Tag Archives: cruz control

The Iowa Religious Liberty Rally

Published 8/29/2015 by Brad Caldwell.

I’m from Alabama. But I knew the Iowa Religious Liberty Rally hosted by Presidential candidate Ted Cruz was going to be a special event, so I decided to drive up to it! With my Prius getting some 45 mpg, I was able to do the 30-hr round trip for about $120 of gas! On Wednesday night before starting, I decided to “decorate” my car a bit, so drivers could see a bit of enthusiasm for Cruz.

On Thursday morning, I set out from Auburn, AL, and drove to Springfield, IL, passing through Birmingham, Huntsville (AL), Nashville (TN), and Paducah (KY). I stayed the night in a hotel, and did the remaining drive Friday morning, arriving in Des Moines, IA about 2:00 PM. I had a few hours before the rally began, so I decided to walk around Des Moines. I found a Ginko tree (my favorite tree, because of the thick, waxy leaves), an awesome-looking pedestrian bridge across Des Moines River, a “Robert D Ray” Asian Gardens, and a very ornate Iowa state capitol building.

After visiting at the State Capitol building, I walked through a small Holocaust memorial in the park below. There were a number of challenging quotes, including this one from Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor: “One person of integrity can make a difference.”

Since I arrived early, I was able to take some shots before lots of people arrived.

With my early arrival time, I was also privileged to sit two rows behind Steve Deace (and family), the “Iowa Kingmaker,” as he is called, for the role he often plays in supporting a conservative for the primaries.

Steve Deace Iowa Kingmaker and Family
Steve Deace, Iowa Kingmaker, and Family

The Bontrager Family Singers, a family from Eastern Iowa that sings and plays instruments, kicked the event off with an incredible start!

Here’s a little taste of what the Bontragers can do!

Unfortunately, I didn’t think to get a picture, but Iowa Cruz campaign leader Bryan English spoke next. After that, Cruz spoke with Dick and Betty Odgaard, a Mennonite couple from Iowa that were driven out of business for refusing to host gay marriages in their church. Then, Steve Deace spoke with Aaron and Melissa Klein, Barronelle Stutzman, Blaine Adamson, Phillip Monk, and Kelvin Cochran, who were all similarly persecuted for their religious convictions concerning gay marriage.

Once the event was over, Newsboys “brought the house down” with some great worship!

That would have been a good enough event for most folks. But not for Ted Cruz. After all that, he came down and mingled with the event-goers for a good while, allowing them to meet him, take pictures, and get autographs! Can’t wait for Ted Cruz to get into the White House!! It would be incomprehensibly awesome!

Ted Cruz and Brad Caldwell
Ted Cruz and Brad Caldwell


My thoughts on the Iowa Religious Liberty Rally:

I was very moved by the rally. What was stressed from the beginning was that “their story is your story.” In other words, these are not freak cases – this is persecution that just as well could have come your way. And it’s not right. We need to speak up for other people, or we can’t complain when no one speaks up for us.

Melissa Klein shared how many people would come in and want to “support” her by buying something, but would ask not to have the “Sweet Cakes” sticker put on their purchase, because they didn’t want to associate with her (they didn’t want the “stigma”). Melissa recounted that that was the most hurtful of all the events. Steve Deace echoed those thoughts by saying (paraphrase), “Look, if you’re embarrassed, it would be better not to buy anything. It’s less hurtful for someone to be openly hateful than to show ‘halfway support’ in tough times.” Wow, those are words of truth!

It was also a privilege hearing Naghmeh Abedini speak, wife of Saeed, an American and Christian who has been tortured in Iranian prisons for three years now for the “crime” of sharing the Gospel. Ted Cruz had a Ronald Reagan “tear down this wall” moment, when he got quiet and serious, and said, “I’d like to say something very, very clearly. President Obama, bring Pastor Saeed home!”

Below are a few memes I made from the event.


Further resources:

Dick and Betty have an organization to further God’s Original Design of traditional marriage.