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6 Right-Wing Sports Team Owners Bankrolling Their Radical Agenda With Your Tax Dollars

Professional sports team owners are among the wealthiest people in the world--and some of the most influential right-wing ideologues in the country.

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This doesn't include his $5 million 2004 contribution to the  Progress for America Voter Fund, a conservative 527 group that funnels money into Republican campaigns.  According to the Center for Media and Democracy's  SourceWatch, Spanos was a Bush Ranger in 2004, meaning he contributed more than $200,000 directly to his and Cheney's re-election campaign.

In the 2000 presidential election, the  New York Times counted Spanos as part of the Republican Regents, a group of individual and corporate donors who contributed no less than $250,000 to Bush's election.

According to  California Watch, a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting, Spanos also contributed $15,000 to Rick Perry’s 2008 reelection bid for Texas Governor. 

6. Charlie Monfort: Pitching for Jesus

Charlie Monfort owns the Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball team, which he was able to purchase with the fortune he inherited from his father’s slaughterhouse business in Greeley, Colorado. According to Dave Zirin, Monfort is also a supporter of several right-wing politicians, including:

…former Colorado representative Tom Tancredo (who once suggested the bombing of Mecca as a sound foreign policy alternative and lambasted the Denver Public Library system for supplying books and Magazines written in Spanish) and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, who has been a stalwart opponent of “the gay agenda” and its connection to bestiality—specifically, in Santorum’s words, the rise of “man-dog love.”

In addition to being a diehard Republican, Monfort has injected his religious beliefs into every aspect of the Colorodo Rockies franchise. In 2006, Monfort went public with his team's Christian strategy in  USA Today, admitting to the world that the Rockies embrace a "Christian-based code of conduct" by recruiting players that have "character." Monfort defined "character" in the following words: "I don't want to offend anyone, but I think character-wise we're stronger than anyone in baseball. Christians, and what they've endured, are some of the strongest people in baseball. I believe God sends signs, and we're seeing those."

Monfort also uses his publicly funded stadium as a platform to push his evangelical Christian agenda in the form of "Faith Days" (originally called "Christian Family Day"). The Rockies “ Faith Day 2011” is described on the team’s Web site as “a great opportunity for Colorado churches and Christians from all over the state to come together and worship at the ballpark!”

According to the  New York Times, Faith Nights, introduced by the Christian Marketing organization Third Coast Sports, provide fans who pay an extra $10 with a Christian rock concert either before or after games, followed by testimonials from players about their faith in Jesus Christ.

Third Coast Sports is sponsored by a handful of Christian groups, including the fundamentalist Christian organization Focus on the Family. According to the  Washington Post, the Atlanta Braves disinvited Focus on the Family from Faith Nights in 2008, "because it had used the occasion to distribute literature comparing homosexuality to alcoholism."

Sports columnist Michael O'Keefe argues in the  New York Daily News that sports are supposed to be inclusive of people from different backgrounds, but with owners like Monfort in charge, "sports are used to promote their brand of conservative politics and fundamentalist Christianity -- gays, Jews, Muslims and atheists be damned."

Rania Khalek is a progressive activist. Check out her blog  Missing Pieces  or follow her on Twitter  @RaniaKhalek. You can contact her at  raniakhalek@gmail.com.

 
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