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Freedom (Franzen novel) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Aug 292015
 

Freedom is a novel by American author Jonathan Franzen. It was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and released on August 31, 2010.

Freedom received general acclaim from book critics, and was ranked one of the best books of 2010 by several publications.

Freedom follows several members of an American family, the Berglunds, as well as their close friends and lovers, as complex and troubled relationships unfold over many years. The book follows them through the last decades of the twentieth century and concludes near the beginning of the Obama administration.

Freedom opens with a short history of the Berglund family from the perspective of their nosy neighbors. The Berglunds are portrayed as the most ideal liberal middle-class family, and they are among the first families to move back into urban St. Paul, Minnesota, after years of white flight to the suburbs. Patty Berglund is an unusually young and pretty homemaker with a self-deprecating sense of humor; her husband Walter is a mild-mannered lawyer with strong environmentalist leanings.

They have one daughter, Jessica, and a son, Joey, who early on displays an independent streak and an interest in making money. Joey becomes sexually involved with a neighborhood teen named Connie and begins to rebel against his mother, going so far as to move in with Connie, her mother, and her mother’s boyfriend Blake, making Patty and Walter increasingly unstable. After several unhappy years, the family relocates to Washington, D.C., abandoning the neighborhood and house they worked so hard to improve. Walter takes a job with an unorthodox environmental project, tied to big coal.

The second portion of the book takes the form of an autobiography of Patty Berglund, composed at the suggestion of her therapist. The autobiography tells of Patty’s youth as a star basketball player, and her increasing alienation from her artistically inclined parents and sisters. Instead of attending an East Coast elite college like her siblings, she gets a basketball scholarship to the University of Minnesota and adopts the life of the athlete. She meets an attractive but unattainable indie rock musician named Richard Katz, and his nerdy but kind roommate, Walter Berglund. After her basketball career-ending knee injury, Patty suddenly becomes desperate for male affection, and after failing to woo Richard, she settles down with Walter, who had been patiently courting her for more than a year. We learn that Patty retained her desire for Richard and eventually had a brief affair with him at the Berglunds’ lakeside cabin.

The novel then jumps ahead to New York City in 2004 and shifts to the story of Walter and Patty’s friend Richard, who has finally succeeded in becoming a minor indie rock star in his middle age. His hit album Nameless Lake tells the story of his brief love affair with Patty at the Berglunds’ lakeside cabin in Minnesota. Richard is uncomfortable with commercial success, throws away his new-found money, and returns to building roof decks for wealthy people in Manhattan. Walter calls him out of the blue to enlist his help as a celebrity spokesman for an environmental campaign. Walter has taken a job in Washington, D.C. working for a coal mining magnate who wants to strip mine a section of West Virginia forest before turning it into a songbird preserve of future environmental value. Walter hopes to use some of this project’s funding to hold a concert to combat overpopulation, the common factor behind all his environmental concerns, and he believes that Richard will be able to rally well-known musicians to his cause. Meanwhile, Walter’s marriage to Patty has been deteriorating steadily, and his pretty young assistant Lalitha has fallen deeply in love with him.

In parallel, the Berglunds’ estranged, Republican son Joey attempts to finance his college life at the University of Virginia by taking on a dubious subcontract to provide spare parts for outdated supply trucks during the Iraq War. While at college, he marries his childhood sweetheart but dares not tell his parents. After visiting his roommate’s family in the DC suburbs, he also pursues his friend’s beautiful sister Jenna and is exposed to her father’s Zionist, neoconservative politics. After months of pursuing Jenna, when she finally wants him to have sex with her, he cannot maintain an erection. Later he becomes conflicted after making $850,000 selling defective truck parts to military suppliers in Iraq. In the end Joey gives away the excess proceeds of his profiteering, reconciles with his parents, settles down with Connie, and moves into a sustainable coffee business with the help of his father Walter.

