Presidential candidate Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) signed a highly offensive pledge advanced by the Iowa social conservative group The Family Leader. The pledge insensitively compares childrearing by single parents and same-sex couples to slavery, declares homosexuality a public health risk and compares it to polygamy, polyandry, and adultery, rejects a woman’s right to make decisions about her health, and continues the right wing’s incorrect straw-man argument against Islam. Nearly every point in the pledge conflicts with the values of most American Jews, who largely disagree with most of the points made by the pledge and oppose racist and homophobic rhetoric.
In particular, the pledge states:
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 African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.
LBJ’s 1965 War on Poverty was triggered in part by the famous ‘Moynihan Report’ finding that the black out-of-wedlock rate had hit 26%; today, the white rate exceeds that, the overall rate is 41% and over 70% of African-American babies are born to single parents - a prime sociological indicator for poverty, pathology and prison regardless of race or ethnicity.
This pledge is just the latest indication that today’s Republican Party has been taken over by extremists. Bachmann’s prompt signing confirms what NJDC knew and said before: Bachmann is simply too extreme for the vast majority of American Jews.
** Update July 11, 2011 **
Rick Santorum also signed the pledge, CNN’s Alison Harding reported Saturday.
The Family Leader also retracted its slavery reference in the pledge’s preamble, Politico’s Maggie Haberman reported Saturday. In a statement, Family Leader officials said:
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… We sincerely apologize for any negative feelings this has caused, and have removed the language from the vow.
Haberman also reported that Bachmann’s campaign attempted to distance her from the slavery reference:
‘She signed the “candidate vow,”’ campaign spokeswoman Alice Stewart said, and distanced Bachmann from the preamble language, saying, ‘In no uncertain terms, Congresswoman Bachmann believes that slavery was horrible and economic enslavement is also horrible.’
It wasn’t clear whether Bachmann had read the ‘slavery’ language in the preamble, but Stewart later added Bachmann ‘stands behind the candidate vow - which makes absolutely no reference to slavery.’