Iowa Conservatives Threaten Community College’s Funding For Hosting Bullying Conference

Iowa’s Christian conservative group The FAMiLY Leader is once again objecting to the Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth, a yearly opportunity for students, teachers, and families across the state of Iowa to learn how to better protect LGBT young people from bullying. In the past, the group’s head Bob Vander Plaats has accused the conference of discriminating against straight students, even though allies are welcome.

At a press conference Thursday, The FAMiLY Leader and representatives from other groups (including hate group Concerned Women for America) objected to the conference for compromising the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality and using taxpayer funding in the process. Here’s FL’s Chuck Hurley admonishing LGBT advocates:

HURLEY: This Papa Bear is here to say, regarding the Governor’s Conference, stop coming after my kids and other people’s kids with evil propaganda. Stop twisting the Bible and stop using our tax dollars to do it. […]

We’re here today to warn parents and to warn lawmakers and other who are responsible for protecting those children, and to urge them to protect appropriate action to protect those children, such as not letting them go to this conference next week, such as considering home and private education if their schools are teaching the things this conference is advocating — that Iowa school districts teach — and above all, teaching our children the truth about the Bible, sexuality, and bullying.

Watch the full press conference (Part 2 here):

This year, the group is specifically targeting Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) for hosting the conference. A conservative student group, Young Americans for Freedom, filed a Freedom of Information Act request to confirm that the university was spending money to help fund the conference. Student Jake Dagel explained, “Diversity is not when you use my tuition money or our tax dollars to fund a conference that bullies people for their Christian or conservative beliefs.”

Sixteen lawmakers have threatened to cut DMACC’s funding for promoting groups “who pervert the Bible, teach our youth to engage in dangerous behavior, and target individuals like Jan Mickelson for hatred and bullying.” Mickelson is a conservative radio host in Iowa that regularly attacks LGBT equality on his show.

Unsurprisingly, none of the conservative religious leaders expressed any concern for the severe consequences LGBT youth experience when they are bullied or shamed by their community, including attempting suicide, homelessness, academic performance, and school truancy.