Off The Record: On Religion, Politics & Equality
Three Cheers for The Constitution!
If you don’t know the hilariously spot on video from Iowa Filmakers “Iowa Nice” yet, sit down son, you’re about to be schooled.
Iowa Nice took the nation by storm – seriously. With a video made in response to the landslide of GOP’ers caucusing in the state, Scott Siepker and the brain trust at Iowa Filmakers came up with the perfect dressing down of the rest of you non-Iowans about the white bread notion that Iowa is a “flyover” state and we’re all “nice”.
Naturally, since Iowa is so awesome and the video so righteous – Iowa Nice Guy expanded. In state, we became aware of “Hawkeye Nice” and “Cyclone Nice” addressing the pressing concern of the long suffering in-state rivalry between Iowa State and the University of Iowa football clubs. Iowa Nice Guy has now been picked up by ESPN to do a proper rundown on college football twice a week. Nice.
Then, in a stroke of continuing genius came “Justice Nice”. This is the Iowa Nice Guy alerting you to a massive injustice about to be perpetrated on the Iowa people. The ousting of Iowa Supreme Court Justice Wiggens by Bob Vander Plaats, et. al.
Here’s the background for those of you not fully entrenched in Iowa politics.
The campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices over a 2009 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage has attracted the attention of some of the most influential conservative organizations in America, each working together and sharing materials, funding and staff with Iowa groups and churches.
That coordination will be on full display next week, when anti-gay marriage groups and politicians will hold 20 events in four days around the state hoping to rally public opinion against Iowa judges.
The face of the campaign, Bob Vander Plaats’ group Iowa for Freedom, is a project of Mississippi-based American Family Association. But they are not alone. The Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council, Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, Georgia-based Faith & Freedom Coalition and New Jersey-based National Organization for Marriage all bring direct funding or in-kind legal and promotional support to local organizations looking to oust the justices.
“They have chosen to come into Iowa because we have marriage rights for people who are gay and lesbian and they want to test in Iowa whether or not they can do something about that,” Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Executive Director Connie Ryan Terrell said. “So they are going after our judges and justices.”
Terrell believes people throughout the country should take special note of what happens in Iowa’s retention vote, as it could become a template for similar initiatives nationwide.
“People need to be aware that it seems this year all of the very right wing organizations have Iowa in their sights,” Ryan Terrell said in a phone interview. “That’s a scary proposition for our state and should be a red flag to Iowans. The fact that we have drawn so much attention from outside organizations, so much money is being spent by extreme religious right organizations — they are dumping money into our state.”
(this is from a post I wrote during the last round of anti-judege tomfoolery in Iowa.)
So, why should you care?
Because gay rights – aka civil rights aka marriage equality – is about all our rights. Because Bob Vander Plaats has a weird front comb over and only the not-best intentions. While he and Concerned Women for America’s non-concerned woman bashing Tamara Scott is clicking around in her fake Manolos talking about subjugation of women and gays abided in the Bible - you need to care.
Because what happens in Iowa does not stay in Iowa. Iowa is the testing ground my friends. And if our justices are politicized and exploited every two years – what do you think is going to happen to the rest of the country.
Spread the word. Share the video. And if you are an Iowa TURN OVER YOUR F*&@ING BALLOT and VOTE YES on Judicial Retention.