Press Conference re. Governor's Conference on LGBTQ YouthThe FAMiLY Leader held a press conference after the Iowa Prayer Breakfast with various pastors from around the state joined by several state legislators. They were speaking out against the use of taxpayer funds for the Iowa Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth organized by Iowa Safe Schools to be held on April 3rd at the Prairie Meadows Casino Conference Center in Altoona, IA on April 3rd.

Those in attendance were dissatisfied with not only the usage of taxpayer funds for a conference that includes topics and workshops demeaning to the Christian faith, conservative personalities or contain objectionable material. Many of the speakers exhorted Iowa Governor Terry Branstad to disallow the use of his title for the conference as well.

The specific workshops mentioned that are listed and described on the conference website are:

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Right Wing?

Matt Sinovic, Executive Director, Progress Iowa

Learn messages and methods to fight back against propaganda from the extreme right wing, from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh to Bob Vander Plaats and Jan Mickelson. Discover resources to get the most up-to-date information available and work toward a more progressive Iowa.

For the Bible Tells Me So

Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate? Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families—including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson—we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO offers healing, clarity, and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity. Participants will watch the full documentary and following discuss their viewpoint, emotions, and other thoughts.

Exploring the Intersections Between Bisexual and Transgender Identities and Organizing

Bisexual Organizing Project

This workshop will invite participants to actively engage with the edges of intersections between transgender and bisexual identities and organizing. The presenters will offer some working definitions of the terminology used but this is not a 101 workshop and participants are expected to have some knowledge/experience of transgender and bisexual identities and communities. The objective of this workshop is to offer a safe place in which to address the topics described earlier and to create an opportunity to build our capacity for more inclusive transgender and bisexual communities.

Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) was targeted due to their diversity commission sponsorship of the conference using taxpayer and tuition money. Fifteen legislators signed a statement threatening to halt DMACC’s funding if they will not revoke their sponsorship of the conference which is deemed to be about the advancement of the LGBT lifestyle, not protecting kids.

The statement reads:

Based on our desire and commitment to be faithful stewards of our tax dollars, we cannot in good conscience vote to give taxpayer dollars to people or to groups who pervert the Bible, teach our youth to engage in dangerous behavior, and target individuals like Jan Mickelson for hatred and bullying.

We have proof that the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Diversity Commission is using tuition and taxpayer monies to sponsor the Governor’s LGBTQ Youth Conference, as a result of information obtained by the DMACC Young Americans for Freedom chapter, through a Freedom of information Act (FOIA) request.

Therefore, we Representatives of the people of Iowa, will vote against appropriations for DMACC unless they withhold taxpayers’ dollars from the Governor’s LGBTQ Youth Conference.

The legislators who signed: State Senators David Johnson, Dennis Guth, Mark Segebart, Mark Chelgren, Bill Anderson, Kent Sorenson and Rick Bertrand, as well as, State Representatives Dwayne Alons, Tom Shaw, Larry Sheets, Greg Heartsill, Jason Schultz, Dean Fisher, Sandy Salmon, Rob Bacon and Ralph Watts.

You can watch the video from the press conference below:

Part I included speakers: Chuck Hurley from The FAMiLY Leader, Pastor Matt Floyd of Calvary Bible Church in Osceola, Pastor Kerry Jech of New Hope Christian Church in Marshalltown and Pastor Brad Cranston of Heritage Baptist Church in Burlington.

Part 2 includes remarks from Tamara Scott of Concerned Women of America, Jake Dagel of the DMACC chapter of Young Americans for Freedom and State Senator Dennis Guth.

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  1. Why are tax dollars going to the DMACC Dropouts anyway? It’s not a real college, and it just breeds Democrat voters.

    1. As a proud DMACC graduate, current Simpson College honors student, and future educator, I can tell you that your comment is as incorrect as it is rude. Also, you’ve misused a noun an adjective. Proofread your work before you insult the educational background of others.

  2. So Shane, you’re okay with Chuck “makes me want to” Hurley calling gays and lesbians “evil?” You identify with the “right wing” and feel the need to demand a heckler’s veto on the use of tax funds for an anti-bullying conference? You really mean to contend that promoting prejudice against LGBT people, and denying them equal protection under the law, are central to christian doctrine?
    Something tells me you guys are closer to being like the money-changers in the Temple than you are to emulating the example of Jesus…

    1. I don’t recall interjecting my opinion of Chuck’s comments or of what they are trying to do. I never called anybody “evil,” I may label behavior sinful when the Bible does (and that includes my own on occasion). You may disagree with that, but that is where I land. I have disagreed with The FAMiLY Leader’s tact on several occasions so you are wrong to assume I agree with them all of the time. I do agree that this conference is a misuse of taxpayer money and I also believe the Governor should remove his name. It isn’t about promoting safe schools. If that were the case the above workshops would not be a part of the conference.

