Off The Record: On Religion, Politics & Equality
Here is what is in the hopper for this next week:
My interview with Reverend Welton Gaddy, President of the Interfaith Alliance and staunch opponent of faith-based funding. I spoke with Rev. Gaddy regarding my recent article on the Iowa Family Policy Center receiving $3 million in federal funds. Our conversation wandered beyond any issues of potential impropriety in that specific case to the larger need to dismantle the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Here is just a small piece of our chat:
Reverend Gaddy in response to my frustration over the lack of transparency and rigmarole of tracing faith-based grants:
“You have stepped into a situation where you thought it was a puddle and it turned out to be an ocean.“
Amen to that. This interview will be part of my forthcoming article for Religion Dispatches.
Continuing follow-up on H.R. 911, Brother Jack Patterson and my meeting with Senate HELP committee members to talk about scheduling a hearing this legislative session. The Petition is up to 148 signatures – keep them coming.
Tonight for those of you in Iowa, Jason Hancock of the Iowa Independent and I will be doing a radio interview tonight on The Fallon Forum on 98.3 WOW FM about the federal grants to the Iowa Family Policy Center.
Des Moines Register columnist, Rehka Basu wrote a great Op-Ed today on the Iowa Family Policy Center. Here is one of my favorite bits:
“[IFPC] Center officials announced this week they’ll forgo the final year of funding. “I’ve got to ask myself, is it government’s inherent purpose to hire a guy to help people’s marriages?” says Hartwig. So what changed? “The organization has grown up,” said spokesman Bryan English. He said the decision was made at a board meeting in September, but just hadn’t been announced yet. Hartwig says Marriage Matters has mentored 1,635 couple the past year. Hartwig, whose Ph.D. is in education from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, trains trainers. “It’s not rocket science,” he said. “I could pull out a manual and spend four to five hours with you, and you could do it.” He said the program is required to be evaluated by an outside organization.”