Karger beats Bachmann in New Hampshire
January 12th, 2012
Granted Michele Bachmann had withdrawn from the race for the presidency. Nevertheless, it is with great amusement that we pass on this information from the campaign of openly gay GOP presidential candidate Fred Karger:
BACHMANN – Total Votes 347
KARGER – Total Votes 485
Out Of Many, Fewer
January 4th, 2012
One aspect of the GOP race which greatly benefited former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was the splintered tea-party/Evangelical vote across five other candidates: Sen. Rick Santorum, Rep. Ron Paul, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann. It’s worth noting that while Romney is the front-runner by virtue of his narrow Iowa win, his massive war chest and a well-established national organization, three out of four Iowa Republican caucus-goers nevertheless voted against him.
Today, with Bachmann dropping out and Perry going back to Texas to ask God if he still wants him to run, we may begin to see a consolidation of the tea party/Evangelical vote around Santorum. That could be significant. If the Iowa votes cast for those three “Not Mitt” candidates — Santorum, Bachmann and Perry — all went to Santorum, it would have brought his total up to 40% against Romney’s 25%. Sure, not all of those votes would have consolidated to Santorum; some would have likely drifted over to Romney or Paul, but take a quick glance at the polling data (as all of the campaigns are doing right now) and you can quickly see how the Iowa race would have been very different without that split.
Ron Paul, who came in a solid third in Iowa, probably won’t benefit much from such a consolidation, especially in closed primary states where non-Republicans can’t easily cross over to vote in the GOP primary. Whether a smaller field will help Santorum overcome his huge deficit in money and organization is still an open question. I doubt it. But social conservative extremists are beginning to see this consolidation as the only way to stay in the game. Bob Vander Plaats, head of Iowa’s anti-gay Family Leader, endorsed Santorum just two weeks ago, not long after Santorum’s campaign admitted that Vander Plaats indirectly solicited money from Santorum’s campaign. (The asking price for an endorsement was reportedly as high as one million dollars.) Today, Vander Plaats is calling on Bachmann, Perry and Gingrich to step out of the race:
“The worst thing that can happen to Mitt Romney is to run head to head against Rick Santorum,” he told reporters at Santorum’s campaign headquarters here tonight. “He wants to have a multiple candidate field, so I think some of these candidates — they need to reassess where they are at tonight.”
…”We did this drill four years ago. Had Fred Thompson not stayed in the race in South Carolina and takes nine percentage points, Huckabee wins South Carolina,” he said.
“If Huckabee wins South Carolina, McCain is out of the race and it’s Huckabee-Romney going into Florida. So what I’m saying is that we have to be smart about getting a pro-family conservative to go up against Mitt Romney.”
Laura Ingraham: Can you see a scenario under which the two of you would align together to try to defeat the establishment candidate, Mitt Romney?
Newt Gingrich:Absolutely. Of course. I mean Rick and I have a 20-year friendship, we are both rebels, we both came into this business as reformers, we both dislike deeply the degree to which the establishment sells out the American people. We both think Washington has to be changed in very fundamental ways, and we have lots of things that fit together. And the thing that’s interesting is if you take the votes, you add to that Perry and Bachmann, you begin to see the size of the conservative vote compared to Romney…if you take, you know, Santorum and Perry and Bachmann and Gingrich you get some sense of what a small minority Romney really represents.
Update: Mother Jones’s David Corn says that Newt is ready to settle scores in the time-honored tradition he established as the bomb-throwing House Speaker. Meanwhile, it looks like Perry still thinks he’s in the race despite his fifth place showing in Iowa.
It’s Romney By A Perfectly Coiffed Hair
January 4th, 2012
After spending millions of dollars and campaigning more or less nonstop for four years, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney barely squished passed the late surging Sen. Rick Santorum by a mere eight votes. Santorum is now the last Not Mitt in the race, having dethroned a long line of other Anyone-But-Mitts who had held the frontrunner or near-frontrunner status over the past several months. And what a line that was, beginning with Rep. Michele Bachmann, then Texas Gov. Rick Perry, then pizza magnate Herman Cain, then former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, all of whom courted the tea party and Evangelical wings of the GOP. When caucus day came, it just happened to line up with being Santorum’s turn. According to entrance and exit polls, Santorum came in first with the tea party vote and the Evangelical vote, both by wide margins. If you were against abortion or wanted a candidate with “strong moral character,” then you almost certainly voted for Santorum. You also voted for him if you had only made up your mind in the past few days, indicating that he likely captured the vote that had been shifting from one candidate to another in search of the socially conservative Not Mitt for the past several months.
While Santorum soundly won the expectations race in Iowa, it’s hard to see how he can carry the momentum forward through the rest of the long primary season. He’s been effectively broke throughout the race, although this win will likely bring a huge fundraising bonus with it. But it will come too late to put together badly needed organizations in the upcoming races. Already, he has lost the ability to appear on the ballot in Virginia; he had no organization there to collect the signatures and turn them in. And so far, he’s been relatively untouched by the so-called super-PACs which played such a huge role in the campaign. That won’t last long now that he has their attention.
Meanwhile, third place Ron Paul’s entrance and exit poll results reveal his challenges ahead. If his critics charge that he is not a “true Republican” — whatever that’s supposed to mean these days — they can probably find data to back that up. Iowa is an open caucus state, meaning that it’s easy for anyone to show up at a caucus and participate even if they hadn’t been registered as a Republican for very long. Of those who identified as independent, Paul captured 43% of those votes, smashing the rest of the filed with that segment. He also captured 40% of those who claimed they were “moderate or liberal” and 33% of those who had never participated in a caucus before. These numbers demonstrate the challenge he faces. He came in third in a state with a relatively open caucus. We might expect him to do similarly well in other open primary states as well. But his base of support will almost certainly be sharply curtailed in closed primary states where non-Republicans won’t be allowed to easily change their registration or participate.
