Pawlenty Boasts His Creationist, Anti-Gay Credentials In Iowa Tour
Following up on my various posts (such as here, here, here, and here) of the coming Iowa caucuses - Tim Pawlenty has given his first speech to The Family Leader, the religious right group that is trying to steer the caucuses, and Ron Paul has announced that he too will be added to the list of politicians
bowing speaking to The Family Leader.
First the Ron Paul story: Ron Paul to speak at Iowa presidential series
GOP Rep. Ron Paul has accepted the invitation of an influential social conservative group in Iowa to headline its presidential lecture series next month.
The Family Leader, a group with influence in Iowa’s presidential caucuses, announced over the weekend that the Texas congressman has accepted its invitation.
Paul, a Texas congressman, will deliver a “pro-family lecture” on March 7. He has said he has not yet made up his mind on whether to run for president next year.
The Family Leader’s lecture series, which goes through August, gives Iowans a chance “to become better informed on the pro-family vision of each lecturer,” according to a news release announcing Paul’s participation. The lectures will be videotaped, sent out to the group’s mailing list and posted on its website.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., speaks on April 11 and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum is on tap for May 2. Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and Herman Cain, former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, have also confirmed they will participate.
Oh boy, “pro-family”… I guess they meant to say anti-abortion-in-any-circumstance and teh-ghey-iz-evul .
Anyway, Pawlenty spoke and drew some press coverage Monday. From the Des Moines Register Blog: Pawlenty walks fine line on matter of his faith
During a speech Monday to The Family Leader, a Christian policy group, he offered no personal testimony or stories about his faith, except to say that he had a regular Bible study when he was governor.
[…] I asked him in an interview about his views on teaching creationism in schools, a topic where faith and government often diverge. He said in Minnesota, they left it up to local school districts to decide whether to include “intelligent design” in the curriculum. Furthermore, he said, schools could decide whether the topic would be dealt with in a science class, or in philosophy or religion. He cited some prominent scientists who don’t rule out God’s guidance in creation, adding that those who believe that aren’t in “la-la-land.”
Pawlenty also emphasizes a need to be sensitive to those who don’t share his brand of faith. “Everybody has different styles, and my style is to try to be hopeful and optimistic and positive and try to bring people in, and not drive them away,” he said. “And it doesn’t mean I dilute what I believe or I dilute my values or dilute my positions. It’s just the way I present them.”
Republican presidential candidates, especially those who hope to compete in the Iowa caucuses, can’t escape talking about their faith. The Family Leader is only the most overt Iowa group in its approach of vetting candidates based primarily on issues of faith. Pawlenty’s non-threatening approach helps explain how he’s been successful as a fiscal and social conservative in left-leaning Minnesota. The question is how it’ll play with those for whom wearing faith on the sleeve is far too quiet and subtle. […]
Yup, creationism will be important to the GOP Iowa caucuses.
Onto the CNN story on Pawlenty’s visit, Pawlenty says he can win in 2012
The likely 2012 presidential candidate spoke in Sioux City, Iowa, on Monday as part of a lecture series sponsored by the Family Leader, a socially conservative group, in a speech threaded with his moral values.
With his wife, Mary, by his side, Pawlenty touted his belief that marriage is “between a man and woman” and his pro-life history.
“(It is) hard to have family life unless you respect life,” Pawlenty said. “It says in our founding documents and in the Bible that we are to respect life, not destroy life.” […]
Pawlenty evidently has studied at the world renowned Bachmann School of History. Continuing on with the CNN story:
When addressing his faith, he said his words weren’t those of a “politician passing through town,” because this is a nation “founded under God.”
“First and foremost we don’t want to be a country that turns away from God, we want to be a country that turns toward God,” Pawlenty said.
Sounds like he graduated summa cum laude from the Bachmann School of History.
The last news piece on Pawlenty’s latest visit to Iowa: Pawlenty in Iowa: American society must ‘elevate traditional marriage’
Nearly every public policy issue that can be named has a direct impact on the very foundation of American society, according to former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, which is a traditional marriage consisting of one man and one woman.
Pawlenty, who told reporters before his public remarks on Monday that he is definitely “leaning toward” at 2012 presidential run, spoke on a litany of issues ranging from the economy to freedom of religion to education to health care, bringing each one back to his primary focus on the family. The remarks were made on the University of Iowa campus at the first of many lecture events featuring national conservatives hosted by The Family Leader, a state-run advocacy group that acts as an umbrella organization for the Iowa Family Policy Center and the formerly federally funded Marriage Matters.