Now, Richard’s re-appearance destroys Walter and Patty’s weakening marriage. Richard tries to convince Patty to leave Walter, but she shows Richard the autobiography she wrote as “therapy”, trying to convince him that she’s still in love with Walter. Richard deliberately leaves the autobiography on Walter’s desk, and Walter reads Patty’s true thoughts. Walter kicks Patty out of the house, and she moves to Jersey City to be with Richard, but the relationship only lasts six months. Later, she moves to Brooklyn alone and takes a job at a private school, discovering her skill for teaching younger children. When Patty leaves him, Walter has a catharsis on live television, revealing his contempt for the displaced West Virginian families and his various commercial backers. Local rednecks respond by dragging him from the platform and beating him up. He is promptly fired by the environmental trust, but his TV debacle makes him a viral video hero to radical youth across the nation. He and his assistant Lalitha become lovers and continue their plans to combat overpopulation through a concert to rally young people in the hills of West Virginia. Lalitha is killed in a suspicious car accident a few days before the concert is due to take place. Shattered, and having lost both of the women who loved him, Walter retreats to his family’s lakeside vacation house back in Minnesota. He becomes known to a new street of neighbors as a cranky old recluse, obsessed with house cats killing birds nesting on his property.

After a few years living in Brooklyn, Patty’s father dies and she is forced to settle the fight that erupts within her family of spoiled bohemians as they attempt to split up the much-diminished family fortune. This experience helps Patty to mature. After a few years of living alone, she appraises the emptiness of her life and honestly faces her advancing age. She decides to hunt down Walter, the only man who had ever really loved her. She drives to the lakeside cabin in Minnesota, and despite his rage and confusion, he eventually agrees to take her back. The book ends in 2008 as they leave as a couple to return to Patty’s job in New York City, after turning their old lakeside vacation home into a cat-proof fenced bird sanctuary, named in memory of Lalitha.

After the critical acclaim and popular success of his third novel The Corrections in 2001, Franzen began work on his fourth full-length novel. When asked during an October 30, 2002 interview on Charlie Rose how far he was into writing the new novel, Franzen replied:

I’m about a year of frustration and confusion into it…Y’know, I’m kind of down at the bottom of the submerged iceberg peering up for the surface of the water…I don’t have doubt about my ability to write a good book, but I have lots of doubt about what it’s going to look like.[1]

Franzen went on to suggest that a basic story outline was in place, and that his writing of the new novel was like a “guerilla war” approaching different aspects of the novel (alluding to characters, dialogue, plot development etc.).[1] Franzen also agreed that he would avoid public appearances, saying that “…getting some work done is the vacation” from the promotional work surrounding The Corrections and How To Be Alone.[1]

An excerpt entitled “Good Neighbors” appeared in the June 8 and June 15, 2009 issues of The New Yorker.[2] The magazine published a second extract entitled “Agreeable” in the May 31, 2010 edition.[3]

On October 16, 2009, Franzen made an appearance alongside David Bezmozgis at the New Yorker Festival at the Cedar Lake Theatre to read a portion of his forthcoming novel.[4][5] Sam Allard, writing for North By Northwestern website covering the event, said that the “…material from his new (reportedly massive) novel” was “as buoyant and compelling as ever” and “marked by his familiar undercurrent of tragedy”.[5] Franzen read “an extended clip from the second chapter.”[5]

On March 12, 2010, details about the plot and content of Freedom were published in the Macmillan fall catalogue for 2010.[6]

In an interview with Dave Haslam on October 3, 2010 Franzen discussed why he had called the book Freedom:

The reason I slapped the word on the book proposal I sold three years ago without any clear idea of what kind of book it was going to be is that I wanted to write a book that would free me in some way. And I will say this about the abstract concept of ‘freedom'; it’s possible you are freer if you accept what you are and just get on with being the person you are, than if you maintain this kind of uncommitted I’m free-to-be-this, free-to-be-that, faux freedom.[7]

Freedom received general acclaim from book critics, particularly for its writing and characterization. Shortly after the book’s release, the front cover of a TIME magazine issue showed a picture of Franzen above the words “Great American Novelist,” making him the first author to appear on the front cover in a decade.

