Religious Liberty Becomes the Byword Among Iowa’s Social Conservatives

TIME

Conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats had just one question for the four presidential hopefuls gathered in the chapel at Iowa Wesleyan University: How would they preserve religious liberty?

It’s an idea as old as the country, but for the 600 people in the audience and social conservatives elsewhere in Iowa, religious liberty is fast becoming a new litmus test for Republican presidential candidates, thanks to a recent uproar over religious freedom legislation in Indiana and Arkansas.

Hosted by Vander Plaats’ Family Leader organization, the event Thursday was designed to make Iowa ground zero on the issue. For their part, the candidates’ responses showed broad agreement that religious freedom in general and Christianity in particular are under assault from the federal government.

“It is wrong for our government to discriminate against Christians,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told the crowd at Iowa Wesleyan, listing off a litany of alleged sins, from requirements…

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