Scores of individuals met in the State Capitol Rotunda to celebrate Iowa Religious Freedom Day on Thursday, April 13, 2017. A short program opened with students from Dowling High School singing the national anthem. Bishop Richard E. Pates, of the Des Moines Diocese, opened the program with remarks on the necessity to protect religious freedom for all faiths, especially the marginalized ones. Dr. Timothy Knepper, Drake University professor of religion and philosophy, explained the evolution of a project that eventually culminated in a book entitled A Spectrum of Faith: Religions of the World in America's Heartland. He then introduced a few of the many students who worked on the two-year project to explore religious traditions in the Des Moines metro area. These students answered questions from a moderator about their experience, their view of religious freedom, and their advice to others about how to protect religious liberty. Concluding remarks were made by local attorney Jason Giles about his experience with and support for religious freedom in Iowa.