The Iowa Standard wrote about the decision by Broadlawns Medical Center to punish Freedom Blend Coffee for its religious beliefs by terminating its contract last month. After receiving public records we requested, we laid out in a very detailed way how it all went down.
You can read about that here. Short version? Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Renee Hardman led the charge to cancel the contract after it was discovered that a Christian ministry held Christian views.
Apparently, this is shocking news to people like Broadlawns CEO Tony Coleman and Hardman. The medical facility knew Freedom Blend Coffee was a Christian ministry prior to entering into the contract. So they learned nothing new.
KCCI wrote a very short story about the situation. The Des Moines Register wrote a longer story, but failed to disclose the most damning statements from Broadlawns’ officials.
Credit the Register, however, for getting it right in the headline:
“Broadlawns ends contract with Freedom Blend Coffee over marriage views.”
Taken a step further, religious views. Religious views are supposed to be protected in the United States of America. Religious views that the government cannot legally discriminate based upon. Broadlawns is a government entity.
There is a lot of detail the Register left out of its story that would make Broadlawns look very bad and very guilty.
But this isn’t a surprise.
The Des Moines media had no interest in doing a story about this situation until it was highlighted for a third time by The Iowa Standard. Based on records obtained, it seems Broadlawns was hoping the story would blow over and not have to answer any questions.
But because The Iowa Standard continued pursuing the story, it is now in the spotlight.
While the Register’s version of the story leaves out some pretty significant pieces, you can find all of them in our version.
My advice to the Des Moines Register is pretty simple — consider this story from a different angle. The same First Amendment that protects those of us in the media is supposed to protect ministries like Freedom Blend Coffee.
If the First Amendment fails at protecting Freedom Blend Coffee in this case, well, it isn’t good precedent for protecting the media then.
Alan Ostergren, President and Chief Counsel at The Kirkwood Institute, told The Iowa Standard:
“Public bodies cannot engage in viewpoint discrimination. Broadlawns Hospital has no right to police the religious views of one if its contractors. The cancellation of this contract appears to be blatantly unconstitutional.”