VIDEO: Frank Luntz visits TFL on eve of 2020 Caucuses

With only days to go before the 2020 Iowa Presidential Caucuses, nationally prominent pollster Frank Luntz brought a group of international students on an immersive trip into American elections to The FAMiLY Leader headquarters in Urbandale, Iowa.

Luntz told TFL the students had visited with presidential hopefuls Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, and they were about to leave for Washington, D.C., to witness the impeachment hearings for President Trump – but Luntz said their trip to Iowa wouldn’t be complete without visiting The FAMiLY Leader.

“I want them to come to Iowa, because I want them to know the truth – how the caucuses work, I want them to meet the voters of Iowa, I want them to experience an American election,” Luntz told TFL President and CEO Bob Vander Plaats. “And I want them to get as close as they can to the candidates, so they can get the chance to judge them the way Iowa voters do.”

Luntz explained he wanted to bring the students to TFL because he wanted them to also hear from a conservative perspective.

Because this year’s caucuses are focused on only the Democrat side of the ticket, Luntz told Vander Plaats, “[The students] have been surrounded by one half of the electorate, and I wanted them to hear from you and the other half. And you’ve had so much influence on the voters here, so much influence on the outcome here, that I thought you were the perfect person to provide that information.”

Luntz brought 15 students, representing 11 nations – including China, Ecuador, Greece, India, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, and more.

With the students watching in the TFL studio audience, Luntz sat down and talked with Vander Plaats about Iowa’s key role in “listening for America,” the moment everyone thought Donald Trump was done-for, why Democrats are mistaken to abandon faith voters, the most memorable moment in Luntz’s distinguished career (which happened at a TFL event), and more:

The FAMiLY Leader serves a unique role in American politics, standing at the intersection of faith and government, and doing so with a biblical voice committed to civility and speaking the truth in love. Your support of TFL is truly changing the way the Church in America impacts the wider culture. Please consider giving today to this important cause!

TFL’s Capitol Connection: Protect Life Amendment advances!

Drew, Chuck, and Danny report from the Iowa Capitol on what has been an unusually busy and exciting first week of the Iowa Legislative session.

Among the big topics – A governor taking bold leadership on life, and the Protect Life Amendment clearing its first hurdle by passing an Iowa Senate subcommittee:

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VIDEO: Gov. Reynolds calls for amendment to protect life

The FAMiLY Leader applauds Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ declaration in her Condition of the State Address that Iowa must protect life by passing an amendment that makes it clear the Iowa Constitution does not grant a “right” to abortion.

Watch the governor’s comments on life and Bob Vander Plaats’ brief comments in response below:

Join the team that’s defending and protecting life in Iowa! Give to The FAMiLY Leader today!

“The vast majority of Iowans support commonsense regulations that would protect mothers and children from efforts to expand abortion even to the day of birth, or designs to make Iowa taxpayers fund abortions,” commented The FAMiLY Leader President and CEO Bob Vander Plaats. “But in 2018, unelected judges stripped the right from all Iowans to determine for ourselves commonsense abortion law.

“So the governor is right to call on legislators to correct the courts and give We the People of Iowa our voice back,” he continued. “I sincerely hope our elected representatives will respond to her leadership by advancing the Protect Life Amendment.”

In the 2018 Planned Parenthood v. Reynolds decision the Iowa State Supreme Court declared abortion a “fundamental right” that could only be restricted under “strict scrutiny,” a radical position that extends far beyond Roe v. Wade.

The legal language in the ruling paves the way for future courts to overturn almost any abortion restriction or safeguard ever passed by the Iowa Legislature. In his dissenting opinion, Iowa State Supreme Court Justice Mansfield further warned the language could be a stepping stone to requiring taxpayer funding of elective abortions.

“The overwhelming majority of Iowans, if given the chance, would protect women and children from gruesome, late-term and partial-birth procedures,” Vander Plaats continued. “We would insist abortion clinics maintain basic safety standards. We can’t imagine being compelled to pay for abortions. That’s why the amendment the governor called for is so important.”

“That the Court would undermine protections for fully-formed, full-term babies in the womb is just appalling,” added Drew Zahn, director of communications for The FAMiLY Leader. “By now, we’ve heard all the arguments about abortion. But there’s one truth we can’t argue away. That little girl in her mother’s womb – she’s a baby, and she deserves protection.”

2019 VIDEO: “Above and beyond measure”

The FAMiLY Leader President and CEO Bob Vander Plaats has a message for you – a message of gratitude for 2019 and expectant hope for 2020:

THANK YOU for being a part of The FAMiLY Leader’s ministry. We couldn’t do any of what we do without your prayers, your support, and your work with us!

To make your best year-end gift to this ministry, or to join us at any time of the year, please click here now. THANK YOU!

Pastor Equipping Webinar: Criminal justice reform

“Church and Government: How can my church advocate for justice reform and why does it matter?”

Do you have questions about what the Christian response to crime and over-incarceration in America should be? Would you be interested in tools to equip your church to pursue justice that restores? Please watch this webinar to understand why and how Christians should care for prisoners and advocate for justice reform.

Our featured speakers include Vice President of Government Affairs and Church Mobilization at Prison Fellowship Heather Rice-Minus, Pastor Quovadis Marshall of Hope City Church in Waterloo, Iowa, and Pastor Jon Kelly of Chicago West Bible Church in Chicago, Illinois:

Pastor Equipping Webinar: Mental health

When roughly one out of every five adults in America is struggling with mental health issues, it has become clear that churches need to understand how mental health impacts their community and what they can do to help.