Which means that it now looks like the GOP nomination is Mitt’s to lose.
But while we’re discussing Paul, here’s another surprising thing about his numbers. He came in second place among Evangelicals, capturing 18% of the vote behind Santorum’s 32%. That’s comfortably ahead of Romney’s 14%. It’s also well ahead of Gingrich’s and Perry’s 14% each and Bachmann’s 6%. The latter three assiduously courted that vote and lost. Paul’s play for the Evangelical vote took place mostly behind the scenes by hiring anti-gay activist Michael Heath to serve a leading role in the Iowa campaign. It won him the endorsement of a prominent Christian Reconstructionist, who advocated for the death penalty for gay people. Not that Rev. Phil Kayser thought it should be necessary to kill very many homosexuals. Just killing a few of them “would have a tendency of driving homosexuals back into their closets.” It turns out that Paul’s campaign platform of effectively demolishing the role of the Federal Government in most affairs fits in very nicely with Christian Reconstructionsist theology, and Paul’s campaign was initially thrilled with Kayser’s endorsement. “We welcome Rev. Kayser’s endorsement and the enlightening statements he makes on how Ron Paul’s approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs.,” his campaign announced, before quietly erasing that announcement from Ron Paul’s web site with nary an explanation. “We’re thankful for the thoughtfulness with which he makes his endorsement and hope his endorsement and others like it make a strong top-three showing in the caucus more likely.” A top three showing is exactly what he got.
As for the rest, Rick Perry is going back to Texas to find out what God wants him to do next, Michele Bachmann is bowing out so her husband can keep on buying doggie sunglasses in a totally not-gay way, Gingrich has become bored by the whole thing now that he’s not the center of attention, and Jon Huntsman — well, we’re not quite sure where he is exactly.
NOM runs anti-Ron Paul ad
December 28th, 2011
While our community may be noting with discomfort the peculiar affiliations or view of a number of Ron Paul’s prominent supporters, that doesn’t mean that he is viewed favorably by those who dedicate themselves day in and day out to obsessing about Teh Ghey. It seems that Ron Paul is “a radical who would destroy traditional marriage in America.”
Whodathunkit? So pro-equality is Ron Paul that NOM has created an entire website for the purpose of “spotlighting Ron Paul’s unwillingness to defend marriage.”
But it seems that Ron Paul is not the only nefarious secret supporter of equality, Michele Bachmann has learned that Mitt Romney is pro-equality as well:
“Mitt Romney has defended gay marriage and even signed marriage licenses for same-sex couples and Ron Paul doesn’t believe the government should protect the institution of marriage,” Bachmann said. “I have a record of defending life, marriage and the family and I’ll protect them as president of the United States.”
But I just don’t think that Hatin’ on Teh Ghey is getting as much traction as it has in the past. There’s something about having real issues like a stagnant economy and high unemployment to make such issues seem as silly as they really are.
“Gays Can Marry, As Long As They Marry The Opposite Sex”
December 1st, 2011
That, in a nutshell, was Michele Bachmann’s answer to a high school student’s question asking why gay couples can’t get married:
Maybe she wouldn’t mind then if I were to marry her daughter.
Oh wait, what am I thinking? Just look at her husband.
Alexandra Petri at The Washington Post has a field day with this: ”This is the sound of a thousand heads hitting a thousand desks.”
The Daily Agenda for Saturday, November 19
November 19th, 2011
TODAY’S AGENDA (OURS):
Transgender Day of Remembrance: Several locations. While tomorrow is officially the day set aside to remember those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia, some TDoR events are taking place today. TDoR began in reaction to the brutal murder of Rita Hester, who was killed on November 28, 1998. Her murder resulted in the creation of the Remembering Our Dead web site and a candlelight vigil in 1999. In the first nine months of 2011, 116 transgender people have been killed around the world, according to Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM). They also say that there have been at least 681 murders in 50 countries since 2008. Observances for the Transgender Day of Rememberance typically consist of the reading of the names of those who have died because of their gender identity, expression, presentation or perception of gender variance. Observances are being held in cities all around the world. Click here to find an observance near you.
TODAY’S AGENDA (THEIRS):
Thanksgiving Family Forum: Des Moines, IA. The anti-gay Family Leader will host a Thanksgiving Family Forum with GOP presidential candidates Sen. Rick Santorum, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Ron Paul, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, pizza magnate Herman Cain, and Rep. Michele Bachmann “sitting shoulder to shoulder around a ‘Thanksgiving table’.” That hokey piece of stagecraft is the brainchild of organizer Bob Vander Plaats, who has this as a dress code: “the audience attire will be ‘business casual,’ but the candidates were asked ‘to dress like they’re going to Thanksgiving dinner’.” Which means that one of them will be wearing a loud green sweater with a giant white snowflake.
Noticably absent from the banquet is Gov. Mitt Romney, which has Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats steamed at the snub. “Mitt Romney has dissed this base in Iowa and this diss will not stay in Iowa,” he told Fox News. “This has national tentacles. … This might prove that he is not smart enough to be president. …I think what will happen is what happened in 2008. He’s been in this position before. He’s been on top of polls only to find his campaign tanking and sucking air.” Tell us how you really feel, Bob.
