U.S. Sens. James Lankford and Tim Scott speak with Bob Vander Plaats about racial reconciliation.
Photo Credit: David Barnett/The FAMiLY Leader

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Approximately 600 people attended the 8th Annual Family Leadership Summit hosted by The FAMiLY LEADER on Friday at Hy-Vee’s Ron Pearson Center. Among those in attendance were many pastors, church leaders, and elected officials.

Those in attendance heard from U.S. Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Joni Ernst of Iowa, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Tim Scott of South Carolina. They also heard from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, The FAMiLY Leader CEO and President Bob Vander Plaats, comedian Brad Stine, Blaze TV personality Steve Deace, My Pillow CEO and executive producer of the movie Unplanned Mike Lindell, Rob Roozeboom of Rise Ministries, and former Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave of SBA List.

The event’s theme is “principles over politics” and was focused on Christians impacting culture, not just winning elections.

Roozeboom, the first speaker, said that Christians must have courage.

Vander Plaats asked what does victory look like when we place principles over politics.

“Do we know what the victory is?” Vander Plaats asked. “Is a victory re-electing Trump? Is victory having a Republican majority? Is victory winning the argument of the day? Or is it to think bigger, look higher?” he asked.

“What is our victory? Politics, elections, policy – they are downstream from culture. We need cultural transformation. We need revival,” Vander Plaats stated.

Cotton stressed the importance of Americans maintaining a their freedoms of religion and right of conscience, but those liberties are under threat.

“We people of faith are not always left to flourish under our own vine and fig tree. We face a kind of aggressive, secular liberalism that also, in its own way, wants to move beyond toleration. They ask not just for toleration from those who might disagree or hold different viewpoints, they don’t ask for acceptance, they ask for celebration,” he said. “And they enforce that demand for celebration with a rigid, aggressive, almost suffocating political correctness.”

Vander Plaats interviewed Lankford and Scott about racial reconciliation. They challenge their constituents whether they have had someone of a different race over for dinner. They pointed out that racial discord won’t be solved by politics but by people.

“I don’t believe Washington changes the country. I think the country changes Washington. And there should be no prime mover stronger than the Church for engaging the gospel throughout a community,” Lankford said.

“Division starts in our own hearts. To pastors and leaders, the first thing we should do is check our hearts,” Scott added.

Lindell shared about how transformed him and redeemed him from an addiction to Cocaine.

The FAMiLY LEADER awarded State Rep. Steven Holt, R-Denison, the annual Dwayne Alons award, an award given to those who demonstrate the statesmanship that the late state representative embodied.

Holt has been a champion for life during his time in the Iowa House.

Musgrave talked about the fight for the life of the unborn in Washington and expressed support for Ernst who faces re-election in 2020.

Ernst focused her remarks on the right to life, and highlighted her efforts to pass a late-term abortion ban, as well as, the debate over protecting babies who are born alive after an abortion attempt.

Deace and Stein talked about how Christians can stand for their faith in the midst of an increasingly hostile culture.

Reynolds championed the sanctity of life, and discussed the passage of the heartbeat bill later struck down in district court. Due to the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision overturning the 72-hour waiting period in which they created a right to abortion not found in the Iowa Constitution they did not appeal the ruling. Reynolds pointed out that they are turning the tide with judicial selections who will interpret the law, not make law.

Sasse was the last to speak. Highlighting themes from his recent book, Them, he pointed out that people have placed an increasing importance on politics because of a growing epidemic of rootlessness.

He said that the “regular tribes” – family, church, and the workplace – are collapsing so Americans seek out different tribes. This has also lead to unhealthy politics.

He noted that politics should be far down the list of priorities for Christians.

“I don’t want to talk about politics as if heaven is coming by politics… I want to talk about politics as a framework for ordered liberty,” he said.

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