To that end, TEAM Restoration Ministries has a God-driven commitment and passion for facilitating the healing and strengthening of marriages, families, and individuals through the blood of Jesus and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

Joel Fry, president of TEAM Restoration Ministries, shares how TEAM is working with the Church to address mental health and meet mental health needs in communities:

Pastor Equipping Webinar: Human Trafficking Solutions

Joy Fopma with Wings of Refuge in Iowa Falls presents the startling reality of human trafficking and how churches can both combat this wickedness and bring help and hope to those who have been trafficked.

There are over 27 million slaves in the world today, more than at any point in human history, and 80 percent of them are sexually exploited. Fopma reveals real-life evidence and stories that show this isn’t just a third-world problem, but a shocking reality, especially in Iowa.

But Fopma’s experience with Wings of Refuge shows there’s something local churches can do to make a real difference in real lives:

WATCH: Sen. Joni Ernst stands up for life

Iowa’s U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst spoke to the 2019 Family Leadership Summit on July 12 in West Des Moines, sharing her heart for unborn children.

One of the highlights: Sen. Ernst’s inspiring story of her own daughter, who stood for life among a generation that may be more pro-life than we realize:

Discover more of what happened at the 2019 Family Leadership Summit!

WATCH: Sen. Tom Cotton defends religious liberty

At the 2019 Family Leadership Summit on July 12 in West Des Moines, U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) reached back into American history, built upon his own military service, and spoke to today’s headlines to deliver a powerful and inspiring defense of what he called our “first freedom,” our religious liberty.

Issuing a call for all Christians to stand together in unity, Sen. Cotton’s speech was one of the highlights of the 2019 Family Leadership Summit:

Discover more of what happened at the 2019 Family Leadership Summit!

VIDEO: Teens recap amazing LEAD week!

Forty-six teenagers from Iowa and beyond attended The FAMiLY LEADER’s 2nd annual LEAD week, a program that disciples students through biblical worldview training and practical leadership experiences.

LEAD is a big part of extending to the next generation TFL’s mission of inspiring Christ-like leadership, as we seek a revived America that honors God and blesses people.

And in this second year of the LEAD program, the TFL staff added a “media” track, training students in news journalism with integrity and giving them the opportunity to try their hand at reporting the week’s top news. The media students researched, interviewed, and wrote stories for a daily newspaper as well as produced a pair of news broadcasts to cover the week’s events.

The video below is the second of those broadcasts, a light-hearted but earnest look at many of the week’s activities:

LEAD is not a typical summer camp. LEAD runs authentic leadership simulations where high school students have the opportunity to experience the roles of community leaders (like state legislators or news media) first-hand, making decisions that would affect millions of people in the state. Mix that in with engaging biblical worldview discussions, faith-building worship and chapel, a hearty dose of games and recreational activities (and awesome relationships built throughout the week), and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what LEAD looks like.

But the real heart of LEAD is equipping a new generation of leaders to be ambassadors for Christ in whatever field God calls them to. Whether the students become legislators, reporters, businesspeople, pastors, parents – wherever God takes them – the LEAD experience inspires the confidence and biblical thinking skills needed to be salt and light to our culture.

Next year’s keynote LEAD worldview speaker is Sean McDowell! Make sure you’re on TFL’s mailing list, so you can get YOUR teen signed up as soon as registration opens for 2020 LEAD!

Chuck Hurley talks ‘religious tolerance’ on KCRG-TV

The FAMiLY LEADER’s Chuck Hurley appeared on KCRG’s Ethical Principles on The News episode “What Does Religious Tolerance Mean Today?” with moderator Leon Tabak on July 23. Joining Hurley on the show, representing the Muslim community, was Imam Hassan M. Selim from the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids and from the Jewish community, Rabbi Todd Thalblum of temple Judah also in Cedar Rapids.

During the episode, the representatives discussed topics like division in America and how we can tolerate or respect people with views and religious beliefs that differ from our own.

When discussing whether store owners have the right to refuse custom services that violate their conscience, like in the Masterpiece Cakeshop of Colorado incident where the owner refused to make a custom cake for a same-sex wedding ceremony, views around the table differed.

Rabbi Thalblum argued Masterpiece Cakeshop’s refusal amounted to illegal discrimination, claiming store owners are obligated to serve the public. Chuck Hurley countered that the State of Colorado’s punishment of the cakeshop infringed upon on the store owner’s right of conscience and religious liberty.

“My view is all Americans should be able to live and work according to the dictates of their conscience without fear of unjust government punishment,” Hurley said.

At the conclusion of the half-hour discussion, the differing views came together to agree on one thing: respect. Although they, and the rest of the nation, may disagree with one another, it’s important that we still respect each other.

“We’re supposed to love our neighbor even if we disagree with them,” said Hurley, vice president and chief counsel of The FAMiLY LEADER. “Is it difficult? Yes. Vital? Absolutely.”

“Its OK to have differences,” said Selim, “as long we know how to express them and listen to each other.”

Watch the full episode and hear what Hurley and the other guests said below:

WATCH: Sen. Ben Sasse talks ‘tribalism’ at Summit

One of the highlights of the 2019 Family Leadership Summit on July 12 in West Des Moines was an analysis of division in America, presented by U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE).

In a fast, but deep and content-packed address, Sasse discussed the cultural and historical factors that have led to a breakdown in community and a rise of “tribalism,” both in politics and in the American culture.

Put on your thinking cap, buckle your seatbelt, and see for yourself why so many of the 2019 Summit attendees were buzzing about Sasse’s speech:

Discover more of what happened at the 2019 Family Leadership Summit!