Family Leader promises that “ALL the questions will be centered around issues relating to the family and are designed to gauge the constitutional and biblical worldviews of the candidates.” And to make sure none of the candidates move too far from an anti-gay agenda, two ten-minute segments of the two-hour forum will be headed by Focus On the Family’s Tom Minnery, and the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown. The remainder of the one hour and forty minutes will be moderated by Fox News’ Frank Lutz. It begins at 4:00 p.m. at the First Federated Church in Des Moines. While the event is open to the press, the latest word has it that no major network will be televising it. Thank God for small favors.
TODAY IN HISTORY:
American Council of Christian Churches Calls AIDS “God’s Wrath”: 1989. Peter Steinfels wrote in the New York Times about a gathering earlier in November of U.S. Catholic Bishops in Baltimore that had met to hammer out a document responding to the AIDS crisis. The bishops decided overwhelmingly to reject the theological proposition that AIDS was in any way a punishment from God, a position held by one in four Americans, according to a recent poll. J. Gordon Melton, director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, had published 68 statements on AIDS from 45 different religious groups in the United States, Canada and Great Britain, and found “a remarkable” across both liberal and conservative religious groups recognizing that AIDS was not just a gay problem, and “that special ministries should be established to serve AIDS victims, their families and friends, and that the civil rights of homosexuals or of those with the AIDS virus should be protected.” But, The Times learned, that consensus wasn’t unanimous:
The Bible repeatedly describes God as employing all kinds of terrors, natural and human, to punish those who disobey his commands. These biblical accounts naturally governed the reaction of the American Council of Christian Churches, a fundamentalist group that recently expressed dismay at the consensus discovered by Mr. Melton. The council, which claims to represent about two million ”Bible Christians,” promptly went on record upholding the idea that AIDS is God’s wrath visited on homosexuals and drug addicts, although for their ultimate benefit if they turn to Jesus.
If you know of something that belongs on the Agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).
As always, please consider this your open thread for the day.
Michele Bachmann, Enemy of Religious Freedom
November 4th, 2011
Dear Representative Bachmann,
Why do you oppose religious freedom? And why are you such an enemy of the soldiers who guard our liberty?
I’m referring to your signature on Rep. Todd Akin’s letter to Senate leaders, which calls for rolling back the new policy allowing military chaplains to perform same-sex weddings in states where it’s legal. The policy’s pretty simple:
A military chaplain may participate in or officiate any private ceremony, whether on or off a military installation, provided that the ceremony is not prohibited by applicable state and local law. Further, a chaplain is not required to participate in or officiate a private ceremony if doing so would be in variance with the tenets of his or her religion or personal beliefs. Finally, a military chaplain’s participation in a private ceremony does not constitute an endorsement of the ceremony by DoD.
(I emphasized a few key phrases for you.)
Some chaplains have worried the military would compromise their religious freedom by forcing them to conduct same-sex weddings. This policy prevents that. In fact, this policy maximizes religious freedom by leaving the decision entirely up to each chaplain’s conscience. Yet you oppose this freedom! You’re eager to let the government dictate religious policy. How and when did you become such a foe of religious liberty?
According to the letter you signed, this policy violates DOMA. That’s nonsense, of course. DOMA has two main provisions:
- States that ban same-sex marriage will not be forced to recognize such marriages from states that allow them.
- The federal government will not recognize same-sex marriages as marriages.
Nothing in the policy violates either principle. Your letter tries to assert otherwise:
The use of federal property or federal employees to perform anything but opposite-sex ceremonies is a clear contravention of the law.
Do you expect us to believe that? DOMA certainly doesn’t say it. And what a violation of liberty it would be! Consider a federal employee, say a guard for the Border Patrol — or a scientist for the National Institutes of Health, or a geologist with the Department of the Interior — who is also an ordained minister. Are you truly claiming DOMA prevents these good people from marrying same-sex couples in a private ceremony simply because they happen to be federal employees?
If not, then retract the claim. And if so — again, when did you become such a foe of religious liberty, such an advocate of government control over religion?
The real travesty, though, is your contemptuous treatment of our troops. We ask such sacrifice from them, and you are pointlessly trying to make their lives harder. Hampering their legal right to marry in states that allow it. Restricting their choice of who will preside over the most important ceremony of their lives.
And you’re not just harming gay and lesbian troops. As your letter acknowledges: “the National Defense Authorization Act is well underway and needed funds for our troops should be expedited without delay.” Yet here you are, trying to delay those funds, because you’ve made restricting the religious freedom of chaplains a higher priority than protecting American soldiers.
Really, Ms. Bachmann, have you no shame?
Proof that Marcus Bachmann Is Not Gay
October 19th, 2011
No gay man would ever let someone walk out on stage before a nationally-televised audience dressed like that.
The Daily Agenda for Friday, October 7
October 7th, 2011
TODAY’S AGENDA (OURS):
Campus Pride College Fair and Prep Day: Boston, MA. Campus Pride’s College Fair is an opportunity for LGBT students and their families to discuss educational opportunities with participating LGBT-affirming colleges and universities. The fair features expert advice about LGBT-friendly colleges, scholarship resources and even effective tips for campus visits. The Northwest Region College Fair takes place today at Boston’s City Hall, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. More information can be found here. Future College Fairs will take place in Los Angeles (Oct 15) and New York (Nov 4).
Also This Weekend: Iris Prize Film Festival, Cardiff, UK.
