US Republican presidential candidates held a debate last night and they sent a pretty clear message to secular progressives: do not, under any circumstances, vote for us.
On separation of Church and State (from this transcript):
PAWLENTY: Well, the protections between the separation of church and state were designed to protect people of faith from government, not government from people of faith. This is a country that in our founding documents says we’re a nation that’s founded under God, and the privileges and blessings at that we have are from our creator. They’re not from our member of Congress. They’re not from our county commissioner.
And 39 of the 50 states have in the very early phrases of their constitutions language like Minnesota has in its preamble. It says this, “We the people of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberties,” and so the Founding Fathers understood that the blessings that we have as a nation come from our creator and we should stop and say thanks and express gratitude for that. I embrace that.
Our founding fathers were deists, atheists, and Christians but above all that they were secularists who made it blindingly obvious that there was to be a clear separation of church and state. Shouldn’t a basic understanding of American history be a prerequisite for a presidential candidate?
SANTORUM: I’m some who believes that you approach issues using faith and reason. And if your faith is pure and your reason is right, they’ll end up in the same place.
I think the key to the success of this country, how we all live together, because we are a very diverse country — Madison called it the perfect remedy — which was to allow everybody, people of faith and no faith, to come in and make their claims in the public square, to be heard, have those arguments, and not to say because you’re not a person of faith, you need to stay out, because you have strong faith convictions, your opinion is invalid. Just the opposite — we get along because we know that we — all of our ideas are allowed in and tolerated. That’s what makes America work.
Credit where it’s due: congrats to Rick Santorum for saying the least stupid thing that night about separation of church and state.
KING: Congressman Paul, does faith have a role in these public issues, the public square, or is it a personal issue at your home and in your church?
PAUL: I think faith has something to do with the character of the people that represent us, and law should have a moral fiber to it and our leaders should. We shouldn’t expect us to try to change morality. You can’t teach people how to be moral.
But the Constitution addresses this by saying — literally, it says no theocracy. But it doesn’t talk about church and state. The most important thing is the First Amendment. Congress shall write no laws — which means Congress should never prohibit the expression of your Christian faith in a public place.
And an award to Ron Paul for maybe the most stupid! Let’s get a replay of that:
But the Constitution addresses this by saying — literally, it says no theocracy. But it doesn’t talk about church and state.
Apparently Ron Paul doesn’t know the meaning of either theocracy, church, state, or all of the above.
Then the focus switched to Muslims. Herman Cain (who? Oh some businessman who once said he would never want a Muslim to serve on his cabinet) clarified that he’d let a Muslim be in his administration, just not the kind of Muslim that is trying to kill us:
CAIN: First, the statement was would I be comfortable with a Muslim in my administration, not that I wouldn’t appoint one. That’s the exact transcript.
And I would not be comfortable because you have peaceful Muslims and then you have militant Muslims, those that are trying to kill us.
And so, when I said I wouldn’t be comfortable, I was thinking about the ones that are trying to kill us, number one.
That’s a good point! Who would be comfortable working with someone who is trying to kill you? He’d probably be totally cool if one of his opponents said the same thing about black people. “It’s not that I don’t want any black people in my cabinet. I just don’t want any black people who may be trying to murder me.”
But here’s the problem: how do you tell the difference between a good Muslim and an evil Muslim? You could ask during the interview process, of course – “Tell me, how do you feel about murdering infidels? Strongly for, slightly for, indifferent, slightly against, or strongly against? Uh huh, I see . . . ” There’s a problem with that, though, which Newt Gingrich quickly pointed out:
GINGRICH: I just want to comment for a second. The Pakistani who emigrated to the U.S. became a citizen, built a car bomb which luckily failed to go off in Times Square was asked by the federal judge, how could he have done that when he signed — when he swore an oath to the United States. And he looked at the judge and said, “You’re my enemy. I lied.”
Now, I just want to go out on a limb here. I’m in favor of saying to people, if you’re not prepared to be loyal to the United States, you will not serve in my administration, period.
Good point, Newt! How can we possibly separate the Muslims who want to kill us from the ones who don’t? We can’t! So we should probably just find out who all the Muslims are and then black list them, right? That worked really well in the past. What was that guy’s name, McCarthy?
GINGRICH: We did this — we did this in dealing with the Nazis and we did this in dealing with the communists. And it was controversial both times, and both times we discovered after a while, you know, there are some genuinely bad people who would like to infiltrate our country. And we have got to have the guts to stand up and say no.
Yeah, remember when we were all like, “Hey, that McCarthy guy really had a point, didn’t he?” Yep.
Then the debate moved on to the gayz and how they’re trying to ruin marriage:
I also believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I carried that legislation when I was a senator in Minnesota, and I believe that for children, the best possible way to raise children is to have a mother and father in their life.
