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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Flickr Creative Commons photo by Alan Light.
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Alan Light.

Groups that helped oust Iowa judges earn ‘hate group’ designation

SPLC adds American Family Association, Family Research Council to list
By Lynda Waddington | 11.23.10 | 2:08 pm

Several of the out-of-state organizations that played a key role in advocating for the November ouster of three Iowa Supreme Court justices have been labeled as “hate groups” by a national civil rights watchdog.

The Southern Poverty Law Center announced Tuesday that, after researching the views of 18 anti-gay groups, an additional 13 would be placed on its 2011 listing of hate groups.

“Generally, the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about [homosexual] people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name calling,” explained Evelyn Schlatter of the SPLC. “Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.”

Added to the list for next year is the American Family Association, which was the primary funder for Bob Vander Plaats’ organization, Iowa for Freedom.

… The AFA seeks to support “traditional moral values,” but in recent years it has seemed to specialize in “combating the homosexual agenda.” In 2009, it hired Bryan Fischer, the former executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance, as its director of analysis for government and policy. Taking a page from the anti-gay fabulist Scott Lively (see Abiding Truth Ministries, above), Fischer claimed in a blog post last May 27 that “[h]omosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.” (Ironically, the elder Wildmon was widely denounced as an anti-Semite after suggesting that Jews control the media, which the AFA says “shows a genuine hostility towards Christians.”) Fischer has described Hitler as “an active homosexual” who sought out gays “because he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough.” He proposed criminalizing homosexual behavior in another 2010 blog post and has advocated forcing gays into “reparative” therapy. In a 2010 “action alert,” the AFA warned that if homosexuals are allowed to openly serve in the military, “your son or daughter may be forced to share military showers and barracks with active and open homosexuals.” …

The Family Research Council, based in Washington, D.C., and the Family Research Institute, based in Colorado, are also organizations that have sought to influence the views of Iowans, especially in the political realm. It was the Family Research Council, a national affiliate of the Iowa Family Policy Center, that sponsored an Iowa bus tour featuring national and state conservative leaders to urge residents to oust the three Iowa Supreme Court justices that appeared on the November ballot.

Started as a small think tank by Gary Bauer, the former U.S. undersecretary of education under Ronald Reagan, the Family Research Council (FRC) merged with the much larger religious-right group Focus on the Family in 1988. Bauer lobbied on behalf of Focus until 1992, when the two groups legally separated to protect Focus’ tax-exempt status. By that time, FRC had become a powerful group on its own.

Headed today by former Louisiana State Rep. Tony Perkins, the FRC has been a font of anti-gay propaganda throughout its history. It relies on the work of Robert Knight, who also worked at Concerned Women for America but now is at Coral Ridge Ministries, along with that of FRC senior research fellows Tim Dailey (hired in 1999) and Peter Sprigg (2001). Both Dailey and Sprigg have pushed false accusations linking gay men to pedophilia: Sprigg has written that most men who engage in same-sex child molestation “identify themselves as homosexual or bisexual,” and Dailey and Sprigg devoted an entire chapter of their 2004 book Getting It Straight to similar material. The men claimed that “homosexuals are overrepresented in child sex offenses” and similarly asserted that “homosexuals are attracted in inordinate numbers to boys.” …

Also included on the 2011 “hate group” listing are Abiding Truth Ministries (Massachusetts), Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, American Vision, Chalcedon Foundation (California), Christian Anti-Defamation Commission (California), Dove World Outreach Center (Florida), Faithful Word Baptist Church (Arizona), Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment (Illinois), Illinois Family Institute (Illinois), MassResistance (Massachusetts), and Traditional Values Coalition (California).

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  • Anonymous

    Good as they should……they did NOTHING but bring divisiviness to Iowa, pitting neighbor against neighbor…..while filling thier own greedy hate filled coffers $$$$ …and of course I knew Vanderscum would be offered a consulting job with them…I called that one.

  • Rob Kaiser

    The Southern Poverty Law Center is and has been a joke for several years. It is basically a leftist attack group.

    • egc52556

      I’m not surprised that the you would try to attack the messenger. The SPLC is one of the most highly regarded anti-hate organizations in the world.

      Your smear doesn’t get past the fact that what they reported is true.

    • Anonymous

      Take your Opus Recti rubbish elsewhere.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think they’re the joke pal.

  • Anonymous

    Finally….the SPLC has exposed these groups for what they really are.

  • Johnny

    The headline is seriously misleading. These groups were not labeled hate-groups because they targeted Iowa judges. They were named hate groups because they continue to promote discredited science as if it were fact, with the specific goal of demonizing gay people. And they earned this specific distinction on a day when hate-crime statistics show that gays suffer twice as many such incidents as blacks or Jews, and more than twice as many as any other oft-targeted group in this country.

    These groups and their leaders not only perpetuate the discrimination that underlies these incidents of violence – they PROFIT off it, and have for decades. Their JOB is to demonize gays.

  • Jonathan

    While I’m glad groups which vilify homosexuals are identified, I have to wonder why the SPLC doesn’t have Islam at the top of the list, let alone why it omits it completely from the list. Islam is the only religion which currently – and very publicly – calls for the *execution* of gay people.

    This teaching derives from the Koran, and the Sunnah – the recorded actions and sayings of Muhammad, which Muslims believe are instructive.
    For example the hadith of Sunan Abu-Dawud
    Book 38, Number 4447:
    The Prophet (pbuh) said: “If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done.”
    Book 38, Number 4448:
    “If a man who is not married is seized committing sodomy, he will be stoned to death.”

    Numerous clips of Islamic clerics echo this teaching on Youtube, while renowned Islamic scholars preach this at Islamic websites, and a simple search of the net reveals many recent photos of gays being hanged by the neck in Islamic countries like Iran. So c’mon SPLC – show you actually care about the worst of the worst, and that you don’t just cherry-pick targets due to an ideological bias.

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