One might think that conservative Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, would be a darling of the religious right. Not according to the Christian Action Network.
That private lobbying group based in Virginia puts Hatch atop its "Hall of Shame" and has made him a target in its new "Restore America Home Lobbyist Kit," which it sells for $36.50."We wanted to target people who didn't live up to what we felt people's expectations were," said Christian Action Network spokes-man Tom Kilgannon.
As part of the lobbying kit it sells, the group prepared a report card on members of Congress - including the Hall of Shame topped by Hatch. Other materials include tips on lobbying and letter-writing and cassettes such as "Secrets of the Feminist Movement" and "Secrets of the Homosexual Movement."
Kilgannon said, "We especially don't like Hatch's support of the National Endowment of the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts . . . and he essentially pushed through the hate-crime bill . . . and he helped lead the fight for AIDS funding with (Sen.) Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.)."
The Christian Action Network has helped lead fights against the arts groups, opposing use of tax money for what it says is pornographic or offensive work. And it says bills to track hate crimes and fund AIDS work helps promote pro-homosexual agendas.
Hatch said he feels the attacks by the group are misguided.
"This group is probably quite sincere, but they haven't taken a close enough look at the problems created by AIDS," he said.
"Senator Kennedy and I combined to do something on AIDS research, to find solutions to end this epidemic - work I think will save the country from this killer disease and in the long run save the taxpayers billions of dollars," Hatch said.
On funding for the arts agencies, Hatch said, "I've certainly backed most of the arts program in Utah, but at the same time I've worked hard in a conservative, reasonable fashion to clean up the National Endowment for the Arts."
Kilgannon disagreed. He noted Hatch voted not to cut funding for the groups after controversy arose when groups such as the Christian Action Network showed members of Congress what they felt was obscene art funded by them at taxpayer expense.
"After seeing them and how offensive they are, I don't know how someone could oppose cutting NEA funding," Kilgannon said. "But Orrin Hatch has been one of the NEA's biggest supporters."
He also complained that Hatch supported somewhat controversial people whom President Clinton appointed to head the agencies.
Only two other Republicans made the group's Hall of Shame. One was House Republican Whip Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., who upset the group by opposing a measure to maintain a ban on homosexuals in the military.
The other was Sen. John Warner, R-Va., for his failure to support some Virginian Republican nominees, including former lieutenant governor candidate Mike Farris - an advocate for home schooling - and Senate nominee Oliver North, once convicted of lying to Congress about the Iran-Contra affair.