TODAY’S AGENDA (THEIRS):
Values Voter Summit: Washington, D.C. The Family “Research” Council, one of only a handful of organizations tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center for being an anti-gay hate group, kicks off its annual Values Voter Summit in the nation’s capital this morning with a breakfast talk by Mat Staver, Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty Unversity’s Law School. Members of Staver’s Liberty Counsel and law school staff have been implicated in the Isabella Miller-Jenkins kidnapping case, while teachers have instructed law students to ignore “man’s law” in favor of “God’s law.” And so as you might expect, the Summit just goes straight downhill from there. Other speakers include House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and GOP Presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum. And all of that is before lunch, when voting begins for the Summit’s straw poll. Afternoon speakers include GOP presidential candidates Herman Cain, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, plus Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). The evening plenary session features another GOP presidential candidate, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), as well as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. The craziness just goes on and on and on through Sunday morning.
Exodus International Florida Regional Conference. Leesburg, FL. Exodus International will conduct a two-day conference with the theme “Chosen for Freedom,” beginning today and continuing through Saturday. The conference’s featured speakers include Exodus International president Alan Chambers, former Exodus president Joe Dallas, and former Exodus vice president Randy Thomas. Also speaking is Dr. Julie Hamilton, a former president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and whose book, Handbook of Therapy for Unwanted Homosexual Attractions, includes a final chapter by discredited ex-gay activist George Rekers. As we reported in our original investigation of Rekers’s “treatment” of four-year-old Kirk Murphy, Rekers claimed that he had successfully turned the “effeminate pre-homosexual” boy into a straight man. He built his entire career on that supposedly groundbreaking success story. Except there were a couple of problems: Kirk grew up to be gay, and he ultimately committed suicide over the lifelong conflicts he struggled with as a result of that therapy. Yet in Hamilton’s book, Rekers boasted that Kirk “had a normal male identity,” six years after Kirk took his life. Hamilton’s book with Rekers’s boast is still on sale at NARTH’s web site, and I have no doubt that it will also be available at the conference, which takes place today and tomorrow at the First Baptist Church in Leesburg, FL.
Minnesota Anti-Marriage Strategy and Briefing Session: Bloomington, MN. The Minnesota Faith and Freedom Coalition, supporters of the latest proposed constitutional amendment to make same-sex marriage even more illegaler in the Gopher state, will hold a Strategy and Briefing Session at the Doubletree Inn in Bloomington, MN this morning from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Invited speakers include GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and former Christian Coalition honcho Ralph Reed.
If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).
And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?
Johnson “Embarrased” By Booing of American Soldier, Other Candidates Refuse To Comment
September 24th, 2011
ABC News’ Emily Friedman rounds up the reactions of GOP presidential candidates to the booing by audience members of Stephen Hill, a gay American Soldier stationed in Iraq, who asked about the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” during Thursday night’s debate. On the night of the debate, Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr. said he heard the booing and thought it was “unfortunate.” He later added, “We all wear the same uniform in America. We all salute the same flag I have two boys starting their journey in the U.S military. We should take more time to thank them for their services as opposed to finding differences based on background or orientation.”
After one news cycle passed, Sen. Rick Santorum claimed that he didn’t hear the booing (which was loud enough to actually create an echo in the vast hall in Orlando), and said he should have thanked the soldier for his service. At least that’s what he told Fox News. When speaking to ABC News, Santorum walked it backed a little.
“I didn’t hear it. I didn’t hear the boos,” Santorum told ABC News. “I heard the question and answered the question, so I’ve heard subsequently that happened. I’ve heard varied reports about whether they were booing the soldier or the policy.”
“I don’t know what they were booing,” he said. “If you can go out and find the people who were booing and find out if they were booing because a man was gay or because of a policy they don’t agree with.”
“You find out why they booed, and I’ll respond to your question,” he added.
Today, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson said he was embarrassed by the episode:
“That’s not the Republican Party that I belong to,” said Johnson. “I’m embarrassed by someone who serves in the military and can’t express their sexuality. I am representing the Republican Party that is tolerant. And to me that shows an intolerance that I’m not a part of in any way whatsoever. ”
Johnson added that he could hear the boos from the stage and believes that the other candidates – despite Santorum’s denial – could as well.
That’s a second candidate who admitted he could hear the boos from the stage. Yet none of the nine candidates spoke up against the demonstrated disrepsect of an active-duty soldier stationed in Iraq, and none of them engaged in the time-honored Republican tradition of shoving each other out of the way in the race to thank that soldier for his service to the country.
And for six of those candidates, that silence continues through day three. Pizzaman Herman Cain refused to comment saying he didn’t want his comments “taken out of context.” Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann’s spokesperson refused to comment, as did the campaigns for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Bachmann: Anti-Gay Bullying “Not A Federal Issue” — What About Her Own Congressional District
September 17th, 2011
CBS News reports that while on the campaign trail in Costa Mesa, California, GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann quickly dismissed anti-gay bullying as an important issue yesterday:
Alex Limon says he came to a Michele Bachmann rally here for one reason: To ask the Republican presidential candidate what she intends to do about school bullying in her district that reportedly targets gays.
He got to ask his question, but he didn’t get a lengthy answer.
“That’s not a federal issue,” Bachmann said, before moving on to the shake the hand of the next person waiting to speak to her.
Tammy Aaberg, mother of the Justin Aaberg who hanged himself after the Anoka-Hennepin, Minnesota school district failed to intervene against persistent anti-gay bullying, met for an hour Thursday with Bachmann’s congressional staffer to talk about problems with anti-gay bullying in Bachmann’s district. The staffer promised to take Aaberg’s concerns to the congresswoman, and Aaberg expressed hope that Bachmann would “come up with a positive response for the country.” I think we now have an answer for her.