Sam Tanenhaus of The New York Times and Benjamin Alsup of Esquire believed it measured up to Franzen’s previous novel, The Corrections. Tanenhaus called it a “masterpiece of American fiction,” writing that it “[told] an engrossing story” and “[illuminated], through the steady radiance of its authors profound moral intelligence, the world we thought we knew.”[8] Alsup called it a great American novel. “[9] In The Millions, Garth Risk Hallberg argued that readers who enjoyed The Corrections would enjoy Freedom. He also wrote that they’re “likely to come away from this novel moved in harder-to-fathom waysand grateful for it.”[10] An editor for Publishers Weekly wrote that it stood apart from most modern fiction because “Franzen tries to account for his often stridently unlikable characters and find where they (and we) went wrong, arriving atincrediblygenuine hope.”[11]

Benjamin Secher of The Telegraph called Franzen one of America’s best living novelists, and Freedom the first great American novel of the “post-Obama era.”[12] In The Guardian, Jonathan Jones called him “a literary genius” and wrote that Freedom stood on “a different plane from other contemporary fiction.”[13]

Michiko Kakutani called the book “galvanic” and wrote that it showcased Franzen’s talent as a storyteller and “his ability to throw open a big, Updikean picture window on American middle-class life.” Kakutani also praised the novel’s characterization, going on to call it a “compelling biography of a dysfunctional family and an indelible portrait of our times.”[14]The Economist wrote that the novel contained “fully imagined characters in a powerful narrative.” The reviewer went on to say that it had “all its predecessor’s power and none of its faults.”[15]

Not all reviews were raving. Most lukewarm reviews praised the novel’s prose, but believed the author’s left-wing political stance was too obvious. Sam Anderson, in a review for New York magazine, thought the characterization was strong, but perceived the politics as sometimes too heavy-handed: “Franzen the crankmighty detester of Twitter, ATVs, and housing developments” occasionally “overpower[s] Franzen the artist […] but if crankiness is the motor that powers Franzen’s art, I’m perfectly willing to sit through some speeches.”[16]Ron Charles of The Washington Post also felt less favorably, remarking that it lacked the wit and “[freshness]” of The Corrections. Charles praised Franzen’s prose and called him “an extraordinary stylist,” but questioned how many readers would settle for good writing as “sufficient compensation for what is sometimes a misanthropic slog.”[17] In addition, Ruth Franklin of The New Republic believed the novel resembled a “soap opera” more than it did an epic, and that Franzen had forgotten “the greatest novels must […] offer […] profundity and pleasure.”[18]

Alexander Nazaryan criticized its familiarity in the New York Daily News remarking that the author “can write about a gentrifying family in St. Paul. Or maybe in St. Louis. But that’s about it. Nazaryan also didn’t believe Franzen was joking when he suggested “being doomed as a novelist never to do anything but stories of Midwestern families.”[19]Alan Cheuse of National Public Radio found the novel “[brilliant]” but not enjoyable, suggesting that “every line, every insight, seems covered with a light film of disdain. Franzen seems never to have met a normal, decent, struggling human being whom he didn’t want to make us feel ever so slightly superior to. His book just has too much brightness and not enough color.”[20]

Ross Douthat of First Things praised the “stretches of Freedom that read like a master class in how to write sympathetically about the kind of characters” with an abundance of freedom. Yet, Douthat concluded the novel was overlong, feeling the “impression that Franzen’s talents are being wasted on his characters.”[21]

Freedom won the John Gardner Fiction Award. Additionally, it was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. The American Library Association also named it a notable fiction of the 2010 publishing year.

Oprah Winfrey made Freedom her first book club selection of 2010, saying, “this book is a masterpiece.”[22][23] US President Barack Obama called it “terrific” after reading it over the summer.[24]

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Freedom (Franzen novel) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Freedomtexas.org – Texas Secession, Texas independence …

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Aug 172015
 

TEXANS, ITS TIME SOMEONE SPEAKS THE TRUTH

I know that this article will catch lots of grief and criticism, but I and millions of Texans are fed up with the rhetoric, misleading reporting, and just plain naivete or stupidity of the press in the handling of Obama and the present Islamist situation we have in this world.

Every day we actually watch the truth of the Muslim world on TV. My God, when you see it, how can you not believe it? Radical Islam has declared war worldwide! Now, from Bill OReilly to our local news reporters, everyone – including the retired generals interviewed about the subject – all say the same thing: We cannot understand why Obama does not do more about the violence from Islamist radicals. We dont understand why Obama will not engage. Why does Obama want to raise taxes and continue to write mandates through executive orders that harm America? All I hear is that he is a good family man, and nice guy, and maybe he just doesnt understand.

