Many Iowans are stunned to learn that their state code, coupled with an Iowa Civil Rights Commission guideline, could be used to censor pastors from saying anything at a church service that would make homosexual or transgender individuals feel “unwelcome.”
*UPDATE: The Iowa Civil Rights Commission has since changed the wording of its brochure to be more protective of Iowa’s churches. But the change isn’t enough to fix the underlying statute, which could still be interpreted or applied in ways that threaten religious liberty in the state. Click here for further explanation from the Alliance Defending Freedom.
A brave Des Moines area church, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, is now suing the state over the statute, which could also be used to force churches to open their bathrooms to members of the opposite sex, ala the controversial Target stores policy.
Several people have contacted The FAMiLY LEADER, asking, “What can we DO about this?”
Here are several steps you can take:
1. Get educated: Alliance Defending Freedom is the Christian legal organization bringing the lawsuit. Go to their website and learn more about the specifics of the case by clicking here.
2. Pray: For Fort Des Moines Church of Christ and its pastor, Michael Demastus, and for the attorneys, judges, and Iowa’s elected officials, who could step in and resolve this without the need for a lawsuit. Also pray that God would use these circumstances in His mercy to expand, and not constrain, religious liberty in America.
3. Encourage your pastor: Like Moses in the wilderness trying to lead so many, your pastor faces a tidal wave of responsibilities and cares. And now your pastor faces potential government restrictions! So like Aaron and Hur did for Moses in Exodus 17, consider standing beside, supporting, and lifting your pastor up in prayer. Don’t just say, “I love you, Pastor, and I’m praying for you,” actually pray for and love on the shepherd of the flock.
4. Give: There are several organizations on the frontlines of defending your religious liberty every day, even when there aren’t high-profile cases making the news. Kindly consider financially supporting groups like Alliance Defending Freedom and The FAMiLY LEADER.
5. Talk to your state legislator: The problem stems from a section of Iowa Code 216.7, which leaves the door open for the Iowa Civil Rights Commission to label churches as “public accommodations.” Encourage your legislator to learn about the case and see why it’s necessary to amend this section of code and to more firmly protect religious liberty.
Ultimately, however, the roots of this latest threat against the church and against religious liberty lie in a culture that has lost its way and no longer knows what it means to honor “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.”
Without a fundamental, cultural change, mere legal or political victories will only slow the erosion of religious liberty in America. Even more than a victory in this case, America needs God. We need an honest-to-goodness revival, a cultural transformation that begins with those “called by My name” (2 Chronicles 7:14) and spreads to the wider society.
To join the movement of over 20,000 people in more than 30 countries around the world praying for just such a revival, please visit www.if714.com today.