Student proselytizing

The article Students move in faith appeared in the ISU Daily today, showing the Christian perspective of student proselytizing, taken to the extreme of 50+ students changing schools to start a new ministry. An article tomorrow will show the ethical and administrative perspectives.

What are your thoughts on the article, and on these questions?

    The full text of the article is reposted here for posterity because the ISU Daily search engine does not work well and we want to be sure that anyone who wants to read the article can find it.

    Continue reading


    Request to postpone vote on chapel bill


    At tonight’s GSB meeting (7pm in the MU Campanile Room), senators will consider a bill about the MU Chapel. I am concerned that they have not given enough consideration to all of the issues nor have they collected enough feedback from students (particularly students that are other than Christian or atheist) in order to make a sound decision on this issue. Therefore, I have requested that they postpone the vote until more information can be gathered. Some of these issues were brought up the Politics Hour show on KURE, which I was a part of (audio can be found at the host’s website). I hope you will attend the meeting and share your thoughts on these issues. Continue reading

    Memorial Union Chapel Feedback Request

    Update: The GSB University Affairs subcommittee has updated the legislation to include the recommendation of not removing the religious symbolism but instead allowing students to bring in their own religious symbols to put in the chapel. The first reading and discussion in front of all of GSB is tonight(Oct. 21st) at 7:30 in the campanile room.

    On Monday October 12th I was asked to contact GSB to inform them of my opinion on the issue of removing the religious symbols in the Memorial Union chapel and supporting the petition. I have included a portion of my letter below. I sent my letter to the the senators that represent me as well as the executive branch and directors of diversity and public relations. The few that responded were very thankful to hear a students input and many supported the change. The combination of the petition, coverage in the daily, and discussion on the topic caused one senator to introduce legislation that will direct GSB to either fully support or oppose the “renovation” of the Memorial Union Chapel. The legislation can be found at this link. This legislation will be discussed and student input is welcome at the open forum at the next GSB meeting on Wednesday, October 21st at 7pm. I encourage any interested members to attend this meeting and share you voice. If you are unable to, please find the time to contact your senators and the GSB University Affairs Committee leader Luke Rolling ( I am currently the only student that has contacted anyone in support of this issue and heard from Luke that their subcommittee my be biased but currently does not see a need for the change. I believe in order the removal of the dominant religious symbols to happen it will take more students like you to share your voice.

    Continue reading

    IAF bus ads

    Update: DART plans to put the ads, unchanged, back on the buses next week! This is the result of levelheaded discussion between IAF leadership and DART representatives – though I have a feeling that all of the calls and emails from disgruntled supporters of the 1st Amendment helped. Despite the success with DART, let’s keep up the calls and emails to Governor Culver. He should be held responsible for his statements. See the Des Moines Register article: Atheist ads will go back on buses, DART decides.

    Update: According to the Friendly Atheist, DART has recanted, saying that they would consider new ads by IAF. The problem is that by the time any new ads were put up, it would be way after the State Fair is over – so the ads would reach a much smaller audience than IAF had intended. This is not acceptable.

    You may have already heard the news – the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers bought 20 ads on Des Moines buses to run during the month of August, but after just 4 days the ads were pulled. This has attracted the media in Iowa and abroad, been covered by bloggers including Pharyngula and Friendly Atheist, and even the governor of Iowa has made a statement. IAF is asking that concerned persons contact DART (see a letter from IAF below). I propose that we also contact the governor and write letters to the editor for Ames and Des Moines papers. If you do write a letter, please send a copy to so we can post them on the blog.

    One Nation…

    The President of the Iowa Secularists sent out a message pertinent to the Separation of Church and State in Iowa. In short: an amendment requiring the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited in classrooms was recently defeated, but may be used as a bargaining ship in future legislation. I encourage you to send letters of either encouragement or discouragement to your State Senators as applicable. Continue reading

    Victory for civil rights and separation of church and state

    Yesterday’s Iowa State Daily had an editorial about the need for separation of church and state in the issue of same sex marriage and equal rights, in light of the recent ruling of the Iowa Supreme Court. The editorial is reprinted here in full in the interests of maintaining the article (the Daily’s archives are less than ideal), emphasis is mine.

    EDITORIAL: Take note of same-sex ruling, Midwest and US by ISD Editorial Board

    Published: Monday, April 6, 2009 12:25 AM CDT

    “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.” This is Iowa’s state motto, inscribed on the Great Seal of Iowa and on the state flag. Thanks to the Iowa Supreme Court’s April 3 ruling, these words may no longer carry a bitter sting for those to whom they do not apply. The principles of this motto can now ring true for every Iowan.

    In a unanimous ruling, the case of Varnum v. Brien resulted in the decision that the Iowa statute limiting civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution. The decision further instructs that the remaining statutory language be interpreted and applied to allow gay and lesbian people full access to the institution of civil marriage.

    We realize that same-sex marriage is a divisive subject. Many people are uncomfortable with the idea, generally because of the religious or moral tenets to which they subscribe. However, the ruling in this case is not a religious issue, but one of constitutionality. As the court said, “Civil marriage must be judged under our constitutional standards of equal protection and not under religious doctrines or the religious views of individuals.

    “This approach does not disrespect or denigrate the religious views of many Iowans who may strongly believe in marriage as a dual-gender union, but considers, as we must, only the constitutional rights of all people, as expressed by the promise of equal protection for all. We are not permitted to do less and would damage our constitution immeasurably by trying to do more.”

    The fact is, marriage in the civil sense is not a religious institution. It is a legal institution. We wish the word didn’t come with both religious and legal connotations, because it makes it that much harder to separate the religious ceremony from the legal contract.

    As an Editorial Board, our value systems differ on an individual basis. Some of us have a moral conflict with same-sex marriage or homosexuality. Others of us have beliefs that accept these practices with no issue. But we can all agree that this ruling is a well-deserved victory for Iowa’s gay and lesbian residents. For our Constitution, for the state of Iowa – for the nation.

    The ruling in this case illustrates what is, and has always been, true. We cannot govern based on what one religion or one faction of society says should be.

    Religiously, some people might feel this ruling is wrong. But from a constitutional standpoint, there is no debate.

    As stated by the court, “Our responsibility … is to protect constitutional rights of individuals from legislative enactments that have denied those rights, even when the rights have not yet been broadly accepted, were at one time unimagined, or challenge a deeply ingrained practice or law viewed to be impervious to the passage of time.”

    Iowa has an estimated 5800 same-sex couples living throughout the state. We applaud the court for protecting the rights that belong to them as citizens of Iowa, and of the United States. It is our hope that as the first Midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage, Iowa will set an example for the rest of the nation.

    Copyright © 2009 – Iowa State Daily

    I’d also like to pass this reminder to support the ruling from Craig Carpenter of Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers along:


    I know many of you have probably received notices and requests regarding the Iowa Supreme court decision on Friday, but I would like to ask you to do one more thing. Please write, call or email your state legislators and the Governor to let them know that you support Fridays decision, the fight is not over yet, we have just won a very important battle, but not the war.

    There are a great many people who will do whatever it takes to take us back to the dark ages of repression and religious doctrine, that must not happen, we may be the only thing standing in the way.

    Craig Carpenter
    Treasurer, IAF