Good news! Iowa passes human trafficking bill

In the final moments before the legislative session closed in Des Moines Friday, lawmakers passed a bill designating nearly $1 million to help stop human trafficking in Iowa.

“It was people’s voices that made the difference,” commented Chuck Hurley, vice president of The FAMiLY LEADER and one of the measure’s most ardent supporters at the Iowa Capitol. “You were relentless in calling and emailing lawmakers, not letting this issue slip from the forefront of their minds. In the end, they couldn’t ‘go to bed’ until this task was done. And that’s because of you.”

Hurley called the bill a “huge and unprecedented” blow against an evil industry that has stolen, drugged, and enslaved Iowa girls and boys.

If signed into law by Gov. Terry Branstad, the bill will designate funds to train law enforcement officers and many others to combat human trafficking at three levels:

  • The first, “front line” of defense will train local, county, and state personnel on how to identify the signs of human trafficking crimes in their daily work
  • The second level will train officers how to process human trafficking incidents, so victims can be rescued from their captors and protected long-term against those who would re-terrorize or enslave them
  • The third level of training teaches law enforcement how to go after the “kingpins,” to turn local arrests into evidence that can take down not only the kidnappers and pimps, but also the cartels funding and fueling the human trafficking industry.

“We now have one fist to smash human traffickers,” Hurley said. “That’s a huge deal. A second ‘fist’ is still needed next year in the form of additional investigators and other operational costs, which was not quite possible in this budget year. Nonetheless, this is a huge victory.”

For Hurley, it’s also a personal victory.

“I became a foster parent about 30 years ago. I care deeply about kids and rescuing those in danger,” he said. “But for too long, we’ve been cleaning up after the crime instead of stopping it cold. This funding will help us go after the crime leaders, to eventually cut off the flow – to send a clear message to those who would victimize our children: ‘You’re not welcome in Iowa.'”

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In addition to thanking you, the people of Iowa, for joining us in the fight against human trafficking, The FAMiLY LEADER would like to thank several others who were key in developing this legislation:

  • The FAMiLY LEADER Capitol Team: Chuck Hurley, Danny Carroll, and Tamara Scott
  • Teresa Downing-Matibag, Ph.D., executive director of Network Against Human Trafficking
  • Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, R-Monticello
  • Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs
  • Iowa State Rep. Chuck Soderberg, R-Le Mars
  • Iowa State Sen. Bob Dvorsky, D-Coralville
  • Iowa State Sen. Kevin Kinney, D-Oxford, a former deputy sheriff with experience working on sex trafficking cases
  • Mike Ferjak of the Iowa Attorney General’s Office
  • Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

Several other legislators, activists, and organizations also contributed to this effort. With their help – and yours – Iowa will soon be a safer place for our children.

Iowa Legislature takes baby step for life

In intense negotiations at the Iowa Capitol, a Conference Committee Report was approved that requires women be “given the opportunity to view an ultrasound image of the fetus” as part of the standard of care before receiving an abortion.

The FAMiLY LEADER commends the hard work of many legislators in taking this step to defend the value of human life. Giving mothers an ultrasound of their child can only help reveal how precious life is, and it is our hope that these informed mothers will, indeed, embrace the life of their unborn child.

While in any legislation, there are always nuances we may wish were stronger, The FAMiLY LEADER remains committed to seeking a day when all life is cherished, from conception to natural death, in culture, in law, and in state spending priorities.

Want to know how you can support the work of The FAMiLY LEADER? Visit our action center today!

Big News! 2015 Family Leadership Summit tickets are FREE!

Great news! The FAMiLY LEADER announces tickets for the 4th Annual Family Leadership Summit at Stephens Auditorium in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday, July 18, 2015, are available to the public for the first time at no cost.

Why free?

It comes down to this: America’s liberties are on the line, our roots are being eroded, and we want you to be engaged in a critical discussion about our future.

We want you to be informed about the real issues America is facing. We want you to know you’re not alone. That’s why we’re so grateful for those who are making sure cost is not a factor preventing you from coming on July 18.

“Through the generosity of donors and supporters of The FAMiLY LEADER, and their commitment to engaging the family in the discussion about the future of our nation, we are thrilled to announce that the 2015 Family Leadership Summit will be a ticketed – but free – event,” says Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of The FAMiLY LEADER.

Click here now to register for your FREE tickets!

Why come?

The purpose of The Family Leadership Summit is to inspire, motivate, and educate conservatives regarding worldview application and the most pressing issues facing America’s families. The Summit will give you the opportunity to engage with national conservative leaders and hear their leadership vision on the issues that matter most to the future of America.

