I note with real pleasure that Presidential candidate Gary Johnson has eschewed weasel words and come out flat-footed in opposition to a "marriage vow" presented to all Iowa presidential candidates by The Family Leader, which claims it is "standing for God's truth" (or, at least, what it regards as God's truth, which appears to be evangelical and/or fundamentalist Christianity). Mr. Johnson's campaign released a statement reading in part:
Presidential candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson charged today in a formal statement through his campaign that the Family Leader “pledge” Republican candidates for President are being asked to sign is “offensive to the principles of liberty and freedom on which this country was founded”. Governor Johnson also plans to further state his position against the Family Leader pledge this afternoon in Las Vegas, NV at a speech he will deliver at the Conservative Leadership Conference.
Johnson went on to state that “the so-called ‘Marriage Vow” pledge that FAMILY LEADER is asking Republican candidates for President to sign attacks minority segments of our population and attempts to prevent and eliminate personal freedom. This type of rhetoric is what gives Republicans a bad name.
“Government should not be involved in the bedrooms of consenting adults. I have always been a strong advocate of liberty and freedom from unnecessary government intervention into our lives. The freedoms that our forefathers fought for in this country are sacred and must be preserved. The Republican Party cannot be sidetracked into discussing these morally judgmental issues — such a discussion is simply wrongheaded. We need to maintain our position as the party of efficient government management and the watchdogs of the “public’s pocket book”.
“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’.
While the Family Leader pledge covers just about every other so-called virtue they can think of, the one that is conspicuously missing is tolerance. In one concise document, they manage to condemn gays, single parents, single individuals, divorcees, Muslims, gays in the military, unmarried couples, women who choose to have abortions, and everyone else who doesn’t fit in a Norman Rockwell painting.
There's more at the link.
I couldn't agree more with Mr. Johnson, despite the fact that I'm a retired Christian pastor and therefore support (as principles of the Christian faith) many (but not all) of the positions espoused by the Family Leader group. However, I utterly reject the view that they, or I, or any believer in any religious, or philosophical, or political perspective, has the right to impose our belief(s) on anyone else. We have the right to persuade, but not to coerce; to preach the Gospel (preferably by our example more than our words), but not to pound people over the head with the Bible in order to force them to accept our message. If those of similar views to our own attain political power, we - and they - don't have the right to force others, under color of law, to adopt our moral positions and abandon their own. That's tyranny, not democracy.
Exerting pressure on presidential candidates to sign a 'marriage vow' is akin to beating them - and the voters - over the head with the Bible. It's political tyranny, just as much as if a gay rights pressure group were to try to coerce candidates into supporting and/or espousing their views and positions. I'm extremely disappointed in Michele Bachmann (of whom I formerly had a much higher opinion) and Rick Santorum for caving in to such pressure and signing the Family Leader 'marriage vow'.
A President cannot serve only partisan interests if he's to serve our nation as a whole. (If you doubt that, just look at the current catastrophe in the White House!) I applaud Mr. Johnson for taking a principled stand on this issue, and I hope and trust that other candidates will do likewise. I hadn't considered Mr. Johnson as a realistic candidate for the Presidency before now, but this episode will definitely make me take a closer look at his positions and policies.
P.S.: Labrat of the Atomic Nerds addresses a similar subject tonight. Click over to her article and read it for yourself. It's good stuff.