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Lobbyist with a cause

"Lobbyist with a cause" Continued...

Issue: "Tour d'America," June 18, 2011

Duke is quick to say that he is not a political junkie. But Land, his boss, thinks that is a plus in a city where politicians are often idolized. "He is immune to the Beltway mentality," Land said. "Barrett Duke knows in his bone marrow that he is there to represent the Lord Jesus Christ and Southern Baptists, not himself. I never have to worry about him getting that confused."

Along the way, Duke has earned the real world equivalent of an advanced degree in public policy: The ideological divide in Washington means lawmakers have many different views on how to solve the world's problems. When Duke first arrived, he thought he could sit down with lawmakers and carry the day by the force of his convictions and arguments. After seven years he has learned that the real question many lawmakers ask is: How many votes do you represent?

"Movement here in D.C. is more a matter of pure political pressure than it is winning minds," Duke said.

That is why he devotes a bulk of his job to convincing the 16 million Southern Baptist voices he represents that they need to get louder. It is the same challenge he encountered as a Denver pastor. He credits the annual March For Life rally in Washington for pushing the House this year to pass several pro-life bills.

"If Bible-believing Christians would decide that what happens in Washington, D.C., matters," said Duke, "most of these issues would be resolved in a way that would bring honor to the Lord."

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee is WORLD's Washington Bureau chief. As a reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, he was embedded with a National Guard unit in Iraq. He also once worked in the press office of Sen. Lamar Alexander.

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