2006, including two visits to President Bush.
- Louis Sheldon, Chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, made 19 visits to the White House between March 2001 and September 2006, including two visits to President Bush.
- The late Paul Weyrich, the Founder of Free Congress foundation, made 17 visits to the White House between May 2001 and July 2005, including six visits to President Bush and one to Karl Rove.
- Donald Wildmon, Founder of the American Family Association, made three visits to the White House between July 2001 and March 2003, including one visit to President Bush.
The reason I happened across this post is that, as you may or may not have heard, recently …
… the Secular Coalition of America – an advocacy group made up of atheists, agnostics and humanists – had a chance to meet with members of the Obama Administration.
The meeting on Friday reportedly marked the first time American non-believers have ever met with White House officials, and it really struck a nerve with the Religious Right.
… which amused Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and prompted them to remind people of the CREW study.
(h/t: Steve Benen)
[Added] Here is a picture of that godless meeting:
Oh, no, wait. That was some other outrage.