Sunday, November 01, 2009

Friendship Not Conspiracy

Last month I wrote some about the fundamentalist Christian home schoolers I knew.

The day after that essay, the news contained a pair of articles that provide a great example: first, an article about network television promoting the "I Participate" project; second, an article describing the secular slant of that project.

(Curious, I searched for local volunteer opportunities near my own zip code at and As alleged, neither suggests any of the multiple opportunities to help veterans within 10 miles of my zip code. But I did not see other "liberal" bias.)

I know of no comprehensive online database of local volunteer opportunities. It is commendable that an organization is trying to create one.

I also know what I would do if I were assigned the task of creating one. I would start with a web search and the phone book but those ideas would soon be used up, so I would change to asking those I spoke with at non-profits what others they have heard about.

Thus I'm not surprised at all to learn of a feedback loop of idealogical slant. As an example, in Eugene and Springfield there are both liberal and conservative groups who give food to the hungry and I know from having talked to them that they are much more familiar with others of their kind.

So I do not agree with those news articles that there is any evidence the "I Participate" project is deliberately trying to promote secular values. Rather, I expect its database is still quite incomplete and more the result of relationships than research.

But do you catch how this would be perceived by someone taught to see a "political America" in which secular and religious folk battle to define the priorities of a "secular America"?

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