IFAS | Freedom Writer | January/February 1997 | amway.html

Amway and LifeLine

While funds from numerous corporations pump millions into the religious right, two distinctly different corporations stand out. They are the Amway Corporation, and LifeLine Long Distance.

It is well-known that Rich DeVos, head of Amway, and a member of the secretive Council for National Policy (CNP), funnels millions of dollars into religious right causes.

Besides DeVos, a number of Amway distributors are also heavily involved with the religious right. For example, Woody Jenkins, who barely lost his bid for U.S. Senate from Louisiana, is a fellow CNP member and long-time Amway distributor. Significant among Amway religious right donors is millionaire Dexter Yeager, an Amway products distributor. Every month, Yeager gives a whopping $100,000 to the Rev. Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

LifeLine Long Distance, launched in 1991, is one of the fastest growing long-distance providers in the U.S. Just three years ago the company had signed up 11,000 people for its long distance services. Today, the company has topped one million customers found through conservative Christian groups.

LifeLine helps support an incredible 35,000 Christian organizations. Each month it distributes about $1.5 million among these groups. Its goal, according to the group's co-founder, Tracy Freeny, "is to put $84 million a year into the Kingdom by 1998," meaning, of course, conservative Christian causes.

To sign up new customers, LifeLine networks with conservative Christian organizations, promising to give the groups 10% of the billing that comes through the group's members. So, virtually every religious right group pushes LifeLine through literature sent to its supporters.

LifeLine's main sales pitch focuses on abortion and intolerance for gays and lesbians, claiming that the major long-distance carriers pour money into the gay rights movement and Planned Parenthood.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.