Jay Leno Grills Michele Bachmann
September 17th, 2011
I guess when GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann agreed to appear on Jey Leno’s program last night, she thought she was in for lighthearted chit-chat that is usually reserved for Hollywood starlets. But since she’s not a starlet but a serious candidate for President of the United States, Leno treated her like one. Bachmann didn’t fare too well under the “hard” questioning.
Richard Adams at The Guardian says the things didn’t look good for her from the start:
The omens weren’t good as Leno announced his line-up of guests, the audience giving big cheers for Jason Statham and Lady Antebellum – but not a single whoop could be heard for Bachmann when her name was mentioned.
Mother of Suicide Victim Urges Bachmann To Stand Aganst Anti-Gay Bullying
September 16th, 2011
Tammy Aaberg, mother of the Justin Aaberg who hanged himself after the Anoka-Hennepin, Minnesota school district failed to intervene against persistent anti-gay bullying, met for an hour yesterday with a staffer for GOP Presidential candidate and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann. Aaberg and five other students and parents met with staffer Deb Steiskal, who reportedly took notes and asked questions and promised to relay their concerns to the congresswoman, along with more than 130,000 petition signatures calling on Bachman to condemn harassment of gay students in her district.
Bachmann was out of state on the presidential campaign trail. Steiskal promised to bring the groups concerns to the congresswoman, but Aaberg said she doubted Bachmann would take a stand. Aaberg emerged from the meeting saying she was “hopeful that Bachmann will either reach out or come up with a positive response for the country.” The congresswoman’s press secretary later said that Bachmann would respond after reviewing Aaberg’s request and the petitions.
In the past two years, eight students in the Anoka-Hennepin school district have killed themselves. The school district is currently being sued over the school board’s failure to address anti-gay bullying. Bachmann represents the Anoka-Hennepin School District area in Congress.
Bachmann Calls Earthquake and Hurricane “Wake Up Calls From God”
August 29th, 2011
GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann campaigned in Florida over the weekend. The St. Petersburg Times reports that Dominionist theologian Peter E. Waldron — they don’t exist, you know — is helping to organize her Florida campaign. Maybe that explains her latest outburst:
“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’
A campaign spokesperson later said, “Obviously she was saying it in jest.” Actually, given her views it’s really not that obvious.
Bachmann Two Weeks Ago: Nobody Cares About Marriage. Bachmann Now: It’s a Fundamental Issue.
August 26th, 2011
GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann finally answered a question about same-sex marriage, and her answer went well beyond repeating “I am running for the Presidency of the United States.” At a townhall meeting in South Carolina on Thursday, Bachmann was asked about same-sex marriage. She responded:
“In our coalition we have fiscal conservatives, national security conservatives, the Tea Party movement, and we have social conservatives,”" she said. “You put that team together and there’s no way that we can possibly lose the election in 2012. We need to stick together.”
Bachmann even touted her time as a Minnesota state lawmaker when she introduced a bill to put a gay marriage ban up to a statewide vote. She said her bill, which failed at the time, was inspired by what she saw happen in Massachusetts when the state Supreme Court intervened and same-sex marriage eventually became legal.
“When that happened, I knew that my home state of Minnesota could be next,” she said. “Minnesota and Massachusetts have a lot in common. And I was very concerned about that. And so I introduced a bill that would allow the people of Minnesota to define marriage as one man and one woman. In my home state, I was not exactly popular for doing that measure. But I felt that it was right to let the people of Minnesota decide on the definition of marriage, not a plurality of judges.”
Unlike with her appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press where she tried to downplay her stance on marriage, she told the South Carolina gathering that marriage was “a fundamental issue, this issue of marriage, that I think it’s one the people have to vote on.” She also reiterated her support for a federal constitutional ban on marriage equality.
Christian Dominionism Is Not A Myth
August 21st, 2011
On August 14, Michelle Goldberg sounded the alarm about the close ties that two GOP candidates for president, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have with extreme elements of far-right Cristianism known as Dominionism. Today, A. Larry Ross responds with a well-intentioned, but ultimately hopelessly informed counterargument that “Christian Dominionism is a Myth.” Ross’s argument rests on this crux:
Although her well-intentioned article may resonate in the echo chambers of her fellow East Coast media elite, Goldberg misapplies a broad label that few, if any, evangelicals use or with which they identify.
Ross identifies himself as “a lifelong evangelical who understands the foundational tenets of belief in the doctrine of love, according to the principles of Jesus in the Great Commandment and the Sermon on the Mount.” I take him at his word. I think that description applies to almost all who identify as evangelicals — as well as almost all who identify as mainline Protestants, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Mormon. Which means that it doesn’t really tell us much. And if the particular individuals that Goldberg discussed held themselves to that relatively simple and expansive definition, then there would hardly be any cause for alarm. But they don’t. And instead of understanding what they do believe to be equally essential articles of faith, Ross dismisses the entire phenomenon as ghosts dreamed up by the “East Cost media elite” (his words; how’s that for misapplying broad labels?) to pump more excitement into cable news channels:
Most Americans today consume news less for information than for validation, and gravitate to media outlets that reinforce opinions and a worldview they already embrace. Despite today’s proliferation of 24/7 news networks and social-media platforms, as everyone retreats to these silos of validation, we seem to have lost our public square, or at least the former civility of it.
Sojourners president Jim Wallis has observed that network-television viewers need to hear the collegial, respectful discussions among marquee leaders with opposing views that take place in network greenrooms moments before they aggressively attack and demonize each other in heated debates broadcast on point/counterpoint news programs.