And … did we mention it’s free?

But getting the tickets for less doesn’t mean there’s anything less for you at this headliner event. Confirmed speakers for July 18 already include Gary Bauer, Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Marco Rubio, former Sen. Rick Santorum, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and more.


Last year’s Family Leadership Summit (which wasn’t free to attend) was a huge success, with more than 1,200 attendees and 100 members of the media and a lineup that included many of the conservative movement’s most prominent leaders, such as Dr. Alveda King, Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Tim Scott, Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Tony Perkins, Joel Rosenberg, Ken Cuccinelli, and many others.

This year’s event will also add additional names as the date draws near, making the Family Leadership Summit one of the most anticipated Iowa events of 2015.

Remember, though tickets are free, you are required to register for the Summit, and expect a freewill offering to be taken, so attendees can invest in engaging more Americans in the issues that affect their families in 2016 and beyond.

For more information about the event, visit by clicking here now.

We hope to see you there!

The following video recap of the 2014 Family Leadership Summit will also give you a taste of what to expect this year:


Video: Iowa National Security Action Summit

Attendees left thoroughly “wowed” by the Iowa National Security Action Summit in Waukee, Iowa, on May 16.

They heard from notable names like Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Phyllis Schlafly, Sen. Ted Cruz, and U.S. Rep Steve King. They got the unfiltered, inside scoop from a retired admiral who once commanded more ships than the entire U.S. Navy has on the seas today. They welcomed information and action steps on issues like refugee resettlement, Islamic terrorism, cybersecurity, a weakening military, and more.

The Summit was just too good to miss, the information presented too good to miss out on. That’s why we’ve made public the videos below. Don’t miss a moment; come back again and again until you’ve seen ’em all!

You can help The FAMiLY LEADER host more events like this by clicking here and making a donation today!

Discover other ways you can get involved in the ministry of The FAMiLY LEADER by clicking here to visit our Action Center.

Session I: Border and Immigration Security

U.S. Rep. Steve King

Phyllis Schlafly, founder of Eagle Forum

Ann Corcoran, Refugee Resettlement Watch

Rick Manning, Americans for Limited Government

Jan Mickelson, WHO Radio

Session II: America’s Electric Power Grid and Threats to Critical Infrastructure

Dr. Peter Vincent Fry, executive director, Task Force on National and Homeland Security

Dr. Henry Cooper, chairman, High Frontier

Zach Nunn, Iowa State Representative

Dr. Ben Carson

Session III: America’s Military in Decline

Admiral “Ace” Lyons, U.S. Navy, retired

Peter Huessy, president, GeoStrategic Analysis

Colonel Al Ringgenberg, U.S. Air Force, retired

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

Sen. Ted Cruz

Session IV: Shariah, the Global Jihad Movement, and the Islamic Republic of Iran

Frank Gaffney, president, Center for Security Policy

Donald Trump

Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO, The FAMiLY LEADER Foundation

Former Sen. Rick Santorum

You can help The FAMiLY LEADER host more events like this by clicking here and making a donation today!

Discover other ways you can get involved in the ministry of The FAMiLY LEADER by clicking here to visit our Action Center.

TFL shines The Truth on LGBTQ Conference

The FAMiLY LEADER’s new director of communications, Drew Zahn, visited with J. Michael “Mac” McKoy of 99.3, The Truth Network, about the 10th Annual Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth in Altoona, Iowa, on April 3.

Not familiar with the shocking content presented to Iowa’s schoolchildren at this conference? Click here to learn more.

At the heart of the interview – eyewitness transcripts of what was presented at the conference and how the confluence of LGBTQ issues and bullying is blowing up in our schools.

Watch the webcast with Drew Zahn, Mac McKoy, Frank “The Verse” Thomas, and Frank Meeink of Life After Hate below:

(Note: Some of the content of this interview is explicit in nature. Parental caution is advised.)

Discover how you can help shine the light in the darkness and get involved in the ministry of The FAMiLY LEADER by visiting our Action Center today!

Power of prayer leaps political borders

In Apopka, Florida, the fires of an “If 7:14” revival are burning.

The northwest suburb of Orlando made national news last year when, after an atheist organization complained of the high school football team’s chaplain, hundreds of community members stepped out of the stands following a game to “cover the field” in prayer.

This is a community that understands the power of “taking a knee.”

