About This Site
In late 2013, I petitioned Governor Terry Branstad to acknowledge Iowa's support for religious freedom by proclaiming religious freedom day in Iowa to fall on the same day as national Religious Freedom Day. Governor Branstad subsequently proclaimed January 16, 2014, to be Religious Freedom Day in Iowa. In late 2014, I requested a renewal of that proclamation, and it was issued for April 13, 2015. The date changed from January 16, the national day for religious liberty, to April 13, Thomas Jefferson's birthday, to accommodate Iowa's weather and legislative calendar. Since Governor Reynolds took office, she has also signed an annual proclamation to highlight this liberty in a nonpartisan way.
This website and these actions are my own and not those of any official group. However, any reader of this site should know that I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My interest in religious freedom comes, in part, from my service in this Church and my desire to live by the tenets of my faith. One of those tenets states: "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may" (Articles of Faith 11).
Since the early events, I have been blessed to learn from and associate with representatives of the Iowa Catholic Conference, the Des Moines Area Religious Council, Drake University, Chabad Ames, various faith leaders and members of my own faith community. We have together worked to invite all citizens of Iowa to recognize the fundamental freedoms we enjoy to worship and live by our deeply held beliefs--and to acknowledge that same right in others, no matter our doctrinal or political persuasions.
When all faith communities are free to practice their religion openly, everyone's rights are protected. And society prospers. But care must be taken to understand each other, including those who do not live by religious faith, and strive to leave space for those whose own principles differ sharply.
I am grateful for the partnership of many, many people each year as we host events and promote meaningful dialogue about the larger issues related to religious freedom.
Susan Sims, Cedar Falls, Iowa