But in discussing Dominionism, Goldberg doesn’t misapply anything. To the very point that Ross misses, she is actually applying a label to identify a theology that few, if any, evangelicals use or with which they identify, and she applies it specifically to that exceptionally tiny minority for whom the label does applies. These are not the people within the broad spectrum of Christianity, nor are they even those within the outer ten percent of its fringes. We’re not talking about the Pat Robertsons, the Joel Olsteens, the Albert Mohlers or the Rick Warrens. No, we’re talking about people who are far, far more fringe than anyone whose name immediately comes to mind whenever most people think of Christian Evangelicalism. And that is exactly Goldberg’s point. And when Goldberg says, “If you want to understand Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, understanding Dominionism isn’t optional,” that advice applies to mainstream Evangelicals as well. I suspect most of them don’t understand Dominionism either. Ross certainly doesn’t appear to.
Pretending that the so-called New Apostolic Movement and Seven Mountains Theology don’t exist or that those influenced by the Kansas City Prophets have not gained influence among particular presidential candidates here at home and political leaders abroad doesn’t make them go away. Granted, these are probably not the kind of people Ross runs into in his church, his friends and colleagues’ churches, or in any other circles he hands with. But just because they can’t be found under Ross’s bed or alongside him in the pews — or in Wallis’s greenroom sojourns — doesn’t mean they don’t exist. And when they are identified as close advisers credited for a big win in Iowa, or when they act as main speakers and moderators at a huge televised rally for a candidate’s benefit, the proper response is to ask hard questions of what they want for the country, not whistling and quickly walking away.
A Bachmann Staffer’s Dominionist Worldview, Gun-Running Charges, and Ties To Ugandan “Kill-The-Gays” Pastor
August 17th, 2011
A close associate of Rep. Michele Bachmann who believes that the Congresswoman is fighting for the presidency with “the anointing of God upon her,” has come under scrutiny for his 2006 arrest in Uganda on gun-running charges, and for his close relationship with Ugandan pentecostal pastor Martin Ssempa, a prominent advocate for that nation’s “Kill the Gays” Bill.
Peter E. Waldron, the staffer for Rep. Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign responsible for her faith-based outreach in Iowa and South Carolina, had been arrested in Uganda in 2006 on charges of running illegal guns and ammunition. Garance Franke-Ruta’s profile at The Atlantic resurrected the details. He had been arrested for possession of assault rifles and ammunition just days before Uganda’s first nominally multi-party elections in 20 years. The charges were dropped after Waldron spent more than a month in 2006 in the notorious Luriza Prison outside of Kampala. He was freed, he says, after pressure from the Bush administration. Of course, when it comes to Ugandan police work, the charges should be seen with some measure of skepticism, although newspaper reports (via archive.org) in Kampala at the time are quite detailed. Waldron himself isn’t helpful in clearing up matters. On the one hand, he says that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni operates death squads, and then calls Uganda’s leadership born-again Christians and good friends.
Particularly worrying is the company Waldron keeps. Richard Bartholomew had written about the 2006 arrest, and in the process recalled a 2004 story from The New Republic by Andrew Rice in which Rice describes Waldron as speaking at Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa’s church:
The Sunday I attended Ssempa’s church, after he finished his sermon, the pastor told his audience that he had a special guest to introduce, a visitor from the United States. All eyes fixed on a stocky white man with a thick moustache who wore a gray safari suit. He introduced himself as Dr. Peter Waldron of Wyoming. Waldron told the congregation that he had once been a military man and that he used to travel around Africa a lot in the 1960s. He was vague about the nature of his work. (“I’m not at liberty to say,” he later told me.) But he claimed that, on one occasion, it resulted in some good people getting executed by a firing squad. After that, he contemplated suicide, he told the audience. Then he found Jesus. “When you were born again, you became a new person. You left your tribe,” Waldron said. Now, he said, they were all bound together by their common love of God. The audience reacted enthusiastically, warmly welcoming Waldron’s speech. When Waldron launched into a story about how he’d recently been invited to the real White House in the company of religious rapper MC Hammer, the audience was wowed.
Several days later, I met Waldron at a Kampala hotel. He told me more of his story. At different times in his career, he said, he’d been a syndicated talk-radio host, a lobbyist, and a Republican political consultant. More recently, he had run sports programs for underprivileged youths in Tampa, Florida. Now, he was in Uganda, trying to sell computer software to government ministries while preaching on the weekends. “They embrace Americans here,” he said enthusiastically. Indeed, as we sat together, a steady stream of young admirers who had seen Waldron in church came up to greet him. They made complicated handshakes, the way Ugandans do, and Waldron boasted to me that he had met privately with President Museveni and his born-again wife. It struck me that, for many Americans of faith, Uganda–a country where homosexuality and abortion are outlawed, where politicians freely mix church and state, and where outward displays of religious devotion are the norm–represents a kind of haven. The United States may have a born-again president, but it is far too diverse to ever fully be, as conservatives call it, “a Christian nation.” But Uganda is on its way to becoming one.
Ssempa, of course, was the prominent supporter of Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which calls for the death penalty for LGBT people under certain circumstances. While Ssempa’s theology clearly defends such a practice, it is unclear whether Waldron agrees with Ssempa’s position. But an examination of Waldron’s particular theology isn’t encouraging. Richard Bartholomew also pointed to this 36-page document (via archive.org) which had been stored on Waldron’s web site and was dated 2004, explaining the guiding theology of Waldron’s Cities of Faith Ministries. Waldron’s theology mirrors that of the father of Christian Reconstructionism, R.J. Rushdooney, whom Waldron quoted in one passage. In the introduction, Walrdon wrote:
For generations Christians have wrongly divided all the affairs of their lives into secular matters and spiritual matters. Many of those secular-spiritual divisions and classifications are artificial divisions and heretical in its origins based on humanist philosophy rather than the historic Biblical teachings of the Church.
