Iowa FAMiLY LEADER Event Showcases Presidential Hopefuls’ Religious Bigotry

This might be too obvious to require stating, but four Republican presidential hopefuls for 2016 have just taken themselves out of the running by agreeing to appear last night at a forum hosted by so-called “Iowa Kingmaker” Bob Vander Plaats, of the Family “Slavery ain’t no bad thing” Leader.

Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal spoke at Vander Plaats’ Family Leadership Regional Summit in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, Thursday.

Iowa, of course, is a bad, bad place for Republicans. It makes them say stupid things. And this “Iowa Effect” is noticeable even in a party known for saying stupid things, in no small part thanks to groups like Family Leader, which promotes the current right wing fad of the grotesque.

These four men got that chance Thursday night in front of 600 people, according to WQAD 8, having 20 minutes each to address the question of “religious freedom,” which, as we know, is the Republican code word for right wing religious tyranny:

Huckabee: “The values that so many of us hold dear are values that are under assault today.” And, “The greatest threat to liberty today is judicial supremacy…Go read the Constitution.”

Perry: “I think it’s very important that we go back to understand our fundamental understanding about religious freedom goes to the very soul of this country.” And, “We believe in a God of 2nd chances. The American people are looking for a 2nd chance.”

Jindal: “It is wrong for the government to force these business to participate in marriages that violate our beliefs and violate our conscience.” And, “Just electing right candidate, passing right laws not enough; we need spiritual revival.”

Santorum: “We need to fight for the family as the key to economic, social revival in this country.”

I suppose we must get used to the idea of “judicial supremacy.” Ted Cruz, after all, wants to strip the Supreme Court of power because the courts aren’t doing what Republicans want them to do.

I am not aware of the God of the Old Testament being big on second chances. Usually, folks just got stoned for giving the wrong answer, or doing the wrong thing. Later, they got burned.

In fact, there is pretty much nothing religious bigots haven’t done to folks they disapproved of, from corrective rape to slavery.

And it’s not like anyone is asking Jindal to marry another man, but to hear him tell of it, that’s exactly what’s happening, because the only people who participate in a marriage are the spouses. Which might tell us more about Jindal than about marriage equality.

Santorum has always thought everything hinged on the family, even when it obviously doesn’t. But you have to give him credit for sticking to it with the mulishness only a religious bigot could summon.

We have seen examples of Family Leader’s religious thuggery before, and nobody represents the crass ignorance of the Republican base better than Vander Plaats. They have a regularly scheduled series of anti-American events that round out the Iowa calendar, as with great solemnity they first apply lipstick to the pig and then vote for which pig they think looks least like a pig.

The problem is, when a pig oinks, it betrays its piggishness.

They should just avoid Iowa.

We have also seen Vander Plaats’ ridiculous assertion that as long as Republicans are “soft” on marriage equality, they will never occupy the Oval Office. Even though the last Republican to actually win, George W. Bush, was kind of soft on the whole gay rights thing.

WQAD 8 reported that “in response to the summit Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement”:

It’s no surprise that the Republican Party would much rather discuss its fringe ideological agenda than anything else. Republicans who are running for president are continuing to push the failed GOP economic policies of the past – tax cuts for the wealthiest at the expense of everyone else, opposition to increasing the minimum wage, and voucherizing Medicare – and not only are these positions unpopular, but they’re just plain wrong for Iowans and for the rest of the country too. The choice couldn’t be more clear. While Republicans prioritize the wealthiest few, Democrats will continue to fight for an agenda that strengthens our middle class, creates jobs, and expands opportunity for all Americans.

Loesback is right. This is a fringe ideological agenda. The problem is that fringe is now front and center in the Republican Party.

And once more we are to be treated to the spectacle of truly breathtakingly, catastrophically stupid comments and ideas by Republican presidential hopefuls.

Yes. It is open season on brain cells.

And it is only just beginning, so hold on to your seats and to your stomachs.

None of this is a surprise. For Republicans to even cite “values” devalues “values,” because hate has never been a value. It is a character flaw. Something to be improved upon, not trumpeted. This crowd ought to be feeling shame, not pride.

That they have all held office in this country is to our collective shame, but this is an error it is not too late to correct. And we will get that chance in the upcoming months.

Photo: From Family Leader

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