NYS’s ‘Christian lobbyist’ celebrates 25 years

The Rev. Duane Motley is billed as “New York state’s only full time Christian lobbyist.â€?

What that means is that he’s the only full-time lobbyist for conservative evangelical Christian positions on the issues of the day.

He is the lobbyist for “New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms,”:http://www.nycf.info/default.asp a small Albany agency that, one could say, represents the “religious right” in a part of the country where the religious right has relatively little influence.

duane.jpgMotley (that’s him) is now celebrating the 25th anniversary of his ministry. Last week, the first of four banquets in his honor was held in Painted Post, N.Y., which is west of Binghamton. The other banquets will be in Buffalo, Rochester and Albany.

Nothing in New York City or the Lower Hudson Valley, where support for NYCF is probably not all that great.

What does NYCF concern itself with?

Last week’s email alert focused on Gov. Spitzer’s super-controversial (and since updated) plan to offer driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. “The Governor is ‘digging in his heels’ on this issue and plans to give driver’s licenses to illegal aliens despite intense opposition,” the alert warns.

NYCF’s most recent newsletter focuses a great deal on Spitzer’s “Troopergate” problems and is sprinkled with concerns about same-sex marriage.

The back page is particularly interesting, including a “public school opt-out form.”

The form is for parents to review, sign and give to their children’s schools. It says that their children should be excused from any presentations that cover:

Sex or family life education; AIDS or HIV education; the acquiring or use of birth control drugs or devices; abortion; infanticide; euthanasia or suicide; death education in any form; programs regarding death; homosexuality; bestiality; sadism, masochism or other sexual perversions; showing of R, NC-17 or X rated (pornographic) films; meditation, yoga, trances, guided imagery, or the conjuring of spirit guides and/or “imaginary friends;” witchcraft in any form; any counseling, group or individual, other than behavior modification programs, except as recommended by the student’s personal physician and approved by us, or the use of questionnaires, role playing, or other strategies to question, expose, or criticize any private, religious or moral value of the above named pupil or members of his/her family; “values clarification,” decision making,” or global education dealing with the aforementioned subjects.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.