Iowa Civil Rights Commission Asserts Authority To Determine Christian Faith And Practice

An Existential Threat To Religious Liberty


Sometimes. Iowa law provides that these protections do not apply to religious institutions with respect to any religion-based qualifications when such qualifications are related to a bona fide religious purpose. Where qualifications are not related to a bona fide religious purpose, churches are still subject to the law’s provisions. (e.g. a child care facility operated at a church or a church service open to the public).

—Iowa Civil Rights Commission, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity


The commission has updated it’s brochure. Here is the revised language:


Places of worship (e.g. churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.) are generally exempt from the Iowa law’s prohibition of discrimination, unless the place of worship engages in non-religious activities which are open to the public. For example, the law may apply to an independent day care or polling place located on the premises of the place of worship.


  1. Every conservative church in Iowa should get together to fight this. Further, Civil Rights Commissions are themselves alien to the US Constitution, which sets up courts to handle such questions.

  2. Peter – Please see the post I linked to. There isn’t anything to fight. Also, I just got word from the Iowa Civil Rights Commission that they are going to revise their descriptions to make it clear they aren’t targeting churches.

  3. This is one more example of the “State’s” ever-tightening, choke hold on our civil liberties. It goes without saying that this country’s founders are rolling over in their graves. If they could materialize into a ghostly army akin to those who dwell in the mountain from Tolkien’s The Return of the King, they’d overthrow our nation’s leaders.

  4. Civil ‘rights’ (what behaviour one can require of and enforce on other people (including the unborn), restricting their freedom of action) will always be bumping up against civil ‘liberties’ (what behaviour one is free to exercise). It seems that in this sexual area there is a huge push by ‘rights’ against ‘liberties’, that where there is a conflict sexual ‘rights’ must always trump liberties.

    It appears that according to this Iowa commission, although a church can still within the law refuse to consider for eldership (i.e. a bona fide religious matter) a woman who dresses as a man, a transvestite turning up at a church service is required to be treated as a man or a woman according to the clothes and accessories they happen to be wearing that day. A man could thus not be prevented, within the law, from using the women’s washroom in the church if he came into church dressed as a woman, i.e. he ‘presented’ as a woman, though of male sex. Moreover, the pastor and elders would be breaking the law if they addressed him as a man since, according to the Commission, that would be ‘intentional use of names and pronouns inconsistent with a persons presented gender’. For ‘presented’ read ‘pretended’.

  5. And yet . . . The pastoral prayers I regularly hear in PCA churches give no indication that the minister(s) are even aware of what’s going on in the outside world. (No reference to sermons at this point. That’s for another time and place.) I’m not talking about “praying politics” – not at all. I am talking about praying for the church and the people of God with some reference to the world we actually live in from day to day. There is plenty to petition the Lord about; you can make your own ten-point list in under a minute. But I usually hear prayers no different from when I was a kid in the 1950’s: “Lord, we thank you for the liberty we have in this country to worship you freely,” etc., etc. It’s as if the recent moral revolution overturning the entire basis of our civilization never occurred. Of course, that expression of gratitude in entirely appropriate, but there’s so much more to bring before the Lord. When will preachers at least acknowledge what’s happening to our liberties to practice our faith? In the past decade, I have reluctantly concluded that many preachers are just cowards.

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