Fellow Texans, he not only understands, but he knows exactly what he is doing! Did you read his book Dreams From My Father? He hates America! He hates a red Texas. He is a supporter of the Muslim religion. He orchestrated the Arab Spring and covered it up with a move for democracy. Those countries wouldnt know democracy if they stepped in it! It was a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood, and was supported by Obama. The political correctness and nice guy reporting must stop, and people better wake the hell up because we are sliding into a cesspool that we will never get out of.

Obama is a socialist, Islamist apologist, America-hating radical who is pulling off what he told all of us when he got elected the first time: We will fundamentally change America. Can everyone wake up and see that he is doing exactly that?

To the Governor of Texas, the legislature in Texas, the spineless Congress in Washington DC: I know the majority of you only care about power, money, and your next elected office, but you damn well better start telling the truth about Obama, his administration, and his ultimate goal of destroying America, or as they say in the not listened too part of America, the you-know-what will hit the fan! We common everyday folks can see through this like a glass door and will not stay quiet any longer!

When the SHTF scenario begins – and it will – all of you from the press to the sitting elected plutcocrats will have no one to blame but yourselves. We all know that you will label patriots as home-grown terrorists, right wing radicals, Bible toting gun lovers, but, in reality, they are good people who saw through the BS of this government a long time ago; people who will not give up their freedom and liberty at any cost. It will be the People who understand that Obama and his minions are evil!

We in Texas demand of those who can make a difference: stand up! Take care of Texas by getting us out of this situation. The next two years of this administration will cause the fall of all the states and the US government, or worse yet, a civil war that will make the Civil War of 1861 look like a skirmish!

Can we return to a small government led by and founded on the God-given rights as laid out by our Founding Fathers? Will you say the truth of the real evil that runs DC now? Will you stop lying to the people who know that what you say are lies? If not, people of Texas, it is time to get off the couch, take firm action with our elected leaders, and do not surrender our beloved home, our Texas, to those that lie and refuse to act!

Deny this if you will, but most know it to be true. Those that know will be enough to change things. I believe that, because there is nothing else left to believe in anymore!

God Bless Texas, Cary Wise Freedom Texas

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Amazon.com: Freedom: A Novel (Oprah’s Book Club): Jonathan …

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Aug 022015
 

This is clearly a love-it-or-hate-it novel, if the reviews on Amazon are any indication. Five-star reviews and one-star reviews dominate, in almost equal numbers.

I have never read Franzen before, and in fact was put off by all the hype surrounding his earlier work. I read a particularly devastating review of this book in the Atlantic Monthly (“The Case Against Jonathan Franzen”), so even before picking this up I had a negative impression. I got the book from the library out of curiosity, expecting that I would browse through a few pages, be bored out of my wits, and return the book forthwith.

However, I was hooked from the very first page and found it almost impossible to put down. Franzen’s writing satisfies on many levels, but as a pure storyteller who can make a character come to throbbing, pulsating, three-dimensional life in a few sentences, he knows no peer. He reminds me a little of T. C. Boyle, without the obscure vocabulary.

If there is a weakness here, it’s that there is not a dramatic plot as such. It’s more a slice-of-life study of a family and a straightforward love triangle, but it’s not easy to say exactly what the book is “about.” Like many great works of art, what it’s about will ultimately be in the perception of the reader.

Most of the negative reviews found the characters to be unlikeable, which surprises me; they all have serious problems, but I felt sympathy for almost all of them. As to whether they are believable, suffice it to say that Franzen’s storytelling spell is so complete that I suspended any disbelief and surrendered to the story. And that’s what good fiction requires: suspension of disbelief.

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New Jersey Freedom Sports

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May 092015
 

JOIN THEFREEDOM COMMUNITY Tired of the so called nationalsanctioningbodies of softball and other sports who put making money first?? FreedomSportsAssociation in it’s fifth yearofexistence, has proven it can be done be right, and puts the teams first!!

