Lynda Waddington of the Iowa Independent broke the story last week that The Truth Project was going to be shown at the Iowa State House for anyone who would like to attend (legislators, staff, people in the building, etc.). She wrote:
In an e-mail to supporters allegedly on behalf of Republican state Sen. Nancy Boettger of Harlan, Iowa Family Policy Center’s action arm announced that Senate Room 24 in the Iowa Capitol was reserved at 10 a.m. Monday, and at that same time for the remainder of the legislative session, for a showing of “The Truth Project.”
“The Truth Project” is a set of 12 DVD lessons, each one-hour in length, presented by Dr. Del Tackett and marketed by Focus on the Family. According to the project’s Web site, the series was a response to a study that indicated only about 9 percent of professing Christians have a “Biblical worldview.” The series, which is divided by topic, aims to retrain Christians on how to develop such a worldview and further inject the belief into the public sphere. Although the series has won acclaim in religious circles, it has also drawn a wealth of criticism, both for its focus on debunked scientific theories and for alleged misrepresentations of Christian doctrine.
What I find amazing is that in this “balanced” piece she goes on to interview Connie Ryan Terrell who is the executive director of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa (uniting “progressive voices of faith”, conservative need not apply). She then quotes Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Then she interviewed Michael Ireland and Scott Fedler of Iowa Secularists.
Not a single quote or interview with somebody from the Iowa Family Policy Center or Focus on the Family or even one of the legislators involved – amazing. Mind you Iowa Independent is an organization that considers itself to be a news outlet, it is a Center for Independent Media site. Wouldn’t that mean you present both sides? Just saying. It seems, however, that when Lynda Waddington writes she promotes a liberal or secular position. That’s fine for an op/ed piece, but not if this is supposed to be news.
She rehashed this story again today, talking about a perk that Legislators enjoy, reserving rooms for private use. Of course it is only the Christian ones who take advantage of it evidently because that is what she focused on.
One perk enjoyed by state lawmakers is the ability to reserve private meeting rooms in the Capitol — also used for official legislative business — for personal use. The privilege is a long-held legislative tradition.
But despite the fact that the Capitol space is taxpayer funded and public servants are often in attendance, there is little to no transparency or public oversight surrounding who is using the rooms and for what.
Then she references The Truth Project screening and also mentions Bible studies and prayer meetings. To be fair she did also give an example of retirement parties as well. She then interviewed J.H. Snider of iSolon (never heard of before) who expressed concern about the practice. iSolon’s is according to it’s website, “a policy institute committed to exploring and advancing opportunities for democratic reform brought about by new information technologies.” Why he is the go to guy to discuss room reservations is beyond me.
She did receive an email back from Michael Marshall who is secretary of the Iowa Senate. She tried to reach both Democratic and Republican leadership who, good for them, didn’t respond to her request for comment. They recognize this story for what it is – a nothingburger. She then gets Kathleen Richardson of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council who of course is sympathetic to this story. She talked Charlie Smithson of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board said that they really don’t get involved in these events (maybe because it really isn’t a problem). Then she talked to John Wonderlich of the Sunlight Foundation who at least could see both sides. Then of course she tops it off with an “anonymous” source.
Again no quotes from Iowa Family Policy Center, from any of the legislators involved, or other Christian groups who have held events at the State House like Concerned Women of America.
I just wonder if this was a Union or Pro-Gay Marriage group, doing the same thing for Democratic legislators, if she would have taken the time to write the story? Somehow I doubt it. Liberal bias masquerading as news once again.