Shame on who? Principles should Trump politics

160610donaldtrumpby Bob Vander Plaats

The Iowa GOP chairman “shamed” me to the readers of the Des Moines Register and to the people of Iowa for holding presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, accountable for his disparaging ethnic remarks. If this warrants shame, then … “shame on me.”

Shame on me for believing there are principles worth adhering to regardless of the R or D behind your name. Shame on me for believing you shouldn’t disparage people for their ethnicity or disability.

And if there is shame on me, then I am in good company. Former Speaker of the House and Trump supporter Newt Gingrich also called out the presumptive 2016 nominee for his absurdity. Current Speaker of the House Paul Ryan called Mr. Trump’s remarks about the Hispanic judge “textbook racism.” And respected Iowa State Sen. David Johnson left the Republican Party over Trump’s insulting and disparaging remarks.

I consider Mr. Trump a friend. And as I told him in his office, I want to encourage him to be the best husband, father, and leader he can be. But, no, I don’t approve of everything he says or does. And if his actions and words continue to demean and diminish the office he seeks, then I believe every accountability option needs to be on the table at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

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I along with many others believe there needs to be a higher standard for a presidential nominee than merely donning the Republican Party name. I believe Mr. Trump should be held accountable for his profanity, for his vulgarity, and for mocking anyone and everyone, including the disabled and prisoners of war.

And if our leaders, like the Iowa GOP chairman, can only “shame” those who desire a higher standard and who insist on the highest character for the highest office, then it also reveals the true motive of our political parties. It has become all about winning versus about leading, and therein lies the problem.

I hope and pray that Mr. Trump embraces the opportunity the Republican Party voters have offered him. I hope he campaigns with dignity, integrity, and an optimism for all that reflects the spirit of America. I hope he tells us that he will surround himself with the best, the most trusted, and the brightest to lead with him. I hope he begins leading with humility, to earn the American people’s respect and, ultimately, their vote.

I encourage my faith and family peers to insist on this type of leadership from Mr. Trump at our June 21 meeting in New York. And, I appeal to all the delegates to the national convention, including our Iowa leaders, to assess Mr. Trump’s adherence to and modeling of principled conservatism and trusted leadership before giving him the nomination in Cleveland.

This accountability will make Mr. Trump a better candidate and a more effective leader. Bowing our knee to the “R” and allowing Mr. Trump to be whatever to whomever and whenever will lead to a disastrous defeat for Mr. Trump and the plethora of Republicans seeking office in November.

At the end of the day, may we all, including our political leaders, choose to seek the kind of personal and cultural transformation that honors God and blesses people. When this occurs, we will elect the right people … institute the right policies … and be an authentic model for others to follow.

Branstad’s Bible proclamation ‘unconstitutional’? Two perspectives

Branstad Bible ProclamationsmallIowa Governor Terry Branstad is under fire over a recent proclamation encouraging Iowans to read the Bible. Some are calling Branstad’s action unconstitutional. But is it really?

The FAMiLY LEADER’s Greg Baker and Nathan Oppman dive into the history books to answer the question. Greg provides an overview of the controversy, while Nathan’s research below provides links to citable historical evidence:

From Greg Baker

In April Gov. Terry Branstad issued a proclamation encouraging Iowans to participate in a 99-county Bible reading marathon that is being organized by the Iowa Prayer Caucus. From June 30-July 3, the Bible will be read in front of all of Iowa’s county court houses with encouragement from our state’s governor. He also encouraged Iowans and their families to read through the Holy Bible every year until the Lord comes.

This proclamation has now come under heavy criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which are considering a lawsuit against the state of Iowa, claiming that Branstad violated the separation of church and state.

But America today has twisted the phrase “the separation of church and state.” We seem to think it means that pastors cannot speak about government in the church and that the government cannot mention God. Many elected officials and pastors have accepted this not only as law, but also as the best means of practice.

The phrase and principle, however, was originally stated and applied to protect Americans and the church from a national church being founded, much like those in Europe, such as the Church of England. In America, we did not want to require everyone to attend one national church led by the government. Rather, we believed the two should be separate institutions.

