In response to a slew of Christian Nationalist bills making their way through the legislature, the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers have put up three digital billboards around Des Moines hoping to draw attention to the problem:
IAF officers Cory Gillespie, Jason Benell and Robert Cook explain in the Des Moines Register why they’re worried about this attempt by the government to shove religion in citizens’ faces:
… Judging from their actions so far this session, what they want is to push their Christian beliefs into Iowa laws, at everyone else’s expense, demolishing the wall of separation between church and state.
These conservative legislators talk a good game about how persecuted they are, but the bills they continue to file have more to do with preserving religious — specifically Christian — privilege than protecting their rights. They argue that their religious freedom entitles them to special benefits, tax-funded support, and exemptions from civil rights laws.
They call out three bills in particular, though they are by no means the only ones. House File 170 would allow Christian business owners to discriminate against LGBTQ people. Senate File 159 would send taxpayer dollars to private Christian schools at the expense of public secular ones. House File 272 would eliminate gender identity as a protected class under the state’s civil rights laws.
Given the one-party control of the legislature, there’s a good chance these bills will become law.
This is what Christians in the legislature are doing with their power: They’re using it to hurt and oppress other people in the name of their God. This is what conservative Christians always do when they have power. You can’t expect them to be decent human beings when they constantly show the world they’re incapable of it.
Meanwhile, the atheists aren’t trying to hurt Christians at all; they just want the government to provide a fair, protected playing field for everyone. The atheists are the heroes of this story. But in a state like Iowa, you can fully expect there to be backlash for stating the obvious.