On Thursday, May 7, Apopka welcomed Bob Vander Plaats of The FAMiLY LEADER to share the “If 7:14” vision for a prayer and revival movement that can spread from Iowa, Florida, and anywhere the Spirit of God may be moving.

Vander Plaats told the story of taking his son Josh to another field – a baseball field in Sioux City, Iowa – for a Little League photograph.

150512funnelcloudWhile the dads stood around talking, Josh came over and tugged on his father’s sleeve. Pointing to the sky, Josh identified a funnel cloud threatening to strike the field with a tornado.

Vander Plaats said he grabbed his son, got him into the car, and tried to outdrive the looming storm. But funnel clouds began descending from the sky all around – four, in fact, that threatened to form tornadoes.

Vander Plaats turned the car for home instead and gathered his family into the basement to pray.

“When the funnel clouds come toward you, and you have nowhere else to run and nowhere else to hide, what do you do?” Vander Plaats asked the Apopka prayer gathering. “You start turning your focus back to God.”

That’s what “If 7:14” is all about: God’s people turning their focus away from every other source of security, turning away from their sin, and turning back to God.

Discover how you can join the If 7:14 movement by clicking here!

Local reports estimated 350 people attended Apopka’s 2015 Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning, including city commissioners, police and fire chiefs, pastors, and the city’s mayor.

Pastor Doug Bankson of the Victory Church World Outreach Center introduced Vander Plaats to those assembled. Bankson had met Vander Plaats on a trip to Israel.

“This man’s heart is for the people and for God,” Bankson said, according to The Apopka Chief newspaper. “You know people by the company they keep, but what’s more is by the people they influence.”

For years, Vander Plaats has influenced politics and policy in both Iowa and in presidential elections. But through “If 7:14,” Vander Plaats is seeing a message that resonates beyond politics and well beyond his home state of Iowa.

The “If 7:14” initiative, Vander Plaats told the gathering, comes at a time when America needs the healing promised in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

And though 2 Chronicles 7:14 was originally written for Israel and not the United States, Vander Plaats told the Apopka prayer gathering, this scripture gives a glimpse into God’s heart about spiritual revival. The scripture is not focused on our troubles or perceived enemies, but on us. Revival in America and its institutions can’t happen unless it begins in the heart.

“Revival is an ‘inside-out’ proposition, not an ‘outside-in’ proposition,” Vander Plaats said, according to the Chief.

Bob Vander Plaats in Apopka, Florida
Bob Vander Plaats in Apopka, Florida

God wants people to “seek His face” so they see things the way He sees them and turn back to Him, Vander Plaats explained. This includes repenting from indifference about God or thinking God has no permission to speak to public life, a stiff-arm of God that Vander Plaats said “is killing this country.”

“When it’s people’s turns – leaders, pastors, parents, public officials, teachers, you name it – to take to the microphone and say something like, ‘No, that’s not right; that’s wrong,’ we backed away,” the Chief quoted Vander Plaats as saying. “We backed away because it was too ‘hot,’ ‘too controversial.'”

But the healing America needs won’t be found in silencing the Word of God; instead, it will come in heeding it – specifically, in heeding the call to repentance and prayer of 2 Chronicles 7:14.

As Vander Plaats told the prayer warriors in Apopka, “I don’t think [God] is done with this country yet … this city yet … your home yet … your church yet.”

Discover how you can join the If 7:14 movement by clicking here!

Learn other ways you can get involved in the ministry of The FAMiLY LEADER by clicking here.

ACTION ALERT, May 8 – Stop human trafficking now

Your immediate action could save the lives of Iowa’s daughters.

Human trafficking is more widespread in Iowa than most people realize. Our Interstate system and truck-stop network make Iowa fertile ground for this heinous crime. Just this week, CBS reported the case of an Iowa girl kidnapped, drugged, tortured, and forced into a prostitution ring halfway across the country.

Now a bill to combat these crimes is being considered in joint committee in the Iowa Legislature. But this critical piece of legislation is hanging by a thread and is in danger of being tabled as this session comes to a close.

Yet if we act together now, we can make a difference in the lives of countless girls and boys!

What can I do?

We are urging you to send just one email, but do it now. By following the steps below, you can contact the governor’s office, legislative leaders, and the 10 members of the joint committee all at once – yet this weekend is critical, as the bill’s fate will likely be decided Monday, May 11, or immediately thereafter.

Send just one email to the key people who hold this legislation in their hands. Your voice could determine whether or not law enforcement officers get the funding they need to rescue Iowa boys and girls and stop human traffickers now.