Yet clearly, America’s Founders never intended “separate” to mean “mutually exclusive.” In fact, Gov. Branstad’s proclamation echoes Benjamin Franklin’s suggestion at the very Constitutional Convention itself that an appeal to God needed to be made for His intervention and that each day of the Convention must begin in prayer. Or when President Abraham Lincoln in his Second Inaugural address boldly proclaimed that God was judging America for its sins and in order for the Civil War to end, America need to repent. President Lincoln issued numerous proclamations, calling America to days of fasting, prayer, and repentance.

And from a larger perspective, if the institution of government should fail to look to God and His Word, that is when we need to get concerned. For government is God’s institution of justice to punish evil and reward good. Yet how can the government rightly determine good and evil without God and His Word?

Not only is Governor Branstad’s proclamation clearly constitutional, but we should thank him for being humble enough to look to a higher power – and not just any higher power, but our Lord Jesus Christ and His Word.

Would you like to see our government restored to its God-given role in society? Would you like to see the family and the church revived as well? Check out the 2016 Family Leadership Summit: Spiritual Revival in the Home, Church, & Government!

The following from Nathan Oppman

Do religious proclamations violate the Constitution?

To the contrary, historical precedent reveals Congress has often supported and promoted religious activity.

In 1774 Congress informally employed the services of the rector of Christ Church in Philadelphia, Jacob Duché, and on July 9, 1776, he was formally elected as the first Congressional chaplain.

After Duché defected, Congress elected two chaplains from different denominations: William White and George Duffield. This dual nomination demonstrated Congress’ concern that they not favor particular denominations. This practice was formally adopted in 1789 under a joint resolution after the Constitution was approved.

Throughout the Revolutionary period, Congress issued annual proclamations of fasting and thanksgiving, including encouragement to “confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease [God’s] righteous displeasure, and through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness,” indicating not only was Congress comfortable supporting religion, but they were comfortable supporting the Christian religion in particular. In some instances the proclamations were even Trinitarian in nature, mentioning God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. Other examples of religious congressional proclamations can be found here and here.

Since the military is another area that faces heavy scrutiny over religion and religious symbols, including in the state of Iowa, it is worth noting that during the Revolution one of the military offenses that was punishable in the code of military regulations passed by Congress was blasphemy. The code also encouraged religious service attendance.

In an issue that closely mirrors Gov. Branstad’s promotion of the Bible, Congress approved the Aitken’s Bible and recommended it to the inhabitants of the United States after War with Britain cut off America’s supply of Scriptures.

Though many of these actions occurred just prior to the adoption of the Constitution, they help us understand the mind of the men who crafted our form of national government. And following the adoption of the Constitution, the practice of the federal government to support religion generally continued.

President George Washington issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789 that encouraged the nation to confess sins and thank God for His blessings. John Adams did the same on the eve of a possible war with France in 1798.

Thomas Jefferson had qualms about issuing a national religious proclamation because he did not believe it the role of the Federal government. He did, however, issue such a call while serving, like Branstad, as a governor prior to the adoption of the Constitution.

As president, James Madison issued a proclamation regarding a Day of Prayer, making special mention that this was not coercive but should be done out of a willing and pious heart.

Moreover, in Iowa governors have long issued religious proclamations. Gov. Kirkwood in 1876 called on Iowans to observe a day of Thanksgiving and specifically referenced Christianity. Gov. Sherman again called for a day of Thanksgiving in 1881.

There are many other examples of such activity throughout our nation’s history. And while some presidents and governors did not engage in such activity, it is certainly not uncommon. Additionally, states were under less scrutiny for such activities than the federal government.

In light of this history, Gov. Branstad is well within his Constitutional rights as governor of a free state to encourage Bible reading in the state of Iowa and to issue religious proclamations generally.

Governor Branstad, protect our children!

160516bathroomwebOn Friday, President Obama and his administration put the safety and privacy of every child in America at risk.

His Department of Education issued new “guidance” mandating schools that receive federal funding adopt “gender inclusive” policies that permit boys who say they are girls (and girls who say they are boys) to play on girls’ sports teams – and even use girls’ bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and hotel rooms on overnight trips!

When the safety and privacy of our children are put at risk by a president who values his sexual revolution agenda over their protection, we are called to speak and to act.

But what can we DO about it?

For starters, the governors, lieutenant governors, or attorney generals in at least eight states have told the Obama administration they will not comply with his unlawful and dangerous edict.