Currently we offer adult slow pitch, and youth fast pitch and have plans for more sports in the near future.We are very excited to have this avenue of communication with players and coaches as well as visitors looking forFreedominformation We hope you find the website helpful and easy to navigate. If there’s information you are looking for and can’t find, pleasecontactus.

We appreciate your feedback!.

CLICK HERE FOR FSA CONVENTION NEWS AND WORLD DATES

Men’s Comp (D) Worlds October 16th, Myrtle Beach , S.C.

To be eligible to play in our Slow Pitch Worlds, teams mustparticipatein their respective state tournament and a regional or NIT tournament in theirregion.Once a teamwins the berth, their roster is locked. At this point only two players can be added to the roster and still must be approvedto play the event and be an allowed player in that respected division. If a team adds more then 2 players they will losethe paid berth that may have been won. CLICK here for more information about the Freedom Slow Pitch program.

Freedom Sports is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports for both youth and adult.

If you are interested in becoming a Tournament Director or wish to run a Freedom Sports Association program in your area, please contact us or call us at

732 200-0967.

2015 New Jersey Freedom Sports

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Why I’m Leaving Freedom (And What That Means For You) – Video

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Apr 142015
 



Why I'm Leaving Freedom (And What That Means For You)
It's been a decent 8 months freedom, but unfortunately your business has turned into a laughing stock of the gaming community. Thank you for all you've done helping me grow (even if it was…

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Monday night Bushcraft/Survival talk with Crash and Freedom Bushcraft – Video

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Apr 142015
 



Monday night Bushcraft/Survival talk with Crash and Freedom Bushcraft
At 10 pm Monday night we will be hosting a Monday night talk. Your invited and we will try to answer any questions you may have. Also if we don't know it we will dig to find it. Also if you…

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Monday night Bushcraft/Survival talk with Crash and Freedom Bushcraft – Video

Check EZGO Electric (2000-Up) PDS TXT Golf Cart "Freedom" High Spe Slide – Video

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Apr 142015
 



Check EZGO Electric (2000-Up) PDS TXT Golf Cart “Freedom” High Spe Slide
Visit: http://amzn.to/1O640Fq EZGO Electric (2000-Up) PDS TXT Golf Cart “Freedom” High Spe SPECIFICATIONS: See: http://amzn.to/1O640Fq Credit: http://youtu.be/z0y6a6Wpwsg Buy EZGO Electric…

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Freedom Church 04/05/15 – Application: What Does the Text Tell Me To Do? – Video

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Apr 142015
 



Freedom Church 04/05/15 – Application: What Does the Text Tell Me To Do?
Equipped Luke Vandall – Lincolnton, North Carolina.

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Freedom! – A TF2C Pocket Soldier Montage – Video

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Apr 142015
 



Freedom! – A TF2C Pocket Soldier Montage
Hey this is Freedom! Pocket Soldier Montage Hope you enjoy 😀 Music: Hilltop Hoods – The Nosebleed Section.

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FCS Day 195! – Freedom! Channel Spotlight – Video

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Apr 142015
 



FCS Day 195! – Freedom! Channel Spotlight
Freedom! Channel Spotlight, day 195! – To get a spotlight leave a comment below help your fellow partners! Today's featured channels: Qazint https://www.youtube.com/user/Qazint/featured…

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Mary Gonzalez at Freedom Advocacy Day – Video

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Apr 142015
 



Mary Gonzalez at Freedom Advocacy Day
Texas state Rep. Mary Gonzalez speaks at Equality Texas' Freedom Advocacy Day.

By: Lone Star Q

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Hawaii Freerunning/Freecliming | Taste of Freedom – Video

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Apr 142015
 



Hawaii Freerunning/Freecliming | Taste of Freedom
Directors Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk0visTjZw5liiZvyZ11ZiQ Song: Levi Niha – Dreams Are Free …

By: itzDeaMan

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Religious freedom debate continues at Iowa Capitol

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Apr 142015
 

DES MOINES Religious leaders and state lawmakers tried Monday to navigate the area between religious freedom and individual civil liberties.

Supporters of religious freedom spoke at a ceremony in the Capitol on Monday, praising Iowa for being a state that allows for the religious expression of varied faiths.