Here’s how

Three steps:

1. Draft an email to Gov. Terry Branstad through his office at

2. Then, copy and paste the following list of email addresses into the carbon copy or “cc” box of that same email:;;;;;;;;;;;;;

3. Include a simple, urgent plea, such as the following sample text, in the body of the email, and hit send. It’s that simple. But by following through now, the next boy or girl you save could be someone you know.

Dear Iowa leader,

As a fellow Iowan, I am urging you to fully fund needed efforts to stop human trafficking in Iowa.

The bill being considered in joint committee right now, SF 497, will help save the lives of Iowa sons and daughters.

PLEASE, don’t let this session close without passing this critical piece of legislation. What priority could be more important than protecting and defending the lives of our children from those who would kidnap and horribly abuse them?

Sincerely and with great respect,

[city], Iowa

Discover other ways you can get involved by clicking here!

Visit our Facebook page for ongoing updates on this effort by clicking here.

‘I can’t help but feel a revival is coming’

Over 120 Iowans met in the Capitol Rotunda Thursday, April 30, reminded of the words of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, declaring America’s dependence on God, as well as Abraham Lincoln, who in 1863 proclaimed April 30 as a day of fasting, repentance, prayer.

But this wasn’t a rally to champion America’s Christian heritage or Christian conservative causes.

It was a day of humiliation.

150430iowaprayerdayAs 2 Chronicles 7:14 declares, and as was proclaimed several times as the same Scripture was read beneath the Capitol’s golden dome, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Just as in Lincoln’s day, when the U.S. was bitterly divided in the midst of a brutal Civil War, America today is sharply divided and in need of God’s mercy to bring hope, forgiveness and healing.

At the Capitol, those gathered for the Iowa Call to Prayer heard from pastors, Iowa legislators, and other faith leaders about the need for God’s people, those “called by my name,” to lead the nation toward repentance. The turning back to God, they were told, must begin with the church.

Iowa State Rep. Steven Holt boldly challenged those present to learn from the church’s mistakes in history and not permit America’s freedom of religion to be convoluted into freedom from religion.

Pastor Andre Brooks of Kingdom Life International Family Ministries in Des Moines, Iowa, called on those present to raise their hands in surrender to God, to seek God’s forgiveness and call for revival.

Bob Vander Plaats of The FAMiLY LEADER warned that Christian leaders and churches cannot, as they have too often in the past, remain silent behind their wooden doors, afraid to pick up the microphone when the culture needs their voices most.

Several of the speakers led those present to pray in repentance, to pray for our pastors and leaders, and to pray for our nation.

Yet even in the humiliation, the confession, and the repentance, attendees did not leave feeling shamed or downtrodden.

For even as in 2 Chronicles 7:14, when God’s people return to Him, the promise remains that God will hear from heaven and will hear their land.

“I can’t help it,” said The FAMiLY LEADER’s Greg Baker as he walked down the Capitol’s north stairs into the sunshine of a glorious April day in Iowa, “I can’t help but feel a revival is coming.”

Discover how you can get involved in the ministry of The FAMiLY LEADER by visiting our Action Center today!

Iowans lead nation – again – to prayer

In 1863, an Iowan by the name of Sen. James Harlan asked President Abraham Lincoln to proclaim a national day of prayer.

Lincoln agreed, declaring by presidential proclamation April 30 as a “day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer.”

Now, on April 30, 2015, in the spirit of 2 Chronicles 7:14 – “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” – Iowans will once again lead the nation to prayer and repentance.

As part of a nationwide effort, you are invited to the Iowa Call to Prayer, to gather at the State Capitol, where together we will humble ourselves, pray, and seek God’s healing for our land:

DATE: April 30, 2015
TIME: Noon to 1:30 p.m.
PLACE: Iowa Capitol Rotunda, Des Moines
COST: None

In cooperation with the National Governor’s Prayer Team, Concerned Women of America, The FAMiLY LEADER, Iowa For Jesus Network, Transformations Group, AGLOW, National Day of Prayer, National Day of Repentance, American Renewal Project, the Iowa Prayer Caucus, and other faith-based organizations, Iowans will join together to declare April 30 a day of repentance again.

As Abraham Lincoln wrote in his proclamation:

“All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.”

The April 30 gathering at the Capitol will include several key prayer initiatives:

  • National Day of Repentance
  • The kickoff of the In God We Trust Campaign
  • Stand Up for Your Biblical Foundations & Religious Liberties
  • A Call to Unceasing Prayer for Iowa & Our Nation

Speakers will include Iowa state legislators, Bob Vander Plaats of The FAMiLY LEADER, Ginny Caligiuri of the Iowa Prayer Caucus, and more.