      1. We still have plenty of disagreements, Shane. In Iowa, I am proud to note that sexuality is a protected category under state civil rights law, so any conference which addresses bullying aimed at LGBT youth is, in my opinion, a valid use of taxpayer money. Rolling Stone ran an article about bullying of LGBT youth in a Minnesota school district, the resulting cluster of teen suicides, and the district’s polices which prohibited teachers from “promoting” LGBT issues. The bullying came from teesn who identified themselves as “christian.” Lesbian and gay teachers felt coerced into hiding their own sexuality from their students, including bullied gays and lesbians, for fear of losing their jobs.
        Shane, “sin” is a religious concept which has no place in policy in a secular society. It’s time for you folks to move on, since Branstad refused your demand last year to remove his name from the conference. You are entitled to an opinion about specific conference workshops, but your “all or nothing” approach to funding the conference, i.e. “I disagree with some of the workshops, so defund the entire conference” is punitive and wrong. If nothing else, there is a pressing need for workshops about fighting right-wing activism, given how divisive their political activity has been. Shane, like it or not, living in a pluralistic republic entails accepting as fact the likelihood that tax dollars will fund activities you disagree with.
        After all, your tax dollars help buy texts in public, school, and university libraries about Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Robert Ingersoll, among others.

      2. No, the ‘all or nothing’ prospect of defunding the entire conference is not wrong. If the organizers cannot refrain from having speakers who feel the need to name specific individuals or news outlets in order to attract attention to their session, they don’t need our tax dollars. Westboro Baptist Church might be worthy of a ‘name drop’, but certainly not those listed in the agenda. This particular session is nothing more than the liberals attempt to paint anybody who subscribes to a conservative thought process as the enemy.

      3. Mike, speak for yourself. It is presumptuous for you, as one individual, to claim he can represent “the conservative thought process,” whatever the heck THAT cobbled phrase means! Why do you insist on separating Americans into warring, exclusive camps? Do you deny the reality, that LGBT youths are particular targets for bullies? How much of that bullying can be tied to so-called “christians” who think disapproval and, yes, hatred of LGBT people are central to the faith? How exactly does this conference limit or endanger your freedom? Finally, I’ve noticed no one here has yet to answer my simple question: why do you contend that you can deny tax funding to a conference simply because you disagree with parts of it? Why do you insist on an overriding “heckler’s veto” on the activities your tax dollars help support? Aren’t you trying to impose your values on others by asserting tax monies should only be used to support activities you agree with? Isn’t that being a kind of bully?

  3. Your post says 15 Iowa lawmakers signed the statement, but you then listed 16 signatories. Which is correct? If the former, then which of the 16 you list did not actually sign? Is there a second source for this? I couldn’t find it on the pages to which your links pointed, but I may have overlooked something. Thanks. I’m soooo glad you wrote about this.

  4. I am confused as to why they are threatening anyone with withholding money based on
    “perverting the Bible”. I do believe, at last check anyways, we have a seperation of church and state.

  5. I was in attendance at the conference today, and it was an overwhelmingly positive experience. And yes, absolutely the entire focus of the day was protecting kids. Protecting LGTBQ kids and their allies from discrimination, slurs, threats escalating into violence, and isolation and depression. I gained valuable insights as a future educator on advocacy which in turn I can apply to kids of any at-risk group. The high school students who attended will have received information on self-advocacy and becoming empowered bystanders. Those who oppose this conference do so because it threatens their privilege, and they would have schools perpetuate the social constructions that maintain that privilege. I can assure them that I have no intention of doing so in my teaching career, nor do most of my peers. We are committed to creating an environment where students can learn without fearing for their physical or emotional safety, regardless of what The FAMiLY Leader thinks of them.

      1. I’m disappointed in your behavior, Shane: n is reporting his experience, not “lying.” You’ve exercised your free speech by protesting the conference contents, so it’s time to move on.

        BTW, why did my previous post disappear into the ether? I have been banned from such hate pages as “Heterosexual Inpired Pride” and “Heterosexual Awareness Month.” This would definitely be the nicest bar I’ve been bounced from!

      2. *Taps mike, “Is this thing on?” Feedback*
        My mistake, Shane, since the software ate my first reponse. We’ve been dancing around the real reason I’m here: how do we find a modus vivendi, since we live in the same polity, which is pluralistic and secular, not theocratic and homogeneous?

Comments are closed.

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