Speakers also acknowledged the national discussion over religious freedom as new laws in Indiana and Arkansas have been both praised for protecting religious freedom and criticized for serving as legal shields for discrimination.

It is a hallmark of a civil society, as opposed to anarchy, that our freedoms will be limited in some way when they harm others, said Sarai Rice, executive director of the Des Moines Area Religious Council. What is not limited is our freedom to believe and to think and to speak in public.

Iowa Sens. Jake Chapman, R-Adel, and Jeff Danielson, D-Waterloo, sponsored and spoke at the event.

Chapman said Mondays event was purely about celebrating Iowans right to practice any religion. It originally was scheduled for Jan. 16, Religious Freedom Day in Iowa as proclaimed by Gov. Terry Branstad.

But Branstads inauguration was held Jan. 16, so the religious freedom event was rescheduled to coincide with the birthdate of Thomas Jefferson, who authored the original Virginia statute on religious freedom.

That caused Mondays event to overlap with a national dialogue on religious freedom laws, a debate that spilled Monday into the Iowa House.

Rep. Steve Holt, R-Denison, spoke on the House floor in favor of religious freedom and business owners ability to refuse services to activities such as same-sex marriages that go against their religious beliefs.

Holt said requiring businesses to perform such services places people of faith in a position of violating their religious principles.

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Religious freedom debate continues at Iowa Capitol

Iowa lawmakers debate religious freedom

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Apr 142015
 

DES MOINES Religious leaders and state lawmakers tried Monday to navigate the area between religious freedom and individual civil liberties.

Supporters of religious freedom spoke Monday at a ceremony in the Capitol, praising Iowa for allowing for religious expression of varied faiths.

Speakers also acknowledged the national discussion over the issue as new laws in Indiana and Arkansas have been praised for protecting religious freedom and criticized for serving as legal shields for discrimination.

It is a hallmark of a civil society … that our freedoms will be limited in some way when they harm others, said Sarai Rice, executive director of the Des Moines Area Religious Council. What is not limited is our freedom to believe and to think and to speak in public.

Iowa Sens. Jake Chapman, R-Adel, and Jeff Danielson, D-Waterloo, sponsored and spoke at the event.

Chapman said Mondays event was purely about celebrating Iowans right to practice religion. It originally was scheduled for Jan. 16, Religious Freedom Day in Iowa as proclaimed by Gov. Terry Branstad.

But Branstads inauguration was held Jan. 16, so the religious freedom event was rescheduled to coincide with the birth date of Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the original Virginia statute on religious freedom.

That caused Mondays event to overlap with a national dialogue on religious freedom laws, a debate that spilled Monday into the Iowa House.

Rep. Steve Holt, R-Denison, spoke on the House floor in favor of religious freedom and business owners ability to refuse services to activities such as same-sex marriages that go against their beliefs.

Holt said requiring businesses to perform such services places people of faith in a position of violating their religious principles.

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Iowa lawmakers debate religious freedom

[United Freedom Team Marketing Mix/Advertising Social Media Branding] – Video

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Apr 132015
 



[United Freedom Team Marketing Mix/Advertising Social Media Branding]
United Freedom Team Marketing Mix/Advertising Social Media Branding] http://www.postcardprofitsystem.com office number: 260-333-0470 Relevant Keywords. [united freedom team] [united freedom…

By: postcard cash from home

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Tormentum – Dark Sorrow | Ep. 4 – Freedom! – Video

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Apr 132015
 



Tormentum – Dark Sorrow | Ep. 4 – Freedom!
Leave a like for foxiness! Subscribe! http://bit.ly/JoinTheFoxPack Tormentum: http://ohnoo.com/tormentum.html Find me elsewhere on the web! – Twitch (livestreaming): http://www.twi…

By: MythicalRedFox

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21st Century Warships: USS Freedom and USS Independence HD (Documentary) – Video

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Apr 132015
 



21st Century Warships: USS Freedom and USS Independence HD (Documentary)
The USS Freedom and USS Independence are the pioneering warships changing the face of battle on the sea with cutting edge design. Go inside the rigid testing that these ships must face to become…

By: Hangabur Documentaries

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