But Iowa is not yet one of them.

So the first thing you can do is sign this petition urging Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to stand with other governors in defending our children.


The second thing you can do is stand with the organization in Iowa that’s standing up for our children and grandchildren and is unafraid to stand up to legislators and governors of either party to give your values a voice. Your gift—of $25, $50, $100, or even $500 or more—will go to work right away to make sure Iowa children have privacy and safety when they use the restroom, locker room, or shower at school. Give to The FAMiLY LEADER today!

President Obama and his administration are working to turn our taxpayer-funded schools into a social experiment laboratory that puts children at risk. Worse yet, here in Iowa, wording is already in the law that could bring the same bathroom mandates not just to schools, but to churches as well!

That’s right. Unless someone takes a stand now to stop the “gender identity” mandates:

  • The president of the United States, and not you, may well determine the first time your daughter stands exposed and undressed before a member of the opposite sex.
  • Schools will be unable to stop teen boys who decide to “identify” as female from lounging in the shower rooms of the girl’s high school basketball team.
  • A boy who claims to be a girl may legally be able to demand to sleep in his girlfriend’s room on a class field trip.
  • Your own church may be legally unable to stop men who claim to be women from using the women’s restroom on Sunday morning.

Will you stand with us as we refuse to surrender our children’s privacy and safety to President Obama’s political agenda? Declare with us, “Enough is enough!”

Here’s what you can do right now:

  1. Sign the petition demanding Gov. Branstad join other state governors in protecting our children’s privacy and safety. Click here now!
  2. Give to grow your voice in the culture, in the media, and the government through the ministry of The FAMiLY LEADER. Click here now!
  3. Contact your United States legislators and tell them to declare Obama’s “guidance” is is NOT the intent or proper interpretation of the law and retake Congress’ proper authority from an out-of-control executive branch.
  4. Contact your local school board and district superintendent and urge them to protect our children’s privacy and safety. You can tell them Obama’s edict is not binding, it’s not law, and it’s not good for our children. Urge them to refuse to follow the president’s “guidance.”
  5. Sign national petitions, like this one from Alliance Defending Freedom, or the one at the end of this Family Research Council article, or this one at the Catholic LifeSiteNews website.

May God give us the courage to be bold for our children and to call out leaders, who have the responsibility to govern us, when they act lawlessly!

Sign the petition to Gov. Branstad now by clicking here!

Give to The FAMiLY LEADER today by clicking here!

Obama’s transgender bathroom mandate is worse than you think

160513bathroom2On May 13, the Obama administration issued an edict to all U.S. schools requiring they open bathrooms according to self-proclaimed gender identity instead of biological sex … or risk lawsuit and loss of federal funds.

The specific wording of the mandate, however, does much more than that. It also:

  • Dictates that boys who self-identify as female be allowed to use girls’ locker rooms and shower facilities, and vice versa.
  • Specifically states that making a gender-neutral, single-stall bathroom available to transgender students is insufficient. If a girls’ bathroom or locker room exists, boys and men who identify as female must be allowed entry, and vice versa.
  • Dictates that students must be allowed to play the sport of the gender they self-identify.
  • Specifically states that a student may self-identify his or her gender to the school without parental permission or knowledge.
  • Forbids any medical requirements as a prerequisite of new gender identity.
  • Dictates that on school field trips, boys who self-identify as female must be allowed to sleep in the same hotel rooms as female students, and vice versa. Providing a private hotel room for a transgender student is not allowed unless all students are lodged in private rooms.

These policies aren’t just going into effect in California somewhere. All schools that receive Title IX federal funding will be required to enforce this mandate … or else.

The FAMiLY LEADER is using its national influence to forcefully proclaim that this edict is not only wrongfully enacted, but wrong on its face. Working with partner organizations like Family Policy Alliance, Alliance Defending Freedom, the Family Research Council, and others, we hope to stir the American people to defend our sons and daughters and stop the Obama administration’s social engineering agenda.

Help us organize a powerful and effective response to this foolishness! Consider donating to the work of The FAMiLY LEADER today.