Pawlenty began his public remarks by discussing why he believes the U.S. is a Christian nation.
“That isn’t just my editorial comment,” he said. “It’s in our founding documents.”
Ok, they’ll probably end up naming a professorial chair after Pawlenty at the Bachmann School of History.
Pawlenty applauded Bob Vander Plaats, head of The Family Leader, for “being a champion for saying and doing, and pushing and promoting and leading efforts to try to highlight, encourage and support families.”
Vander Plaats, as I have often written here, heads one of the most rabidly theocratic groups in Iowa.
The Iowa Independent asked if Pawlenty’s discussion of families as the building blocks of society included all families as currently recognized under Iowa law, and if he agreed with Vander Plaats’ and The Family Leader’s continued advocacy to roll back marriage rights for same-sex couples.
“The Family Leader and other organizations have taken a position in favor of traditional marriage. I don’t distance myself from that position — I embrace it,” he said. “I support the notion that we, as a society, should continue to elevate traditional marriage, that it should remain as between a man and a woman, and that all other domestic relationships are not the same as traditional marriage. That’s my view. It’s not something that I’ve changed or evolved on or need to distance from because I strongly believe it.”
Pawlenty explicitly endorses The Family Leader’s position, so let’s be clear what is being said here.
As I’ve discussed several times now, Vander Plaats heads a group called The Family Leader, itself a new repackaging of the previous groups such as The Iowa Family Policy Center. Vander Plaats and the IFPC led the recall of 3 Iowa Supreme Court justices because they dared to rule, in what scholars agree is an accurate reading of the Iowa Constitution, that it was unconstitutional to forbid gay marriage according to the Iowa Constitution. This forcing out of Supreme Court justices not for any misconduct on the part of the justices but because of religious beliefs is unprecedented, and it really deserves more attention. I consider it the first real successful step towards theocracy.
Anyway, the IFPC (now organizationally a subset of The Family Leader) not only campaigned against the justices. It has been promoting a bigoted, anti-gay campaign that compares exposing children to homosexuality as being worse than second-hand smoke exposure. I’ve brought this up before.
So someone tried to call Vander Plaats on this, and look - now he denies it: Vander Plaats denies involvement in anti-gay seminars
[The] man behind one of the state’s largest socially conservative political networks denied Monday that he had anything to do with a seminar series that presented homosexuality and its “second-hand effects” as a public health threat.
But the organization’s website continues to advertise the seminars, and the leadership of its subsidiaries have repeatedly said homosexuality is as dangerous as second-hand smoke.
Bob Vander Plaats, who heads The Family Leader, pushed back during a press conference when his guest, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, was asked if he agreed with the seminar’s conclusion that homosexuality is a bigger public health threat than smoking.
Vander Plaats said in the press conference, and confirmed during a one-on-one interview with The Iowa Independent following the Pawlenty appearance, that The Family Leader had no role in the seminars many deemed so controversial, saying it could be a product of the Iowa Family Policy Center (IFPC). The Family Leader is an umbrella organization that includes IFPC and the formerly federally funded counseling program Marriage Matters.
“We have not held seminars on that,” Vander Plaats told The Iowa Independent during the follow-up interview. “My guess would be that maybe it was something done earlier… you know, ‘The Other Effects’ — I don’t know how they (the IFPC) phrased it. I was not aware of it.”
When asked by The Iowa Independent how a blogger posted a screen shot of The Family Leader’s website with information about the seminar series, Vander Plaats pledged to look into it.
Chuck Hurley, who leads the Iowa Family Policy Center, made the charge in March 2010 that gay marriage was more dangerous than smoking.
“The Iowa Legislature outlawed smoking [in some public places] in an effort to improve health and reduce the medical costs that are often passed on to the state,” Hurley said at that time. “The second-hand impacts of certain homosexual acts are arguably more destructive, and potentially more costly to society than smoking.”
Days later the IFPC published information in its blog entitled: “What’s Worse — Smoking or Sodomy?” […]
But wait, there’s more!
At the IFPC Blog one can learn even more about what interests the IFPC, such as which blogs they like, found under “My Blog List”. It has only 5 entries - 3 religious blogs, a conservative news org, and…. get this - The Shrieking Harpy herself! That’s right, the IFPC blog luvs them some Pam Geller. (Yes I have a screen shot should the IFPC try to deny it some day.)
It is to this organization that the GOP hopefuls must bow.