Fools rush in: Bachmann and Santorum’s “Marriage Vow” pledge misstep alienates millions
GOP Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann became the first — and probably only, other than nonentity Rick Santorum — to sign on to a Religious Right group’s sex-obsessed and racist “Marriage Vow” pledge.
For those familiar with Bachmann, it should come as no surprise that she happily signed the Family Leader pledge on July 7. The organization, like Bachmann, is obsessed with demonizing homosexuals under the guise of “promoting family values”.
Family Leader head, Midwestern right-winger Bob Vander Plaats, is also happy to ineptly play the race card in the most out-of-touch attempt to garner the black vote since David Barton’s ongoing campaign to convince African-Americans that Democrats are racist because Southern Democrats before 1964 were racist. (Barton conveniently “forgets” that the Civil Rights Act was introduced by Northern Democrats, and that the Southern Democrats who felt their party had betrayed them moved to the Republican Party under the Republican “Southern Strategy“.) As one might suspect, Barton’s campaign seems only to work on white conservatives who are hearing what they want to hear.
How will Bachmann’s sign-on alienate millions? How will Santorum’s alienate dozens? Let’s have a look at the pledge Bachmann signed.
It comes in two parts: A Declaration and a Pledge. In overview, the Pledge is focused on “promoting marriage and family”. Who wouldn’t support that?
Problems begin in the released version of the preamble, which is labeled “A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family”. The first point of this “declaration”, which is written to declare not dependence upon but explain the “crisis” faced by marriage in the United States, explains that “a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.”
True? Possibly. But the extensive footnotes link to a 2005 literature review published by the Institute for American Values, an organization dedicated to research supporting their belief that the two-parent family is the best model, and promoting this as the only desirable model.
Perhaps this isn’t the best source. 2005 is only three years before “the election of the USA’s first African-American President”, but the paper cites data from 1980 and earlier. Perhaps a better statement would be “after the USA’s first African-American President started college“.
Oddly, the paper — which documents the economic and social benefits to black Americans of marriage — does not appear to contain any commentary regarding the marriage rates of enslaved Americans. The paper’s actual comments on marriage, slavery, and its impacts on African-American marriage?
Ultimately, [marital challenges to black Americans] likely have deep roots in the unique, sometimes traumatic, historical experience of the African American community. Orlando Patterson has eloquently argued that slavery and Jim Crow scarred male-female relations among African Americans in ways that continue to shape current marriages — particularly in the ways that slavery denuded Black men of their proper role as husbands and fathers, fostered promiscuity, and wove violence and domination into the fabric of male-female sexual relations among Blacks (and interracial relationships).
There is no reference to 1860 in the document, nor did I find any suggestion that slaves were able to maintain two-parent households; in fact, more to the contrary. Read the paper here, or our mirror of it here. Maybe you’ll find what I missed!
I suppose it doesn’t really matter now, since the fallout from the statement — interpreted to imply that African-American children were better off under slavery — has led Vander Plaats to put a revised Pledge on his website, dated July 9, which strikes that first point entirely.
The “declaration” also attacks non-heterosexuals, the divorced, and cohabiting heterosexuals.
It declares that there is an “anti-scientific bias which holds, in complete absence of empirical proof, that non-heterosexual inclinations are genetically determined, irresistible and akin to innate traits like race, gender and eye color”. I’ve never seen empirical proof (or even empirical evidence, which is what someone with a “scientific bias” would seek) that heterosexual inclinations are “irresistible” either, have you?
The associated footnote asserts that science hasn’t proven that “homosexual preference or behavior is irresistible as a function of genetic determinism or other form of fatalism”.
The same lengthy footnote (8 in original, 7 in revised) complains that science has never shown things it’s never attempted to show — like proving that children are better served by something other than living with monogamous parents; that economic growth will be supported by “undermining the institution of faithful, lawful marriage as between only one man and one woman”, or most bizarrely, that “anal sex, group sex, serial marriage, promiscuity” and anything other than monogamous marriage lead to improvements in public health.
Vander Plaats’s document also complains that science has not proven a negative — about Constitutional law!