In addition, attendees will be invited and given the opportunity on April 30 to sign the same “Call to Prayer for America” proclamation that many of Iowa’s legislators have signed.

Come, join with us in prayer – take a long lunch break if you’re already in the area – and let’s declare the United States a people repentant and call upon God to bring His healing again!

Visit for more information, to donate, or to sign up for prayer. The website also includes links to the Million Windows Campaign and the April 30th event page on Facebook.

For more information contact Ginny Caligiuri at or call 641-223-0166.

Discover other ways you can get involved in the ministry of The FAMiLY LEADER by visiting our Action Center today!

Harvard prof explains why faith critical to America

Discover how you can get involved in the defense of religious liberty and the ministry of The FAMiLY LEADER by visiting our Action Center today!

The FAMiLY LEADER responds to defense of LGBTQ Conference

Iowa Safe Schools has issued multiple statements since attendees of the 10th annual Iowa Governors Conference on LGBTQ Youth exposed obscene and sexually explicit content at the event.

Read the Fox News column that blew the cover off this startling story.

What Iowa Safe Schools has not done, however, is issue any sort of apology or admission of error. Iowa Safe Schools has issued no condemnation, for example, of the presenter who instructed LGBTQ kids at an “anti-bullying” conference to “slash the tires” of their fellow students.

Iowa Safe Schools would like to suggest that despite profanity-strewn and admittedly graphic, explicit presentations, that the Governors Conference is still, on the whole, a benefit to Iowa students.

The FAMiLY LEADER questions the judgment of exposing children as young as 8th grade to this kind of material. Clearly a conference that encourages children to lick one another’s anuses and use hormone-altering drugs to delay their puberty is placing other priorities above keeping kids “safe.” Clearly a conference that teaches children to ridicule those who hold altering viewpoints on same-sex marriage and “slash their tires” is placing other priorities above “anti-bullying.”

The FAMiLY LEADER believes that Iowa’s school boards, teachers, and administrators have a right to know the kind of content they are sponsoring and would suggest that there are better methods for addressing the problem of bullying in schools and better methods of keeping our kids safe than allowing presenters with this little discretion and decency to instruct Iowa’s children.

National security summit comes to Iowa

Keeping your family safe is one of your top priorities. But we live in a nation where not everyone takes security seriously.

That’s why The FAMiLY LEADER Foundation is partnering with the Center for Security Policy and High Frontier to introduce the Iowa National Security Action Summit on May 16.

The Action Summit – headlined by Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, U.S. Rep. Steve King, Dr. Ben Carson, former Sen. Rick Santorum, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Donald Trump, and more – will cover four key topics of interest to both our nation and the state of Iowa:

  1. The threat from Iran, Shariah, and the global jihad movement
  2. Border insecurity and illegal immigration
  3. The hollowing out of the U.S. military
  4. America’s electrical power grid and threats to critical infrastructure


The event will be held will be held May 16 from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Point of Grace Church, 305 NE Dartmoor Drive, Waukee, Iowa.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased through the Eventbrite website. A boxed lunch will be provided.

Click here to purchase your tickets now!

Confirmed speakers include Rep. King; Sen. Santorum; Gov. Jindal; Dr. Carson; businessman Donald Trump; Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO, The FAMiLY LEADER; Admiral James “Ace” Lyons (U.S. Navy, ret.); Ann Corcoran, Refugee Resettlement Watch; Dr. Henry Cooper, chairman, High Frontier; Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, executive director, Task Force on National & Homeland Security; Peter Huessy, president, GeoStrategic Analysis; and Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy.

Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of The FAMiLY LEADER Foundation, said, “We welcome Frank Gaffney and his team to Iowa and are very grateful to partner with the Center for Security Policy to help provide an Iowa focus on national security and the dangers facing America’s families.”

The Iowa National Security Action Summit is designed to ensure that our national security receives the attention it requires from elected officials and their constituents, alike – both at the federal and state level.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr., president of the Center for Security Policy, said, “Americans are increasingly aware that the world is becoming an ever more dangerous place. They expect their leaders to protect them and our vital interests around the world. The National Security Action Summit is a place where the best minds convene to lay out the best ideas for doing that.”

Press credentials will be required for the event. Members of the press may contact Drew Zahn at, 515-263-3495, ext.109 (office), 515-835-9645 (cell), to request credentials.

Click here to download the flier to inform others of the event :