Then she mentions that she was raised by a single mother because her parents got divorced. So yeah, let’s stop the gayz from screwing up marriage! The heteros are doing such a great job with it!
And speaking of the Republican agenda item of making life miserable for gay people, all but Santorum (omg he actually came across as not the worst) favor Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Yes, even the Libertarian idol Ron Paul, who doesn’t believe in gay rights:
PAUL: I would not work to overthrow [DADT]. We have to remember, rights don’t come in groups. We shouldn’t have gay rights. Rights come as individuals. If we would (ph) have this major debate going on, it would be behavior that would count, not the person who belongs to which group.
So yeah, it doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, so long as you never act gay. Acting straight is fine because that’s normal.
And then of course we get to women’s legal right to abortion, an absolutely essential part of women’s health and freedom. Michelle Bachmann is anti-choice and would make the right to abortion illegal if she becomes president. Watch as she refuses to answer whether or not she would allow exceptions for abortion in the case of rape, incest, or maternal death:
FOREMAN: Hi, John. Representative Bachmann, I have a question for you. Governor Pawlenty says he opposes abortion rights except in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is at stake. Do you have any problem with that position? And if so, why?
BACHMANN: I am 100 percent pro-life. I’ve given birth to five babies, and I’ve taken 23 foster children into my home. I believe in the dignity of life from conception until natural death. I believe in the sanctity of human life.
And I think the most eloquent words ever written were those in our Declaration of Independence that said it’s a creator who endowed us with inalienable rights given to us from God, not from government. And the beauty of that is that government cannot take those rights away. Only God can give, and only God can take.
And the first of those rights is life. And I stand for that right. I stand for the right to life. The very few cases that deal with those exceptions are the very tiniest of fraction of cases, and yet they get all the attention. Where all of the firepower is and where the real battle is, is on the general — genuine issue of taking an innocent human life. I stand for life from conception until natural death.
Tim Pawlenty isn’t going to let her top him:
KING: All right. Governor Pawlenty, it was your position that was brought into the question. We’ll give you a few seconds.
PAWLENTY: Well, this is a great example where we can look at our records. The National Review Online, which is a conservative publication, said based on results — not just based on words — I was probably the most pro-life candidate in this race.
As governor of the state of Minnesota, I appointed to the Supreme Court a conservative court for the first time in the modern history of my state. We passed the most pro-life legislation anytime in the modern history of the state, which I proposed and signed, including women’s right to know, including positive alternatives to abortion legislation, and many others.
I’m solidly pro-life. The main pro-life organization in Minnesota gives me very, very high marks. And I haven’t just talked about these things; I’ve done it.
And of course Santorum and Gingrich wouldn’t miss the chance to also mention that they’d take away a woman’s right to choose if given the opportunity:
SANTORUM: I think — I think an issue should be — in looking at any candidate is looking at the authenticity of that candidate and looking at their — at their record over time and what they fought for. And I think that’s — that a factor that — that should be determined.
You can look at my record. Not only have I been consistently pro-life, but I’ve taken the — you know, I’ve not just taken the pledge, I’ve taken the bullets to go out there and fight for this and lead on those issues. And I think that’s a factor that people should consider when you — when you look, well, what is this president going to do when he comes to office?
A lot of folks run for president as pro-life and then that issue gets shoved to the back burner. I will tell you that the issue of pro-life, the sanctity and dignity of every human life, not just at birth, not just on the issue of abortion, but with respect to the entire life, which I mentioned welfare reform and — and the dignity of people at the end of life, those issues will be top priority issues for me to make sure that all life is respected and held with dignity.
KING: Governor Romney, let me give you — take — take 20 or 30 seconds, if there’s a Republican out there for whom this important, who questions your authenticity on the issue?
ROMNEY: People have had a chance to look at my record and look what I’ve said as — as I’ve been through that last campaign. I believe people understand that I’m firmly pro-life. I will support justices who believe in following the Constitution and not legislating from the bench. And I believe in the sanctity of life from the very beginning until the very end.
Yep, Santorum is taking the bullets! Not the bullets meant for abortion providers, of course. No, those are in the process of being protected by his Republican cohorts in South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.
No seriously, go back and read that link. It’s about a man who traveled to Madison, WI in May to shoot abortion providers “right in the head.” The day he was arrested a State committee approved a bill to allow residents to carry concealed weapons with no permit or training. The article also mentions that Nebraska is considering the same bill that was overturned in South Dakota that considered the murder of abortion providers as justifiable homicide. Just an aside.
So anyway, there you have it: anti-abortion, anti-first amendment, anti-gay rights. Stellar line-up, Republicans!