TFL also created the following press release, which was sent to hundreds of local and national news outlets. Interview requests are pouring in, and we’re getting the message out on television and in print.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, May 13, 2016

Issues statement on administration’s “insensitive” mandate

Urbandale, IOWA – The FAMiLY LEADER asserts the Obama administration’s mandate requiring schools receiving federal funds to open all bathrooms and locker rooms according to self-proclaimed gender identity instead of biological sex is not only an unconstitutional overreach of executive power, but also grossly insensitive to sexual assault victims and parents concerned for their children’s safety.

The administration’s refusal to permit schools to offer single-stall bathrooms as a common sense solution is evidence this decision is not about accommodating transgender students, but about using federal power to strong-arm its social agenda.

“As a former high school principal, I know there must be a better solution than having high school girls walk out of the showers exposed in front of biological males,” says Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of The FAMiLY LEADER. “The lack of compassion this edict shows for victims of sex abuse, in particular, is stunning.

“Furthermore, this kind of federal overreach is exactly why The FAMiLY LEADER has been a consistent advocate for removing the federal government from education,” he states.

For more information about The FAMiLY LEADER, visit

For more information about how open bathroom policies impact sexual abuse victims, watch this video from the Alliance Defending Freedom:

What can YOU do?

  1. Contact your United States legislator. This edict can only exist because the U.S. Congress has ceded its constitutional power to the president and his Department of Education. Congress could issue a resolution tomorrow declaring this is NOT the intent or proper interpretation of Title IX and retake its proper authority from an out-of-control executive branch.
  2. Sign your name to letters to the editor, to your school board, and to petitions, like this one from Alliance Defending Freedom, or the one at the end of this Family Research Council article, or this one at the Catholic LifeSiteNews website.
  3. Donate today to organizations working to give your values a voice in today’s culture.

What happened to that bill? Recapping the Iowa Legislature

While most of the news cycle was dominated by presidential politics, important things were happening in Des Moines. Yet now the session is concluded. Here’s a quick breakdown of key bills that passed this session and those that didn’t:

Banning the sale of baby body parts

A bill that would have made it illegal to sell parts of an aborted child failed was passed in the Republican-controlled House, but blocked by the Democrat-controlled Iowa Senate.

Defunding abortion providers

After weeks of negotiations between the House and Senate on whether or not the state will continue to fund abortion providers, the Senate won, and funding continues. The House, however, was able to negotiate an increase in the child adoption tax credit, from $2,500 to $5,000. Seven Republican legislators resolutely refused to vote for a Health and Human Service Budget that continued to fund abortion providers: Reps. Salmon, Watts, Heartsill, Fisher, Baxter, Kooiker, and Sheets. Nonetheless, the budget narrowly passed with just 51 votes. All other no votes came from Democrats, who voted no for other reasons.

Doctor-assisted suicide

A Senate bill that would have legalized doctors prescribing death-inducing pills to patients diagnosed with a terminally ill disease thankfully failed in spite of two subcommittee meetings. This is an issue that will likely be discussed for many years ahead.

Governor’s LGBTQ Conference

The House Government Oversight Committee wrapped up their investigation into the 2015 Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth. Their recommendation was to pass a bill that would require parents to opt in to any form of sexual education and disclose content ahead of time. Unfortunately, this legislation failed to receive the support it needed to advance this legislative session.

Human trafficking

This year we took another large step forward in combating human trafficking. Several years ago, Iowa received a “D” grade on laws against human trafficking. The FAMiLY LEADER Foundation and several other organizations worked with the Iowa Legislature to address these issues, resulting in Iowa now getting an “A” grade. Despite strong laws in place, however, our law enforcement was not equipped to handle this crime. But this year the Iowa Legislature opened a brand new office in the Department of Public Safety, and money has been appropriated to that office to begin hiring investigators to enforce laws against traffickers. This was a huge victory on an issue that has received strong bi-partisan support.

Predatory lending

The bill that would have expanded the payday lending cap from $500 to $5,000 thankfully failed this session. We do expect to see this effort resurrected in future years.

Religious liberty and life at conception

At the beginning of the session, over 70 pastors visited with the chairman and members of the Iowa House Judiciary Committee on the importance of both of these issues. Neither bill moved forward in committee. It may take years to change the minds of Iowa’s leaders on these two issues, but we will continue to educate until the day Iowa recognizes that life begins at conception and upholds and protects religious liberty.

