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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  1. You guys still upset that same-sex couples can marry in Iowa? What do you hope your “Marriage Amendment” will do? Dissolve existing marriages? Do you enjoy putting families and children at a disadvantage?

  2. “We are losing our liberties, our liberty to preach the whole counsel of God in the public square,” he said in the auditorium of a state building in front of television cameras without a single person harassing or protesting him…

      1. Didn’t you watch the last Democrat Convention? A large group of them want to get God out of everything in the country. They are working on it in the schools, and everywhere.

      2. Legally, government is not suppose to endorse any religion. You are free to send your kids to private schools or you can even home school your kids.

        I am reminded of the Muslim who gave the opening prayer at the beginning of congress and all the outrage that followed. Right wing Christians seem to have no problem attacking others, even other Christians, but are quick to claim foul if things don’t go their way.

      3. Legally, Muslims were not allowed to immigrate to this country, until recently. Did you know that the Muslims caused Christopher Columbus to fine the New World? And, did you know that until recently Christmas plays were done in every school, and songs and the story of Christ’s birth were learned by every child in public school, even Jewish children?

      4. I was around when they had school prayer, and Christmas plays. I also remember how a Catholic family moved into our town of 250. It was quite the scandal back then. As Methodists, we weren’t real keen on even mixing with the Lutherans. Look out if a Jehovah’s Witness came to the door.
        My sister still doesn’t consider Catholics as Christians. They pray to Mary and all those saints.

      5. Do you think not being keen on someone’s religion is the same thing as persecution? You know why Jesuits were formed, right? And the Jacobins? And shouldn’t your sister have strong religious beliefs? The Catholics certainly have them. Jehovah’s Witnesses certainly have them. I once went to a J.W.’s door with a political pamphlet, and got the door slammed in my face.

      6. I think every person is entitled to their beliefs. They just can’ force them onto other people.

      7. I never said she was. I was pointing out that tensions between religious groups have existing since I was a child, which is a long time.

      8. Some of my family were Czechs. They were protestant for generations. In the late 1800s two of them were forced to get married in the Catholic Church-the state church-in order for their children to inherit what they had. Being married in the Protestant Church, which they had done many years before, wasn’t considered a marriage by the state church. The C.C. was going to inherit all their money instead of their kids, if they didn’t do this marriage. The couple was in their eighties, they got married and their pretty old kids inherited. There are records of this. An example of real persecution.

      9. Many people have suffered and died in the name of religion. Christianity has a very dark history.

      10. Atheism and the other religions have a darker history. Not everyone calling themselves Christian are. The example I gave of religious force is about state religion, and what is meant in our country when we say we don’t have a state religion. The churches here do not have the force of the state. Now we have to worry about the state by itself. The state here tries to get rid of inheritance and keep the money for themselves, for example.

      11. What is your source that Muslims were unwelcome in America? I am sure there have always been certain hate groups, but when was it ever law?

        Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin all welcomed Muslims. Do you know of the Treaty of Tripoli, signed by President John Adams, and ratified unanimously in 1797 :

        “As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, — as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims], — and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

      12. Weren’t they fighting the Barbary Coast pirates, who were Muslim? And, I am sure you know the controversy over that document you are citing. We had no Muslims in this country, until fairly recently, because they were not allowed to immigrate. And, the Black Muslims hadn’t formed. We did have Christian refugees from Muslim countries. Our immigration laws have changed over the years.

      13. When I Googled it, it says we have had Muslims coming over since before the American Revolution. No mention of laws stopping them from coming.

        It has expanded greatly with many blacks in America becoming Muslims in more recent years.

  3. The “Pilgrims” came to America to get away from a government that dictates what church you will belong to. Freedom of Religion allows you to join the church of your choice – or none at all. Freedom of Religion also keeps people from forcing their religious views onto others. The religious right seem to not grasp that second part.

    How is religious liberty under threat today?

    1. The Pilgrims came here to practice their religion as they wished, without being killed for their beliefs. There were huge wars in Europe, with the state taking sides in what religion was going to be the state religion. Both the Episcopalians and the Catholics were against the English Calvinists. Many politicians today, do not believe in religious liberty, and work against it. They are just more subtle.

      1. As I said, the pilgrims (a name assigned them later ) came to America to avoid religious persecution. I agree that they were being persecuted by fellow Christians.
        Can you give specifics of how religious liberty is under threat today? It has been my experience when such claims are made, it turns out that one set of Christians want to push their beliefs onto some other group whether Christian or not, which is why I said many on the right do not grasp that the constitution forbids them to do that.

  4. I’m not sure why Common Core is so evil. From what I have read, it just seems like standardized teaching to insure every student is at the same level. Perhaps someone here can explain to me why it is so bad?

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