How much money can the Unholy Alliance bring to bear on campaigns? In California, reports have estimated that as much as half of the $42 million spent to support Prop 8 came from organized religion, or from individuals inspired by appeals from conservative church leaders.
In Maine, the Unholy Alliance and its members gave $2.7 million of the total $3.1 million in cash and in-kind donations generated by Stand for Marriage Maine, according to official campaign-spending reports on file with the state. (As far as organizations go, the National Organization for Marriage, which has been linked to the Mormon Church, gave $2 million; the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland gave another $570,000, including more than $250,000 from dioceses elsewhere in the country. The national Knights of Columbus Catholic service organization gave $50,000. And the evangelical-supported Focus on the Family gave another $120,000.)
But that's not even close to their fundraising capacity. "It's unlimited. It's as big as they want it to be," says Fred Karger, an activist seeking to expose the exact amounts religiously motivated donors have contributed to banning gay marriage. Donations can often be channeled through churches to make them tax-deductible, Karger observes.
And some donors have effectively unlimited resources. Naming vastly wealthy evangelicals Howard Ahmanson Jr. and John Templeton Jr., Karger says they would write checks for any amount, as long as their names were not connected to the funds.
For them — and for everyone — Karger jokes, " 'Give us all your worldly goods or eternity is in jeopardy' is a very effective fundraising tool."
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