The modern Evangelical Christian is often a person who has made one’s life a huge set of pigeon holes in which every matter is classified as secular or spiritual. This obvious double-mindedness prevents the blessings of God to overtake one’s testimony – in the spirit, the soul, the body, and/or one’s material possessions.
The whole life of a Christian is spiritual, and everything he does which involves conduct, attitude or one’s role in society or, even, relationships has spiritual significance.
Waldron wrote that “the history of liberty is the history of Christian self-government” — and not just self-government in the sense that all individuals govern the course of their lives through the choices they make. No, Waldron’s concept of self-government is much broader:
A totalitarian form of governance arises when the Word of God is compromised, ignored or denied. A person will self-destruct from abuse of spirit, soul and body. A nation will collapse under a “hard” or “soft” form of dictatorship, abuse of public or elected office, and a general denial of human freedom – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – arises. The source of one’s belief system dictates the conduct whether it be personal or national. The same goes for the end result.
The Bible represents the absolute source for the guiding principles and precepts for all governments in man (self-government), of families (family government), churches (church government), and for nations (civil government).
Waldron co-wrote a book with George Grant titled, Rebuilding the Walls: A Biblical Strategy for Restoring America’s Greatness. Grant is well-known in Christian Reconstructionist circles. In 1987, Grant wrote The Changing of the Guard: Biblical Principles for Political Action, in which he made his call for a theocratic overthrow explicit. “It is dominion we are after,” Grant wrote. “World conquest. …If Jesus Christ is indeed Lord, as the Bible says, and if our commission is to bring the land into subjection to His Lordship, as the Bible says, then all our activities, all our witnessing, all our preaching, all our craftsmanship, all our stewardship, and all our political action will aim at nothing short of that sacred purpose.”
Waldron is the second close associate to Rep. Bachmann whose theology may at least condone remaining silent against the killing of gay people. Bradlee Dean, of Minnesota-based You Can Run But You Cannot Hide Ministries, commended Muslims who call for the execution of gay people for being more righteous than Christians. “This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws,” Dean explained on a local Christian Radio talk show. “They know homosexuality is an abomination.”
HOW CAN ANYONE STAND ON THE SIDELINE? I am simply amazed that some folks are waiting for Saul-like characters who look everything like a king while Michele fights with the anointing of God upon her. She is fearless, fierce in battle, and focused on winning the nomination and securing the White House. Thinking about running, waiting to throw their hat in the ring – foolishness. The battle rages now and Michele needs an army.
Four minutes later, he added:
JOIN THE BATTLE FOR AMERICA’S FUTURE: I need 300 gallant Christians to stand with me to resist the works of the devil. We must stand like Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae – sheild to shield, shoulder to shoulder – Has not God got an army in the hour of His need? Arise, again I say, Arise lets stand like Christians once again for His glory and praise!
Following Bachmann’s winning of the Iowa Straw Poll, Waltron wrote:
BACHMANN WINS: All the praise and glory goes to the LORD for Michele’s extraordinary win. She was able to do in 5-weeks what other campaigns could not do in 1-year or 4-years. The Hand of the LORD is upon her. Thank you for your prayers. I leave for SC tomorrow. Blessings to all.
In an additional comment on that same thread, Waldron added some more detail. He clearly doesn’t like Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s entry into the race:
I will be in Columbia and travel the entire state extensively. From afar and during prayer I see a Saul and David scenario between Perry and Bachmann. One looks everything like a king while the other is anointed. One has a testimony that is almost 40 years old, walks the talk, and sees through a Biblical World View lens. This will be a true test of “salt” in the nation. I pray that a “Salt Brigade” will arise to affirim God’s blessing on America and to renew the Covenant made by our ancestors with Him in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Michele Bachmann Doesn’t Judge Gays
August 15th, 2011
Fresh off of her victory in Iowa’s Straw Poll Saturday, Rep. Muchele Bachmann made the rounds of the Sunday morning talk shows to talk about her run for the GOP’s presidential nomination. Her positions on LGBT issues came up, when she appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press:
David Gregory: I also want to ask you about your interpretation of the Bible, and your feelings about gays and lesbians. You have said in recent years that opposition to same-sex marriage is a defining political debate in this country, you’re opposed to it, you’d like to see a constitutional ban against it in this country. And during a speech you gave in 2004 at an education conference you spoke openly and in detail about gays and lesbians. And I want to play a portion of that speech and have you react to it.
Michele Bachmann: It’s a very sad life. It’s part of Satan, I think, to say that this is “gay.” … It’s anything but gay. I leads to the personal enslavement of individuals. Because if you’re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage. It is personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement. And that’s why this is so dangerous. We need to have profound compassion for people who are dealing with the very real issue of sexual dysfunction in their life and sexual identity disorders.
Gregory: That is the view that President Bachmann would have of gay Americans?
Bachmann: Well I am running for the Presidency of the United States. I’m not running to be anyone’s judge….
Gregory: But you have judged them.
Bachmann: I don’t judge them. I don’t judge them. I am running for presidency of the United States.
Gregory. Is that the view of gay Americans that President Bachmann would have?
Bachmann: My view on marriage is that I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that’s what I stand for. But I ascribe honor and dignity to every person no matter what their background. They have honor and they have dignity.
Gregory: Do you think gay Americans hearing quotes like that from you would think that that’s honor and dignity coming from you about their circumstance?