Terminating parental rights of rapists

Thanks to the joint efforts of Republican Rep. Greg Heartsill and Democrat Sen. Steve Sodders, the Iowa Legislature successfully passed a law that allows a rape victim who becomes pregnant to more easily terminate the rapist’s parental rights over the baby.

YOUR donations fund daily efforts at the Iowa Capitol to influence policy and uphold biblical values. Please click here now to donate to The FAMiLY LEADER.

Special program about my son Lucas

VanderPlaats Fam web
My son Lucas was born 23 years ago with severe disabilities.

The doctors say he will never walk, and barring a miracle, he will never talk.

But the miracle … has already come. The challenges the Lord has sustained our family through, the joy we’ve found in our son, and the unexpected blessings of Lucas’ life have made him a miracle beyond compare.

The story of how Lucas has changed our lives was captured in a 2007 book called “Light from Lucas,” and now, through Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk Radio, you can hear the story yourself.


Darla and I talked about Lucas with Dr. Dobson on Family Talk a few years ago, and because of the episode’s popularity, it has been rebroadcast and made available online to listen, download, or podcast.

Click here now to listen to the “Light from Lucas” episode of Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk.

“No doubt about it,” Joni Eareckson Tada wrote in the forward to “Light from Lucas.” “Your thinking will be illumined by the ‘light’ shared in ‘Light from Lucas.’ You will learn about a family whose hearts are settled and whose peace is profound. Don’t worry, though – it’s not sugarcoated; there are plenty of hard places with which you’ll identify. The most important thing is, you just may end up deciding, If Lucas can make it and, by the grace of God, overcome his limitations, I can too.

Lucas has changed more than our lives. I believe his story could change yours as well. I hope you take the time to listen to the broadcast.

Click here now to listen now!

For the family,

Bob signature

Get a fresh start on your family’s faith, and begin a reformation!

160425happyfamilyby Chris Nitzschke

Springtime abounds with new beginnings. The grass begins to grow again, flowers are freshly blooming, and those warm, long days grace God’s green Earth after a long winter hiatus. In my family, my wife and I are awaiting a significant new beginning – the birth of our first child. And from what the seasoned veterans tell us, our life will change. Forever.

In Psalm 145, David writes, “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”

This is one of the primary ways that God’s kingdom is expanded: The older generation trains up the younger to love and trust God. Christian fathers and mothers have an important responsibility to represent and display Jesus to their sons and daughters.

160425familyworshipAs my wife and I prepare for the birth of our little one, we are reading a short, helpful book by Donald Whitney, entitled “Family Worship” (Dr. Whitney is professor of Biblical Spirituality at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky). In “Family Worship,” Whitney encourages families (especially fathers) to pursue worshipping God together as a family each day.

But in our high-speed, omni-distracted culture, that means prioritizing time to make it happen. Whitney discusses how rare family worship is in our day, even amongst seminary-going families. In past generations, it was a given that a family would gather for worship each day. In “The Directory for Family Worship,” a companion document to the Westminster Confession of Faith (c. 1647), family worship was deemed so crucial that if a man failed to lead his family in it, church discipline was expected.

Dr. Whitney uses Scripture and history to make the case that if we truly want to see revival in our culture, it must begin with family worship.

Famed Bible commentator Matthew Henry said, “Turn your families into little churches. … If therefore our houses be houses of the Lord, we shall for that reason love home, reckoning our daily devotion the sweetest of our daily delights; and our family-worship the most valuable of our family-comforts. … Here the reformation must begin.”

Do you want to see a reformation and revival in your home, community, and nation? Given the news each day, how could we not want revival? Yet Matthew Henry contended it must begin with each family seeking after the face of God together!

You might be like me, saying, “But I’ve never done this before in my life! How can I start now? What if it’s awkward?”

It can be very simple, no more than 10 minutes every day. Whitney lays out a basic template of 1) read, 2) pray, and 3) sing. All you need is your family, a Bible, a prayer, and a song.

God’s Word says in Psalm 100 not to make a musically melodious sonnet, but to “make a joyful noise!” (And for many of us, it really does sound more like a noise when we sing, doesn’t it?) So, Dads, you don’t need a music degree to lead your family. Open the Word together, pray together, and sing together. What a great heritage to impart and pass on to your children!

It’s a new season with a new beginning. Introducing your children to Jesus is always worth it. We have a reformation to start. Let’s do it.

