The Christian Coalition of Iowa is asking for a face-to-face meeting with Democrat Senator Tom Harkin. Steve Scheffler, president of the Christian Coalition of Iowa, says the group is upset that Harkin called religious conservatives like James Dobson “our home-grown Taliban.”
“We just want Senator Harkin to understand that there’s a lot of people in Iowa (who) are concerned about a pro-family agenda and they just want a place at the political table,” Scheffler says. “They would just encourage the senator not to use…name-calling or stereotyping of the traditional values that they stand for.” Scheffler says they want a private meeting with Harkin to talk about their concerns.
“We would just hope that he might lower his rhetoric level and maybe have a clearer understanding…of where a lot of us are on these issues,” Scheffler says. During an appearance on the Randi Rhoades Radio talk show, Harkin was discussing the fight over one of President Bush’s picks for a federal judgeship. Harkin said James Dobson, a Christian broadcaster, is part of a “home-grown Taliban” who has “a direct line to God and if you don’t tune to their line” Harkin said “you’re obviously on Satan’s line.”
Scheffler says Harkin’s statement was hurtful and heightens divisions in the country. A spokeswoman for Harkin says he “does regret the use of those words.” However, she went on to say Harkin also “regrets the divisive tactics used by Dr. Dobson and other ring wing leaders who consistently question the patriotism, faith and values of any who disagree with them on political matters.”
As for a face-to-face meeting with Christian Coalition members, Harkin is “always pleased to meet with Iowa Republicans” according to Harkin’s communications director.