The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States clearly forbids the establishment of religion by the government. Religious freedom is a core value of our shared democracy and must always be safeguarded. All religions and individual beliefs must be treated equally and with respect.
While defending religious freedom for individuals is essential, the rights of one religion should never be used as a tool for discrimination or to justify religious exemptions that impact the rights of other people. One religion should not be given preference by the government over any other, such as the posting of sacred texts or other religious displays on public property, including public schools.
Iowa’s Constitution and our civil rights law must be upheld to ensure the rights of people are protected, including those who have historically faced discrimination in employment, housing, credit, education, and public accommodations.
The voting rights of Iowans must be defended and expanded to provide easy access to voting for all citizens.
The LGBTQ+ community has long experienced discrimination at the hands of our government and the religious community. The government should never provide a legal path to discriminate against any person. Religious freedom must protect individual beliefs, but those personal beliefs should never be allowed to justify discrimination against another person.
Racism and racial injustices have been an abhorrent hallmark of our nation’s history. Religion, government, and public policy all play prominent roles in that history and the perpetuation of our nation’s original sin. The continued systemic impact on communities of color must be addressed and repaired through significant shifts in policy and intentional action.
Iowans have a right to quality reproductive healthcare and to make their own health decisions without the outside interference of the government or religion. The state must ensure all Iowans have access to quality reproductive healthcare and family planning services.
Immigrants come to Iowa and share our values of hard work, commitment to community, and strong families. They often face unfair discrimination and hate simply because of their race, religion, or country of origin. The state has a responsibility to provide opportunity and guard against efforts to demonize and discriminate.
Our children and communities are at risk with the increase of gun violence in our country. Commonsense public policies to increase gun safety must be protected and expanded. Additionally, communities of color and religious minorities are disproportionately impacted by gun violence. Political agendas that provide for unfettered gun rights over the safety of our children and communities must be prevented.
The death penalty has a disproportionate impact on people of color and those in poverty. Iowa must maintain its decades long ban on the death penalty.
Adequate funding of public schools must be a priority of the state. Public funds should not be diverted to subsidize private choices including for non-public schools, vouchers, homeschooling assistance, or school tuition organization tax credits.
Public schools must remain neutral regarding religion and must never promote any religious belief or practice. Comprehensive, science-based, age-appropriate sexuality education must be provided. Equality, safety, and respect for all Iowa children must be guaranteed.
Fair pay and benefits for Iowa workers must be guaranteed. The collective bargaining rights for Iowa’s public workers must be reinstated and protected. Iowa workers must be guaranteed a livable wage.
Iowa’s judicial merit selection and retention system of justices and judges was created with bi-partisan support in 1962. It has served our state well for more than five decades with the goal of keeping politics out of the courts and judicial independence secure. The appointment and retention of justices and judges should only be in question in cases of misconduct or malfeasance, not to forward a political or ideological agenda.
Our staff is available to provide a presentation on any of the issues for your congregation, community, workplace, or organization. You can find more information here.