Religious groups engaged in lobbying in Washington have increased dramatically since 1970 when less than 40 groups maintained operations in the nation’s capital. Today, there are some 200 religious groups employing over 1,000 people and spending $390 million a year, a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life reports.

Roman Catholics are first among the lobbyists, making up 19 percent of the religious advocacy groups. Following them are evangelical Protestants at 18 percent, Jewish groups at 12 percent, and mainline Protestants at 8 percent.

“But many smaller U.S. religious groups, including Baha’is, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs, also have established advocacy organizations in the Washington area,” the report noted. “In fact, the number of Muslim groups (17) is about the same as the number of mainline Protestant groups (16). And the largest category today is interreligious: One-quarter of the groups studied (54) either represent multiple faiths or advocate on religious issues without representing a specific religion.”

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