Religious group countering religious conservatism gears up for July events in Iowa
An Iowa faith group formed earlier this year to promote judicial independence and religious freedom in Iowa is planning a series of four educational forums during the month of July.
Faith in Iowa, which held an initial public meeting in February, hopes to empower people of faith in northeastern Iowa to speak out on the issue of marriage equality and the importance of the Iowa Judicial Branch. While still in the throws of organizing, the group led a demonstration in March to counter-balance a Cedar Rapids visit by Bob Vander Plaats, chief executive of the religious conservative and anti-gay organization The Family Leader.
With a basic foundation in place, organizers indicate they are now ready to begin a more systematic outreach and educational effort for the larger community. The July forum series is Faith in Iowa’s first such offering, and will highlight speakers from other like-minded organizations while offering local people of faith information they can use in daily conversations with others.
The “Justice and the Common Good” forums will take place every Thursday during the month of July, and will be held at 7 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church in Cedar Rapids. On July 7, Todd Pettys of the University of Iowa College of Law will present, “Defending Varnum,” which will highlight the landmark April 2009 Iowa Supreme Court Case Varnum v. Brien that found Legislative limits placed on civil marriage to be in violation of the state’s equal protection clause.
On July 14, Jeff Angelo of the also newly formed Iowa Republicans for Freedom will present, “The Comfort of Certainty.”
Connie Ryan Terrell of Justice Not Politics and the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa brings the third offering on July 21 with a forum titled, “Judicial Applecart Upset: So What?”
The final forum will be held on July 28 and will feature Jonathan Wilson of the First Friday Breakfast Club. The forum is named, “The Mantra of the Radical, the Terrorist, and the Lynch Mob: The Ends Justify the Means.”
All of the forums are free and open to the public. Those interested in more information on Faith in Iowa or the forum series can send an email directly to organizers.