That the longstanding religious liberties of American parents, children, religious and civic leaders who adhere to Jewish and Christian tradition, teaching and sacred texts regarding faithful heterosexual monogamy are not jeopardized by recent or pending redefinitions of legal marriage to include same-sex unions, polygamy and other kinds of intimate relations
While I’ve no doubt there are scientists who study Constitutional law, I am pretty sure it’s impossible to conduct a peer-reviewed study which will perfectly predict Supreme Court decisions. Even if it were possible to make such prediction, Vander Plaats’ definition of “religious liberty” is not given. Does “religious liberty” mean “teaching what I want in my church and my home” or “harassing or refusing to serve/employ/rent apartments to people who don’t share my views”?
What candidate won’t agree with the first two points of the pledge, to be faithful to her own spouse and to respect the marital vows of others? (OK, other than thrice-married Newt Gingrich, whose campaign imploded a few weeks ago anyway . . . )
Bachmann pledges a few other things (numbered and summarized/annotated for your convenience):
- Point 3: Support only “faithful constitutionalists” as judges.
Given Bachmann’s love for Christian Nation revisionist David Barton, it’s safe to bet “faithful constitutionalist” means “believer that our laws are based on the Ten Commandments and Biblical law“.
- Point 4: Oppose “any redefinition of marriage”.
Here, they lump same-sex marriage in with polyandry and bigamy, and appear to be after elimination of civil unions, as well.
- Point 5: Recognize that married people have better sex than unmarried, and kids raised by two parents are [better kids].
Huh? How is this a “candidate pledge”?
- Point 6: Support reform of “anti-marriage aspects” of welfare and tax policy and divorce law, including extended “cooling off” periods for those seeking divorce.
Candidate must pledge greater government involvement in people’s marriages?
- Point 7: Vigorously defend DOMA in federal and state court.
That’s right, equal protection under the law only applies to “people like us”.
- Point 8: Protect women and children from a series of offenses ranging from human trafficking and sex slavery to any and all forms of pornography or abortion.
Note that human trafficking, sex slavery, and prostitution are already illegal. Thus, this translates to “ban all pornography and all abortion”. The porn ban has gotten more attention than anything else!
- Point 9: Segregate and micromanage the military: Support safeguards against “intimate commingling among attracteds” (bathrooms, barracks, tents) and termination of military policymakers who would put women in forward combat roles.
In other words, segregate men/women and also segregate homosexuals from heterosexuals, and not allow women in combat. Please note that the military already has regulations about sexual harassment, adultery, etc., so the target here is segregation.
- Point 10: Reject Sharia Islam and all other “anti-woman, anti-human rights forms of totalitarian control”.
Wouldn’t this require Bachmann to reject Dominionism? I certainly consider executing homosexuals and adulterous women — Biblical law — to be anti-woman and anti-human rights. Of course, I consider women and homosexuals to be human — this may be the point of disconnect.
- Point 11: Recognize that “robust childbearing and reproduction” is in the US’ best interest.
Encourage indiscriminate reproduction! More likely, this means greater restriction on access to contraception.
- Point 12: Downsize the government.
Except where Candidate has pledged to expand it into citizens’ private lives and micromanagement of the military, see Points 6, 7, 8, and 9 above.
- Point 13: Defend religious liberty and freedom of speech against the “intolerance” of those who would [sue] citizens and [churches] for their [anti-gay hate speech].
Because everyone has equal freedoms, but some people are more equal than others.
None of these items should come as a big surprise coming from Bachmann or Santorum. The surprise will come if other candidates sign on.
The Des Moines Register reports that Jon Huntsman refused, as he “does not sign pledges”; Ron Paul “has reservations”, and Tim Pawlenty “is reviewing the document”. The Romney, Gingrich, and Cain campaigns have so far declined comment.
Bachmann has shown how poorly she understands America, outside of her narrow Tea Party base. What will happen to Bachmann’s solid Tea Party support now that she has pledged to ban pornography? After all, pornography is quite popular in most red states, and roughly 36% of the population visits an adult site monthly.