The Arlington Group is a coalition which unites the leaders of prominent Christian conservative organizations in the United States. Founded in 2002 principally through the efforts of American Family Association President Donald Wildmon and Free Congress Foundation Chairman Paul Weyrich, the group seeks to establish consensus goals and strategy among its members and translate its combined constituency into an overwhelming force within the Republican Party, particularly at its highest levels. Its membership and purpose overlaps to a high degree with the Council for National Policy; but the group is much more narrowly focused, choosing to emphasize such issues as same-sex marriage, abortion, and confirmation of like-minded federal judges.
The group's success has been mixed. While widely acknowledged to have the ear of President George W. Bush and his chief political advisor Karl Rove, and while generally successful in its efforts to coordinate the Christian Right, it has also endured noteworthy embarrassments. In early 2005, it threatened to withhold support for the President's proposed Social Security reforms if Bush did not vigorously support a federal constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. This provoked a firestorm of unwelcome media attention, but failed to produce the group's desired result (despite the President's continuing support for both their specific and broader aims). And later, in October 2005, Arlington Group Chairman and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson became the center of a minor scandal after leaking assurances made by Rove to an Arlington Group conference call regarding the pro-life credentials of Supreme Court nominee and White House counsel Harriet Miers. Miers withdrew her nomination later that month, largely due to reservations among conservatives.
Despite these setbacks, the Arlington Group remains one of Washington's most powerful conservative groups, and the first effective combination of the major religious right organizations.
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 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".
Since each group's principal serves as its Arlington Group "member", but many of the groups are headed by a single principal (e.g., Focus on the Family and Focus on the Family Action are both headed by James Dobson), the site's list is somewhat confusing; and members are not required to disclose their participation. However, the following organizations and individuals have been identified as members as of 2006:
- Alliance Defense Fund - Alan Sears
- American Family Association - Donald Wildmon
- American Values - Gary Bauer
- Bott Radio Network - Richard Bott
- Center for Moral Clarity - Rod Parsley
- Citizens for Community Values - Phil Burress
- Coalition of African American Pastors - William Owens, Sr.
- ConservativeHQ.com - Richard Viguerie
- Coral Ridge Ministries and Center for Reclaiming America - D. James Kennedy
- Covenant Marriage Movement - Phil Waugh
- Exodus International - Alan Chambers
- Family Research Council and FRC Action - Tony Perkins
- 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 - Bishop Harry Jackson
- 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
- Tradition, Family, Property
- Traditional Values Coalition - Lou Sheldon
- Your Catholic Voice - Raymond Flynn
- Council for National Policy, a related group
- Conservatives Using Issue of Gay Unions As a Rallying Tool
- The Arlington Group - Members
- Coalition seeks to reframe GOP race | Leaders of secretive group interview 2008 candidates
- The Arlington Group - Members
- Arlington Group website
- "The Arlington Group", Paul Weyrich
- "The Money Behind the 2004 Marriage Amendments", Institute on Money in State Politics
- Backers of Gay Marriage Ban Use Social Security as Cudgel, The New York Times
- Religious Leaders Threaten Bush, The Washington Blade
- Did Christian conservatives receive assurances that Miers would oppose Roe v. Wade?, The Wall Street Journal
- ADL Urges Joint Effort Against Right