There were two conferences this past weekend in Des Moines, Iowa, each with markedly different visions and missions. One was called the “America’s First Freedom 2015: A Civil Conversation” and the other just, Freedom 20i5. The first, a panel discussing religious freedoms according to 13 WHO TV this week. The second, one under the guise of religious freedoms, but addressing an all together different agenda as reported by Reverb Press Nov. 9. Both conferences were attended by political strongholds, with 3 GOP candidates hoping to make it to the Presidential ticket in attendance and on the speaking docket for Freedom 2015. And as many outlets reported on the conclusion of the conference, the agenda of Freedom 2015 did not seem to be about religious liberty at all. Instead it appeared as one with a vision that supports the death penalty for homosexuals.
13 WHO TV reports that the Freedom 2015 conference drew in over 1600 Christians “from around the country.” A look at the Freedom 2015 Conference website reveals that all Presidential candidates for 2016 were invited, including Democrats. Hillary Clinton declined.
Freedom 2015, officially known as the National Religious Liberties Conference, claims to be concerned over matters like the one in Kentucky where Kim Davis was jailed for refusing to issue same sex marriage licenses. One couple who spoke at the conference “were forced” to close their gallery and business after the Iowa Civil Rights Commission ruled they were to permit same sex weddings in their venue.
A look at the website for Freedom 2015 calls Christians “the most persecuted group” in America. And yet, they do seem to support the death penalty for homosexuals, who some consider to be a pretty persecuted group. Pastor Kevin Swanson who led the conference says,
“Christians don’t have the ability to pray in public places as in football fields, not able to pray in city council meetings, not able to put Christmas displays up in homes. You have sort of a rising opposition to Christians.”
But what is killing gay people, or even wanting to, if it is not persecution and opposition? The evangelical groups that sponsored Freedom 2015 include the American Family Association, Samaritan Industries, Generations and the Liberty Institute according to 13 WHO TV. Our source, also a Christian, who attended the conference described it as a “right winged propaganda bigot fest that is nothing like what Jesus would do.”
The second conference in Des Moines this weekend was called “America’s First Freedom 2015: A Civil Conversation.” It took place in the State Historical Building and involved a discussion of religious freedom as well. However Donna Red of One Iowa told WHO TV that, despite the similarities in names and seemed intentions,
“These two events could not be more different. Freedom 2015 embraces a perversion of America’s first freedom and encourages bias and prejudice, religious liberty is not and should never be discriminatory.”
A “perversion of freedoms” is precisely how many outlets are perceiving the statements made by the Freedom 2015 participants. A commentary by President of People for the American Way appeared in the Advocate before the conference even occurred, warning potential attendees “don’t be fooled” by the term religious freedoms.
Michael Keegan commented for the Advocate saying the conference was “a cover for a political agenda that’s about anything but liberty.” The GOP Presidential candidates that spoke at the conference were Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, and Mike Huckabee. In Keegan’s commentary to the Advocate he wrote how the entire conference was just a mask to use “the power of government to impose their religious beliefs on others.”
Religious arguments disguising political agendas are nothing new to America. Isnt’ that what ISIS claims their war is about? But it’s not. It’s about money and oil. And Keegan wrote that Freedom 2015 was all about garnering power to push political agendas wrapped in anti-gay sentimentality.
Conference speakers reportedly tried to use Bible verses as “evidence” that God wants us to kill the gays. Three of the speakers at this conference did this, most notably Pastor Kevin Swanson. Pastor Swanson preached that Uganda has it right when they kill gay people saying, the Old Testament requires “homosexuals should be put to death.”
Pastor Swanson believes that working mothers are also the ruin of society. As Keegan wrote, Swanson even blamed the Colorado wildfires on women because they wear pants now. Phillip Kayser is another speaker who supports death penalty for homosexuals. He said,
“While many homosexuals would be executed, the threat of capital punishment can be restorative.”
Swanson also believes that any Christian attending a homosexual wedding should put up a sign, during the wedding, that the couple should be put to death, according to the Reverb Press. He also wants America to repent for supporting the homosexuality that he finds in “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Harry Potter.”
The video shown here is an interesting statement on Swanson’s beliefs, and are the closing remarks of the Freedom 2015 conference. In this video he blames Harry Potter and country music for ruining America.
While Mike Huckabee did not speak about killing gay people in his speech, he did not that he was against abortion. He says if he makes it to the Oval, overturning Roe v. Wade will be first on his agenda. He made these statements during his speech at Freedom 2015 this weekend.
The Presidential hopefuls were very careful in their speeches, but Keegan for the Advocate says, that’s not enough. He says it’s clear what the agendas of groups like Freedom 2015 are.
“Swanson and his allies have something else in mind. They aren’t interested in preventing a theocracy that quashes religious dissent. Instead, they want to create one. Anyone, especially candidates for President of the United States should think twice before associating themselves with such an agenda.”
That seems to be a fairly common reaction since this conference. What do you think? Is it scary to think a future President attended a conference like this?