What Fresh Hell Is This?

July 11, 2011

More On Bob Vander Plaatz's Pledge

There's been an update or two to The Iowa Pledge I wrote about on the 8th.

For those who don't know, a conservative group from Iowa called The Family Leader issued this "pledge" for all GOP candidates (and their supporters) to deal with. At the time of my writing that blog post, only Michele Bachmann had signed it.

And now there's two:
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum was initially “taken aback” by a pro-marriage pledge that asks presidential candidates to promise personal fidelity to their spouses, but said he ultimately decided to sign it.

“When I first read it, I was taken aback by it. I can't argue that I wasn't,” the former Pennsylvania senator said in an interview airing Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“But I understand why they're saying it, because it does undermine people's respect for the institution, respect for the people governing this country. If you can't be faithful to the people that you're closest to, then how can we count on you to be faithful to those of us who you represent?”
There was some other stuff in there, too, that Rick's pledged to support:
Other provisions in the pledge include promises to only appoint conservative judges, to remove anti-traditional marriage provisions in the tax code and opposition to any constitutional redefinition of marriage.
And some stuff he doesn't have to.

For instance when he signed the pledge, there was this language in it:
Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly 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 AfricanAmerican baby born after the election of the USA‟s first African-American President.
Wasn't slavery great?? It kept African-American families together!

Until someone was sold, of course. Keeping families together is one thing, but property rights are property rights. And as Ron Paul said (in another context, of course) private business owners have an absolute right to decide what to do with their own property.

But I digress.

Luckily for Rick and Michele, there's been some changes to the pledge:
Responding to a growing controversy, an Iowa-based conservative group has removed a passage in a marriage pact signed by two GOP presidential candidates that suggested black families were in better shape during slavery.

“After careful deliberation and wise insight and input from valued colleagues we deeply respect, we agree that the statement referencing children born into slavery can be misconstrued, and such misconstruction can detract from the core message of the Marriage Vow: that ALL of us must work to strengthen and support families and marriages between one woman and one man," said Bob Vander Plaats, head of The Family Leader.

"We sincerely apologize for any negative feelings this has caused, and have removed the language from the vow, " added Vander Plaats, who is known as a king maker in Iowa.
The campaigns have done the CYA dance:
Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum signed the two-page document entitled "The Marriage Vow - A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family," on Thursday, but their campaigns emphasized that the "candidate vow" portion of the pledge that they put their stamps of approval on didn't mention slavery. Instead, it condemned gay marriage, abortion, infidelity and pornography.
Here's some meat from the pledge that's still in force. In that section of the pledge that outlines why marriage is in such deep trouble in Amurika, there's this:
Social protections, especially for women and children, have been evaporating as we have collectively “debased the currency” of marriage. This debasement continues as a function of adultery; “quickie divorce;” physical and verbal spousal abuse; non committal co-habitation; exemplary infidelity and “unwed cheating” among celebrities, sports figures and politicians; 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; as well as anti-scientific bias which holds, against all empirical evidence, that homosexual behavior in particular, and sexual promiscuity in general, optimizes individual or public health.
I am not sure about the "absence of all empirical proof" part, but let's for the sake of argument assume it's absolutely 100% correct (which it isn't, but let's just go with this for a second) and being gay is a choice, that it's not (as they say) hardwired into the brain.

What possible difference would that make?

For any given person, their sexuality is either a choice or it isn't. If it isn't, then no civilized society should condemn that person for merely being what they were born to be. If it's a choice then no civilized society should condemn that person for exercising his or her free will.

There's one republican who disagrees with the pledge:
Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson thinks the pledge that an Iowa Christian conservative group is circulating is offensive because it condemn gays, single parents, divorcees, Muslims, women who choose to have abortions “and everyone else who doesn’t fit in a Norman Rockwell painting.”
And:
This ‘pledge’ is nothing short of a promise to discriminate against everyone who makes a personal choice that doesn’t fit into a particular definition of ‘virtue’.
Proof that not all conservatives got teh crazie.

Good to know.