|The Arlington Group|
|Founded 2002 in Arlington, VA|
The Arlington Group was a conservative and religious political action coalition of twenty of the most significant political and evangelical leaders and organizations. It was founded in 2002 by Paul Weyrich, the Free Congress Foundation chairman, and Don Wildmon, executive director of the American Family Association, chaired by James Dobson. The group sought to establish consensus goals and strategy among its members and translate its combined constituency within the Republican Party into an force to be reckoned with in American politics.
The Arlington Group were widely credited with being the driving force behind the effort to put marriage protection amendments on the ballot in 11 states in the 2004 election, defending heavily for the traditional conception of marriage. The Arlington Group, along with Focus on the Family Action groups created by James Dobson for the 2004 elections, would raise funds and lobby for legislators who supported a ban on gay marriage.
2008 presidential election
Worried that the Christian conservative vote would splinter, the Arlington Group, in the run up to the 2008 presidential election, tried to agree on one candidate before the nominating contests began. In March 2007, The Boston Globe reported that the Arlington Group was interviewing candidates in hopes that its members could "coalesce around one candidate that prominent members such as James Dobson ... could endorse individually." “But there was no consensus,” says Steve Strang, CEO of Strang Communications, which publishes Charisma magazine. When the effort failed, individual religious leaders went their separate ways. Bauer endorsed John McCain, Dobson endorsed Huckabee, Weyrich endorsed Romney, and so on. Mike Huckabee told World that the Arlington Group "pretty much dissipated" after the 2008 election. "I think the Arlington Group splintered and split and many of them took issue with each other because they felt that they had failed to do what originally they had compacted to do, which was to early on interview candidates, pick a candidate, and then coalesce behind that one candidate and try to unite the strength and force that they could. They failed to do that," Huckabee said.
The organization's deliberations are strictly off-the-record, and membership was previously held confidential, but the group launched a website in July 2006 which lists its member organizations. In March 2007, The Arlington Group's home page was taken down. According to an article in The Boston Globe, it was "abruptly disabled earlier this month after the Globe began making inquiries."
Each group's principal serves as its Arlington Group "member," but many of the groups are headed by a single principal. For example, Focus on the Family and Focus on the Family Action are both headed by James Dobson. Although members are not required to disclose their participation, the following organizations and individuals have been identified as "members":
- Alliance Defense Fund - Alan Sears
- American Family Association - Donald Wildmon
- American Values - Gary Bauer
- Bott Radio Network - Richard Bott
- CatholicVote.Org - Raymond Flynn
- Center for Moral Clarity - Rod Parsley
- Citizens for Community Values - Phil Burress
- Coalition of African American Pastors - William Owens
- ConservativeHQ.com - Richard Viguerie
- Coral Ridge Ministries and the Center for Reclaiming America - D. James Kennedy
- Covenant Marriage Movement - Phil Waugh (evangelical Christian figure)
- Exodus International - Alan Chambers
- Family Research Council and FRC Action - Tony Perkins (evangelical Christian figure)
- Florida Family Policy Council - John Stemberger
- Fieldsted & Company - Howard Ahmanson, Jr.
- Focus on the Family and Focus on the Family Action - James Dobson
- Free Congress Foundation - Paul Weyrich
- High Impact Leadership Coalition - Harry Jackson (evangelical Christian figure)
- The Inspiration Television Network
- Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration and Vision America - Rick Scarborough
- Liberty Counsel - Mathew Staver
- Liberty University - Jerry Falwell
- National Association of Evangelicals - Leith Anderson
- Ohio Restoration Project - Russell Johnson
- Salem Communications - Stuart Epperson
- Southern Baptist Convention - Richard Land
- Susan B. Anthony List - Marjorie Dannenfelser
- Teen Mania Ministries - Ron Luce
- TeenPact - Tim Echols
- TheVanguard.org - Rod D. Martin
- American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property
- Traditional Values Coalition - Lou Sheldon
- Please note: There is no working website link available for The Arlington Group.
- Renew America, "The Arlington Group," by Paul Weyrich
- Right Wing Watch, "The Arlington Group"
- "The Money Behind the 2004 Marriage Amendments," by the Institute on Money in State Politics
- Utter, Glenn H., and James L. True (2004). Conservative Christians and Political Participation: A Reference Handbook, Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO
- Right Wing Watch, "The Arlington Group," accessed February 21, 2014
- Ryan, Michael, and Les Switzer (2009). God in the Corridors of Power, Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood Publishing Group
- Christianity Today, "Bauer gives peek inside the Arlington Group," accessed February 21, 2014
- Newsweek, "Christian Conservatives Can't Find a Candidate," accessed February 21, 2014
- Christianity Today, "Social Conservatives to Gather to Decide Which Candidate to Back," accessed February 21, 2014
- The Arlington Group, "Members," accessed February 21, 2014
- Boston.com, "Coalition seeks to reframe GOP race," accessed February 21, 2014