“Family Worship” is available at most Christian bookstores and at

New! Check out the April 2016 newsletter

Like “The Wizard of Oz” or that red, Mustang convertible, some things just look better in full color.

Check out the all-new, full-color TFL newsletter by clicking here!

Included in the April issue:

  • “Revival at the Capitol” – See how the spiritual climate is changing in Des Moines
  • “Hope beyond politics” – The birth of a ministry with the power to change the world
  • “Let the church arise” – What happens when Christians get involved in civics
  • “The next battlefront” – Preparing for the push to legalize doctor-assisted suicide.

Plus ways you can help and more!

Check it out today!

“A kindergarten class killed every 2 days in our state”

160421sandysalmonAs the Iowa Legislature debates whether taxpayers will be compelled to continue giving millions of dollars annually to abortion providers and advocates, a powerful voice of conscience has risen on the House floor.

Rep. Sandy Salmon, R-Black Hawk, made the following, stirring comments on Tuesday, April 20, 2016.

As fellow pro-life champion Rep. Greg Heartsill declared in a widely distributed email afterwards, “Please join me in encouraging and thanking Rep. Salmon for her courageous, principled, and indefatigable stand for the unborn!”

I want to thank House leaders and committee leaders for bringing forward this change in our family planning services program that not only maintains services to our families, but steers them towards better and more comprehensive health care providers and away from organizations that kill unborn children.

This amendment is brought forward to fully cut off taxpayer funding from organizations that kill unborn children. The state family planning program that excludes abortionists that Rep. Fry has explained to us is only one of 11 streams of taxpayer funding the state can control that I have found that goes to abortionists. This amendment addresses the other 10 streams of taxpayer funding going to them. It does this 2 ways:

1) When a contract with an abortionist expires, it is simply not renewed with them. All contracts expire on various dates this summer. A non-abortionist must be chosen.

2) Title X Family Planning moneys are required to be distributed according to the same prioritization as are the moneys in the state family planning program we are setting up.

Iowans have 213 federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics besides those in urban centers where healthcare can be accessed without depending on the few abortionists in the state. These health care centers/clinics serve low-income, medically under-served populations, and provide comprehensive primary and preventive healthcare as compared to abortionists’ limited healthcare options, but do not commit abortion. Therefore, abortionists are not needed and certainly do not need taxpayer funding.

About 4500 babies each year lose their lives in Iowa at the hands of abortionists. This is the equivalent of a kindergarten class being killed every 2 days in our state. Abortion accounts for about 50% of abortionists’ health services revenue. Their activities result in deadly consequences for babies and mothers, both physical and/or emotional. Those organizations do not strengthen us as a state but rather their culture of death weakens us spiritually, morally, and in our respect for human life and the rights of others. As if that is not enough, what would 180 more kindergarten classes across the state of Iowa do for our schools’ struggles with declining enrollment? How much does this contribute to a stagnating population? How much does this contribute to an undermanned workforce? How much does this weaken our economy? How much easier would it be to provide services and lower taxes with a greater population and an increased tax base? Organizations that kill unborn children cut us off from the blessings that God wants to give us. They devalue the life God has given us, a life that has inestimable value in His sight.

Abortion has ruined our judgment and has spawned multiple forms of corruption. A lawsuit is currently being litigated against abortionists in our state in federal court over a credible allegation of Medicaid fraud according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. This case involves about half a million potential false claims worth up to $28 million of potential taxpayer fraud. Federal law requires a State Medicaid agency to suspend all payments to a provider where there is a credible allegation of fraud.

Furthermore, there are numerous government audit reports demonstrating Medicaid fraud on the part of these abortionists. Most recently they were fingered by the Nebraska State Auditor for Medicaid billing for abortion-related procedures, which is illegal. We have moved legislation in this chamber in response to videos revealing the illegal harvesting and selling for lucrative profit of aborted baby body parts. The U.S. House of Representative just released a report tonight from their investigation proving this very thing. Video footage and lawsuits also reveal abortionists disregarding states’ informed consent laws, disregarding states’ regulations for clinics, and disregarding sexual abuse laws and protecting statutory rapists and protecting sex traffickers. What law have they met that they consider important enough that they should obey it? Nearly a dozen states have already suspended public funding to abortionists, including Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin who has done so with the same abortionists we have here in Iowa, and this past January the U.S. Congress, in a historic vote, chose to defund abortionists.

