Much of the policy analysis that is used in policy making today comes from interest groups that are strongly committed to one side of the issue or another or from think tanks that espouse a particular ideology on the left or the right.
Do you think these policy commitments make the quality of the analysis suspect? Why or why not?
The policy commitments do make the quality of the analysis suspect. The quality of the policy making process vary remarkably. In one instance, the quality may be high while in another, the policy developers can overlook fundamental issues or processes. It is worth noting that analysis occurs in think tanks and interest groups pushing for the specific policy issues. The interest groups and think tanks may fail to conduct a thorough analysis of the issues in the proposed policies. Another critical issue to note is that the purpose and objectivity of policy development could be different from what people expect (Kraft & Furlong, 2015). It is not entirely impossible for the interest groups and think tanks to push or lobby for a particular public policy that promotes their interests or that of particular groups.
It is important to be aware that during policy analysis and development, there could be certain inherent issues that are overlooked. For instance, the interest groups and think tanks may make wide assumptions about a proposed policy. These assumptions could be wrong, thus making the quality of the analysis wrong. There is also the possibility of using wrong methods in evaluating the quality of the proposed policy. Applying the wrong methods could erode the quality of the process and thus making the quality of the analysis suspect. Individuals at different levels of the policymaking process should be alert to ensure that policy development is sound. Engagement in the policy development process and a good understanding of the contemporary issues affecting individuals can help in the development of sound policies.
Does the influence of interest groups and or think tanks drive cynicism about the legal and policy process? If so, has cynicism lead to individuals including leadership of organizations to not participate in the process? Is this a bad thing?
Finally, what does the Bible say our responsibility is with respect to participation in the policy and or political process?
The influence of interest groups and/or think tanks can drive cynicism about the legal and policy process. One way these groups can drive cynicism is through overburdening the policymaking process with numerous push for new policy or with evidence concerning a particular policy (Holman & Luneburg, 2012). Interest groups and think tanks are vulnerable to accountability problems and corruption. As such, it is possible to influence them in one way or another. The power to influence interest groups or think tanks means that organizations can control them to champion for their own interests. This creates a form of distrust towards the interest groups and think tanks. Further, interest groups may be selective in championing for the interests of the public. For instance, they may opt to champion those policies that create high publicity for their own gain.
Leadership of organizations may not participate in the legal and policy process. Instead, the legal and policy process are the preserve of the interest groups and think tanks. The interest groups and think tanks have immense wealth, access to information, political contacts, and well-planned lobbying operations that they can use to their advantage. In addition, it is worth noting that majority of the interest group members play a small or are passive members. Only a few members in the interest groups’ upper hierarchy actively participate in bringing change. Although the leadership may not participate directly, it may still influence the process through providing funds. This is not a bad thing considering that fact that the organization’s image may be affected when the top management engages in some actions.
The Bible asserts that Christians should participate fully in the political process. According to the Scriptures, politics is about making decisions about how resources are shared. As such, it would be risky to leave such a critical task to the nonbelievers who may be led by greed. The Bible calls upon citizenship in the nation. Luke 20:25 says “Then give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ This indicates that politics and servanthood are two distinct processes, yet none is wrong. The Bible calls upon all Christians to pray for leaders or those in high positions that they may bring peace. This is in 1st Timothy 2:1-2. The Bible encourages leaders to adopt ideals that promote peace and prosperity among individuals.
The Scriptures encourage individuals to obey the leadership. Christians should live as law-abiding citizens. They should preserve order in the society and promote the welfare of every member. 1st Peter 2: 13-14 says, ““For the Lord’s sake accept the authority of every human institution, whether of the emperor as supreme, or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right.” The Bible asserts that one of the key roles of the governing authority is to ensure that Christians have personal as well as religious freedoms. This is well captured in Galatians 5:1, which says, “As servants of God, live as free people…”
Holman, C., & Luneburg, W. (2012). Lobbying and transparency: A comparative analysis of regulatory reform. Interest Groups & Advocacy, 1(1), 75-104. doi:10.1057/iga.2012.4