This is going to be my last post on the upcoming 7th Annual Governor’s Conference for LGBTQ Youth put on by Iowa Safe Schools because nothing’s going to change since all parties involved are being tone deaf.

Bob Vander Plaats:  I commended his open letter to Governor Branstad on Tuesday because of its tone and the fact they were willing to be a resource and help offer a solution.  Then when they didn’t get the response they wanted (Jeff Boeyink, Branstad’s Chief of Staff had a less than favorable response – more on that in a bit) they sent out another email blast.

If this is Governor Branstad’s only response, we are both disappointed and sad to learn that the Governor has again side-stepped the issue of his support for the conference in order to criticize The FAMiLY LEADER and our conservative values.  We were also hoping to hear of the Governor’s response whether or not to partner with us for a comprehensive anti-bullying conference.

Chuck Hurley commented, “According to the Bible and plain common sense, there are few things more important than teaching our children.  I would say to Mr. Boeyink, ‘Are you kidding?  You don’t think protecting our kids from potential harm is a serious issue?'”

Danny Carroll, a lobbyist for The FAMiLY LEADER, added, “Whenever someone is held accountable, one of the first things they do is attack the messenger regardless of the message.”

It’s irrelevant whether or not Branstad or his administration likes me, The FAMiLY LEADER, or our unwaivering dedication to pro-family issues.  It is  painfully relevant that the Governor of Iowa has chosen to stand behind a conference that is against God’s design for the family and promotes promiscuity among our teens by handing out condoms and “safe” s*x kits, provides transgender open restrooms, and advances the homose*ual agenda to children in Iowa.

Regardless of personalities or organizations, is Governor Branstad going to validate and affirm a radical agenda or is he going to stand up for God’s design for the family?  We’re waiting to hear.

This email makes it seem like the this exchange is really more about them than it is the issue at hand.  Especially when it is likely the Governor wanted to handle the issue quietly, but they blew that out of the water by their initial email.  They should have waited until he actually did it and the news was out before commenting.  Anyway, Tuesday’s open letter should have been they’re first response.  Had they responded that way rather than the first presser they sent out I think they would have built a lot more good will, and the follow-up just messed that up.  Boeyink criticized you?  Ignore it.

Jeff Boeyink:  What are you thinking?  Here’s what The Des Moines Register quoted him yesterday:

“It is hard these days to take anything seriously that comes from Bob Vander Plaats or the Family Leader,” Jeff Boeyink, Branstad’s chief of staff said today. “It is sad and attention-seeking, and does nothing to move our state forward.”

How does this help?  Forward how?  If this is moving our state forward, then no thank you.  The fact is Jeff the Governor hasn’t been taking conservatives very seriously from day one.  You guys seem to be living in a moderate/establishment echo chamber over there in the Statehouse.  I’ll be the first to say that The FAMiLY Leader didn’t handle this appropriately, but that doesn’t mean their concern is invalid.

When you say it’s hard to take anything seriously from Bob Vander Plaats or The FAMiLY Leader it’s like saying it’s hard to take seriously those who support them.  That might make liberals applaud, but it’s won’t help the political future of anyone tied to Branstad.  They hate you regardless of what you do.  Also if it’s true that in private that the administration was willing to distance itself from the conference privately, but then switched positions when it became public there’s a word for that – cowardice.  Sure The FAMiLY Leader sent out an email.  They aren’t the ones who leaked the original story.  It seems to me like you’re more concerned about political games and pissing contests than you are listening to your base and finding some middle ground.

One Iowa’s Outgoing Executive Director Troy Price: The Register quoted him saying:

It is unfortunate that Bob Vander Plaats is continuing his mean-spirited, bullying campaign.  What message does it send that a man who is supposed to be the leader of the social conservatives in this state continues to pick on Iowa kids who are so often bullied and harassed in schools.  Vander Plaats and the Family Leader should be ashamed of themselves.  Adults picking on kids goes against the very Iowa values of protecting our children that Iowans hold dear.  The bottom line is that this is a desperate attempt by Vander Plaats to stay relevant.  However, the more he attacks, the more Iowans are starting to see the Family Leader for what it is – a pack of bullies.

Having read every email that Vander Plaats sent out I fail to see where he is picking on kids, but rather attacking an agenda which has nothing to do with the kids.  That is a gross mischaracterization.  Tell you what Mr. Price, you’re into fairness right?  So this is what I suggest… let’s have a Governor’s Conference on Fat Kids and a Governor’s Conference on Kids with Acne, a Governor’s Conference on Kids Who Are Short, and a Governor’s Conference on Socially Awkward Kids… I could go on.  Ridiculous?  So is having is having the Governor’s name attached to a conference that has more to do with advancing the homosexual rights agenda than it does ending bullying.  I’m not denying LBGTQ kids get bullied, but they are not even close to being in the majority when it comes to victim status.

We should be able to find middle ground on having a all encompassing conference on bullying and only bullying.  So no sex ed (abstinence only or other wise), no diversity training, no special issues related to one particular type of young person.  Let’s just discuss the problem of bullying and give kids and teachers tools on how to deal with it.  It’s wrong and it needs to stop.  Period.

I’m not going to hold my breath that this will actually happen though.

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