The state of Iowa should have no part in doing business with organizations such as this. Credible research polls show that when Iowans know the facts, they are opposed to it. Iowans support better and more comprehensive healthcare than they could get with abortionists.

Where we put our money is where we put our heart. Iowans want us to put our money not in death but in life.

Iowa House votes for women’s health, cuts funding to Planned Parenthood

Thank you, Rep. Sandy Salmon and Iowa House Republicans, for standing up for taxpayers, women, and children!

Read KCCI’s article about Wednesday’s House-approved budget here.

For years, Iowans have been pumping millions of tax dollars into 13 women’s abortion clinics, most of them located in only a few, urban areas. These clinics don’t offer basic women’s health services like prenatal care or mammograms, but they’re politically connected and receive massive amounts of public funding.

Iowa House Republicans have advocated instead funding 213 other clinics throughout the state, including many in rural areas. These clinics care for women and their children, offer more comprehensive care, and are more accessible to expectant mothers.

It’s time women in Iowa were given a real choice in their health care, instead of being forced to fund just 13 clinics in order to subsidize abortion.

Road trip for revival with the Newsboys!

Ashley, Kathy, and Darla on tour with If 7:14 and the Newsboys
Ashley, Kathy, and Darla on tour with If 7:14 and the Newsboys

by Darla Vander Plaats

2,328 miles in 5 days, plus three concerts! That’s a road trip!

The FAMiLY LEADER’s Ashley, Kathy, and Darla set out on March 30 for Montgomery, Alabama, to attend the first ever Newsboys concert to feature If 7:14. The van was loaded with T-shirts, books, and other goodies to be distributed at concerts for the Newsboys’ 2016 “We Believe … God’s Not Dead” tour.

The weather was challenging, with driving rain, thunderstorms, and flash flood watches throughout the route. Yet God brought the team safely to Montgomery in sunshine for the first concert, where they met Noah (stage name Young Noah).

Noah and the ladies
Noah and the ladies

Noah is an up-and-coming artist breaking into the concert scene with this tour. He’s thrilled to be able to perform a collaborated song with Audio Adrenaline at each concert. He is also the official If 7:14 promoter at all of the concerts. He sets up the booth and tells people about If 7:14. After he performs, kids are drawn like flies to honey to talk to him and have their pictures taken, so there is tremendous opportunity to present If 7:14 to them and to their parents.

The ladies loved getting to know Noah and helping him as he learned the ropes of both If 7:14 and the other aspects of the concert world (like adoring adolescent girls – in his words, “Awkward!”). This fall he is looking forward to continuing with the Newsboys as an official warm-up act! His engaging and energetic personality is truly an asset for If 7:14.

Let me tell you, it was so exciting to see and hear the If 7:14 video played on the huge screen with 2,500 concert attendees watching it. It was even better when Michael Tait, lead singer for the Newsboys, gave an impassioned and compelling encouragement for everyone there to download the app and begin praying in unity with other believers for revival!

Have YOU downloaded the free If 7:14 app yet? Click here now!

Michael cast a big vision of believers in every time zone, around the world, seeking the Lord as one in a global rhythm of prayer. Michael told us in a text that he is “beginning to make this thing my own, and I love it because it’s what I do every day, pray without ceasing.”

The day after the Montgomery concert, the ladies packed up and headed northeast to Woodstock, Georgia. Woodstock is a suburb of Atlanta, and this time the travel challenge was big city traffic! The concert was held at First Baptist Church of Woodstock – absolutely huge and beautiful! There were 5,000 worshippers who attended the concert and just rocked the foundations!

5,000 join in worship with If 7:14 and the Newsboys at
5,000 worship with If 7:14 and the Newsboys at First Baptist Church of Woodstock

Kathy loved the time she spent at the If 7:14 booth during the concerts: “I appreciated meeting the concert goers who genuinely asked what If 7:14 was all about, and after describing the mission of our initiative they completely agreed, faces lit up, and they joined by downloading the app,” she said. “It gave me hope to see that the body of believers knows there is more to this thing than religion; we are seeking humility; we are seeking transformation; we are seeking community; we are seeking Christ. Prayer is what they believe needs to take place to find transformation of the church and nation.”