Bachmann: I am not anyone’s judge and I am not standing as anyone’s judge.
Gregory: Congresswoman, do you think anybody hears that thinks you haven’t made a judgment about gays and lesbians?
Bachmann: That’s all I can tell you is that I’m not judging.
Gregory: So your words should stand for themselves.
Bachmann: I’m running for the presidency of the United States. That’s what’s important.
Gregory: Would you appoint an openly gay person to your administration? To your cabinet or name them as a judge?
Bachmann: My criteria would be the same, which would be where you stand on the Constitution, are you competent, and do you share my views. That’s my criteria.
Gregory: But those views are pretty clear. As far as a judge you talked about that. An openly gay person is acceptable as matter of your administration? As a member of your administration?
Bachmann: I have my criteria as what my appointments would be based on, it’s whether you uphold the Constitution, if you’re competent and if you share my views.
Gregory: So it would not be a factor?
Bachmann: I am not out asking any other questions.
Gregory: One last one on this. Can a gay couple who adopt children in your mind be considered a family?
Bachmann: When it comes to marriage and family, my opinion is that marriage is between a man and a woman. And I think that’s been my view and…
Gregory: So a gay couple with kids would not be considered a family to you?
Bachmann: You know, all of these kinds of questions really aren’t about what people are concerned about right now.
Gregory: Congresswoman, you said that any candidate for President should be asked about his or her views and their record. This is a record of your statements. These are the defining political issues for you as your political career advanced. You’re the one who said same-sex marriage was a defining political issue of our time. Those were your words back in 2004, so I’m just asking about your views on something that has animated your political life.
Bachmann: I think my views are clear.
Her views are perfectly clear. She believes gays are of Satan and that gay families are not to be discussed. And she believes that she isn’t judging anyone when she says that. And you know what? She really does believe she’s not judging anyone. Bachmann believes that God has rendered that judgment, not her. In her mind, she is simply informing everyone else what she believes to be unshakable proof. Saying that gays are “of Satan,” to her, is no more opinion than observing that the sky is blue on a clear day. o her, these are facts and not judgments. And that’s why she keeps repeating that she is running for the presidency, not for arbiter of the sky’s color.
And with these “facts,” it should come as no surprise that she would tell CNN that she would reimpose “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which a President Bachmann could very easily do under an Executive Order without Congressional approval.
GOP Candidates On Same-Sex Marriage
August 12th, 2011
Think Progress has a handy compilation clip from Thursday night’s GOP debate in Iowa of candidates discussing same-sex marriage. One of my favorite reactions comes from across the Pond, with The Guardian’s Richard Adams responding to Romney’s argument that “marriage is a status“:
Looking back through some clips, there’s Romney saying: “Marriage is a status, it’s not an activity.” Who says romance is dead, eh? Calling marriage a “status” makes it sound like a Facebook update.
The emerging consensus, albeit a snarky one, is that the debate’s real winner was Rick Perry, who doesn’t officially declare his candidacy until tomorrow.
Here’s the clip and transcript.
Mitt Romney: Marriage should be decided at the federal level. … Marriage is a status. It’s not an activity that goes on within the walls of a state and as a result, our marriage status relationship should be constant across the country. I believe we should have a federal amendment to the Constitution that defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman because I believe the ideal place to raise a child is in a home with a mom and a dad.
Jon Huntsman: I also believe in civil unions, because I think this nation can do a better job when it comes to equality. And I think this nation can do a better job when it comes to reciprocal beneficiary rights rights. And I believe that this is something that ought to be discussed among the various states. I don’t have any problem with the states having this discussion. But as for me, I support civil unions.
Ron Paul: (About whether polygamy would “be okay too”) It’s sort of like asking the question if the states wanted to legalize slavery or something like that, that is so past reality that no state is going to do that. But on the issue of marriage, I think marriage should be between a single man and a single woman and that the federal government shouldn’t be involved. I want less government involvement. I don’t want the federal government having a marriage police.
Rick Santorum: It sounds to me like Rep. Paul would actually say polygamous marriages are okay. If the state has the right to do it, they have the right to do it.
Michele Bachmann: I support the Federal Marriage Amendment because I believe that we will see this issue at the Supreme Court someday, and as president I would not nominate activist judges who legislate from the bench. I also want to say that when I was in Minnesota, I was the chief author of the Constitutional amendment to define marriage as one-man, one-woman. I have an absolutely unblemished record when it comes to this issue of man-woman marriage.
Maybe There’s A Theory of Ex-Gay Relativity
August 8th, 2011
The way the Bachmans have been ditching questions about Marcus Bachmann’s counselling clinic providing ex-gay therapy in direct conflict with the position of every major medical and mental health organization, you’d think they would be extra careful to avoid anything which would invite further scrutiny in that particular area. And if you thought that, you’d be wrong. Yesterday, Michele and Marcus Bachman attended an Iowa church in which the main point of the sermon was the promotion of the ex-gay movement.
[Point of Grace Church Pastor Jeff] Mullen’s sermon concluded with video testimonial from a man named Adam Hood, who claims to have been gay before experiencing a conversation with God. “I am so happy God has given me natural affection for a woman,” Hood said in the video, adding that his wife is nine months pregnant.
“We need to have compassion for people that are bound by that sin,” Hood added. “And it is a sin. Call a spade a spade.”
Yes, that Adam Hood, a.k.a Scarfboi. And if Hood is now accepted as being completely, totally, believe-you-him straight, then I guess you can see how Marcus Bachmann might start to look a little butch. If you squint.