Bob Vander Plaats, President and CEO of The FAMiLY Leader, gave opening remarks at the Life, Marriage and Family Rally in Des Moines, IA.

Des Moines, IA – The FAMiLY Leader yesterday hosted their annual Life, Marriage and Family Rally at the Iowa Historical Building Auditorium two months earlier than when it has been held in the past.  Greg Baker, political director for The FAMiLY Leader, explained to the approximately 100 social conservatives gathered they wanted to mobilize their grassroots activists earlier in the session prior to the first funnel deadline when all bills need to be passed out of committee in order to still be considered during the legislative session.

The group encouraged their activists to go lobby their State Representatives and State Senators after the rally.  The specifically asked those attending to speak to members of the House Judiciary Committee to encourage them to push the Iowa Marriage Amendment.  Danny Carroll, a former state representative and Family Policy Advocate for The FAMiLY Leader, said that HJ 11 was filed last year, but that it is still alive in the House Judiciary Committee chaired by State Representative Chip Baltimore (R-Boone).

“We are not asking members to pass the bill.  We are asking them to do what they can do – bring the bill forward so it can be voted on,” Carroll said.  “Many legislators believe that voting for this would be a bad vote.”

“We need to let them know that to not vote on marriage is a bad vote,” Carroll added.

Baker also encouraged those attending to talk with members of the House Human Resources Committee who will be considering the webcam abortion bill.  This bill is in response to a lawsuit  that was filed by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland after the Iowa Board of Medicine ruled against the practice in August.  A district court judge ordered a stay on the ruling until a decision could be made.

Baker noted that a pro-life coalition has signed off on the language of the bill.  He said it would address webcam abortions, but not unintentionally codify abortions in the Iowa Code.

Tamara Scott, State Director for Concerned Women for America of Iowa, discussed the Common Core State Standards.  She encouraged those attending to discuss the standards with their legislators.  She pointed out that the Iowa Department of Education and the Branstad Administration are distancing themselves from the term “Common Core.”  She also pointed out that Department officials said that the Iowa Core and the Common Core are well aligned.  “They are similar because the State Board integrated them in 2010,” Scott said.

She noted that the standards are “rigid, not rigorous” like proponents say.  She pointed out that a fiscal study completed by Henry Burke looking at raw state data gathered by the Pioneer Institute shows that Iowa will spend at least $184 Million to implement the Common Core.

Religious liberty was a primary focus of the rally.  Bob Vander Plaats, President and CEO of The FAMiLY Leader said, “Religious liberty is under threat today, and we need people to stand in the gap for religious liberty.”

He said the primary problem with government, which he said reflects the culture, is that “they have forgotten who is the law giver.”  He noted that when a society walks away from the laws of nature and nature’s God it will be headed toward a train wreck.

Pastor Brad Cranston of Heritage Baptist Church in Burlington, IA also spoke.  “We are losing our liberties, our liberty to preach the whole counsel of God in the public square.  One day we could lose our liberty to preach the whole counsel of God within our four walls,” he said.

Cranston noted that the opposition doesn’t want to get along, but instead silence their voice.

Chuck Hurley, Vice President of The FAMiLY Leader, echoed that concern.  “There are things worth fighting and dying for,” Hurley said.  He discussed the Pilgrims struggle for religious liberty.  “We have to stand up for religious liberty,” he added.

Joel Oster, the keynote speaker from Alliance Defending Freedom, said that there is a movement in the United States to change the concept of having freedom of religion to freedom of worship.  Oster noted that our first right in the bill of rights is the free exercise of religion, not just worship.

He noted that the attack on religious liberty has taken on a different nature not seen in our country before.  “Government is now telling you that you have to violate your faith,” Oster added.

Oster encouraged those in attendance that they must have faith that God is still in control regardless of what happens in Des Moines or in Washington, DC.   He said they must have hope that things will turn around.  He also said that all of their lobbying efforts and actions must be done in love.

Below are videos from the rally:





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