Another late night and another road trip back to Alabama brought us to Tuscaloosa, home of the Crimson Tide. The concert venue was an amphitheater along the Black Warrior River. It was a lovely, clear but chilly night. By this time, the ladies felt like they knew all of the songs and had started to look forward to their favorite parts of the concert.

Darla loved the moment each night during the Newsboys song “We Believe” when the band dropped out and the crowd sang as one, “We believe in God the Father. We believe in Jesus Christ. We believe in the Holy Spirit. And He’s given us new life. We believe in the crucifixion. We believe that He’s conquered death. We believe in the resurrection. And He’s coming back again.”

And of course, they all loved hearing Michael tell the crowd about If 7:14 each night.

Newsboys lead singer Michael Tait on tour with If 7:14
Newsboys lead singer Michael Tait on tour with If 7:14

After Tuscaloosa, it was only 13 hours and 833 miles back to Des Moines! The girls were grateful for many things – safe travels, successful concerts, and most of all, the opportunity to actually be in attendance and see the culmination of what God started two years ago when He brought the Newsboys and If 7:14 together for the first time.

Ashley noted that “getting out of the office and talking with so many people about this initiative we’ve been working on for so long was really encouraging. It’s easy to sit in the office and discuss how we think people will react and the best way to reach the maximum amount of people. But to actually get out on the road and talk to hundreds of people and connect personally, that really changed my outlook on If 7:14 and The FAMiLY LEADER and our potential.”

It was an amazing road trip. It has been an amazing journey for If 7:14. We look forward to the next steps, knowing that God has it all in His hands. We invite you to join If 7:14, the Newsboys, and the 2,000+ people who downloaded the app in the first weekend of the tour in unified prayer for revival for yourselves, your families, your churches and communities, and for America. Keep praying…it’s time!

If 714 prayer app SMALLTo download the free app to your Apple iPhone, click here now!

To download the free app to your Android device, click here now!

What makes this Summit so different?

FLS2016graphic498The 5th annual Family Leadership Summit may just be the most powerful, culture-impacting Summit yet.

Inspired, in part, by the exhortation to “think bigger” at the March 21 Holy Week Service at the Capitol, this year’s Summit boldly declares that our nation’s greatest hope lies not in our next human leader, but in God alone.

The “right person in office” isn’t going to fix America. Our problems are not just political, not just economic. No, America’s greatest need is spiritual. And politics aren’t going to fix that.

But God can.

Are you ready for a God-sized cultural transformation? So are we! Click here to join us at the 2016 Family Leadership Summit!

Let’s not sugarcoat the present reality. This election’s contentious political process has been an eye-opener for all of us. The public debate has been bitterly divisive. Our social media streams have been filled with vitriol. Our friends and respected leaders – many within the church! – have baffled us with their political alliances.

It’s not just the culture that’s been exposed as lost, broken, and undiscerning … the church has been exposed, too.

But at the same time, let’s not underestimate the redeeming power of God.

Throughout Scripture, we see that when God sets out to transform a culture – the very kind of transformational revival America needs most right now – He starts with the people called by His name.

In 2 Chronicles 7:14 God gives a template for seeking revival from His hand: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

There’s no sin too big for God to forgive. No wound too big for Him to heal. And no nation too lost for God to revive. But if we’re to seek Him for that kind of revival, we must begin … with us.

And that’s where the 2016 Family Leadership Summit comes in.

Keynote speakers Anne Graham Lotz, T.C. Stallings of the movie “War Room,” and biblical worldview scholar Dr. Del Tackett of “The Truth Project” will equip, inspire, and encourage believers toward personal revival and working to ignite a sweeping, culture-wide revival in America and the world.


Together with If 7:14, the movement that is igniting a global rhythm of prayer for revival, the 2016 Family Leadership Summit is inspiring Christians to engage America – families, churches, society, and government – with the one Spirit can that bring true cultural transformation: God’s spirit of revival.

Have you downloaded the free If 7:14 prayer app yet?
Click here now!

The 2016 Family Leadership Summit is “thinking bigger” and putting first things first. We’re not looking for a political victory; we’re aiming for a cultural transformation. A national heart change that begins with you and me, our families, our churches, our government, and more.

Will you join us?