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Marriager vows

Presidential candidates are asked to sign pledges all the time, but the GOP primary has been roiled for the past few days by an uncommonly influential document -- the Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family -- put out by an Iowa group, the Family Leader.

[. . .]

After losing in the primary, the fiercely anti-gay Vander Plaats led the successful campaign to oust three supreme court justices who had voted for the same-sex marriage decision. Now at the helm of the Family Leader, he has brought in presidential hopefuls for a speech series and is openly cultivating an image as Iowa kingmaker.

I spoke with Vander Plaats by phone Monday night to check in on the developments surrounding the Marriage Vow and the presidential contest in Iowa. The following transcript of our conversation has been edited slightly for length. (Justin Elliott, “The man behind the marriage vow,” Salon, 12 July 2011)

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While our laws and customs are influenced by and based on Judeo-Christian traditions and culture, that is not the only influence. I'm not sure what you wish to substitute for centuries of culture and tradition -- lefty philosophy? that's even more dubious, given the history of the 20th century, with it's experiments in lefty stuff like communism. Polls? the wafty (and constantly changing) theories of social scientists? psychologists? the DSM IV?

I consider my own thoughts and beliefs, Dave, but I don't discount thousands of years of western civilization, though, writing and yes, faith when I do so. What YOU and your ILK are doing is putting your lefty sympathies and social causes ABOVE OTHER PEOPLE'S equally valid beliefs, and ridiculing religion while you place 100% of your beliefs in "yourself", a kind of empty, transient, shallow "Oprah" faith that is "me centered" instead of "god centered".

You have every right to do so, and I will defend to the death your right to have any faith, or no faith at all and practice that freely. But it doesn't give you the right to impose your lefty social engineering on the rest of society, in a nation that is substantially majority Christian and where lefty atheists are a tiny minority.

The right to PRACTICE what you believe does not give you the right to DESTROY other people's beliefs. (_bigguns)

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Nobody is remotely suggesting "oppressing homosexuals" unless you think that gay people living openly and freely, having the vote and the right to free speech, living where they choose, owning property and businesses, having higher than average incomes and education, constitutes "oppression". (_bigguns)

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The New York laws won't go into effect until the end of the month. And I don't live in New York State.

But yes, PEOPLE IN NEW YORK STATE have just had their real marriages devalued because they have been "downgraded" to "partners A and B" instead of husbands and wives. The very concept of marriage in New York has been REDEFINED from a real marriage to a pretend gay marriage with partners, and a kind of "best friends with benefits" relationship.

Long term, I believe this will result in fewer traditional male/female couples bothering to marry, because the tradition of marriage is demeaned....it isn't special or important anymore, it's something any pair of gay guys can do as a joke (see Savage, Dan).

I believe that NEW YORKERS themselves had a right to vote on this, and that right was taken away from them. I can only hope they rise up to remove their corrupt legislators who were bribed and coerced to pass this bad legislation, and hopefully, in time, like Iowa, they will pass a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a relationship between ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN.

Hint: you don't get to say what makes OTHER PEOPLE suffer. I believe that gay marriage is causing a lot of suffering, if nothing else, simply in the way it is fracturing society, and harming the Democratic party, and might result (again) in Republican wins, because the Democrats are (again) so vested in a social issue they can't see the forest for the trees and reveal they are woefully out of touch with the public.

(And Beans: the reason YOU DON'T CARE is you don't have kids, so you don't care about the future. For you, it's all about YOU, and your lefty creds. If you have to sell out the rest of humanity for that, it's A-OK with you.) (_bigguns)

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I continually post the anti-religion screeds here back to places like the Jewish ADL and NOM and other faith-based organizations that wish to protect ACTUAL religious freedom -- not just demean any people who believe, in favor of lefty social policy. (_bigguns)

Pixie play

Laurel/_bigguns believes that legalizing gay marriage is a VERY BIG step towards the end of civilization. Fundamentally what it does, according to Laurel, is weaken the ethical bedrock which not just strong marriages but civilization are/is build on -- sacrifice, selflessness/other-concern, duty; promoting instead instant, nixie-pixie whimsical gratification, whose aerial insubstantialness is to be understood as finally reaching the higher plane. You combat it, and you become rightwing -- even if your entire past has been a voting record of middle-of-the-way, steady-as-she-goes democrats; but she takes on the burden -- truly -- mostly out of faith to goodness -- to you -- anyway.

Others believe Laurel/_bigguns probably isn't aware of how her defence of marriage is mostly based on a distaste, a repulsion for gays -- something she reveals, so believeth they, starkly, in near essentializing gay "relationships" as two people so self-involved that basically no intertwining, no relationship! ever takes place. They believe that only at some level does Laurel believe homosexuality is gene-determined, for everywhere in her portrayal of them does she show she most deeply believes them spoiled, laggard second sons, pursuing lifestyles of horse-gambling, drink, and excess, permitted, enabled only because the responsible first sons committed themselves to expected duty: she shows them as if irresponsibly choosing a lifestyle, which if made legit, the norm, means the end of historical cycle in a wild party of excess. They believe she thinks that promoting gay marriage is like putting the fool in charge of the rightful king, the self-involved stewart in place of the rightful king of Gondor: it makes no longer tolerable our already suspect and stretched tolerance for the dependent, babyish, hangers-on. They think she is mostly saying that gays themselves are not okay, have too long been tolerated, that she inspires real hatred towards them, and therefore loudly let her know what scum she is.

What this is really about is about how the next twenty years of depression suffering is going to gets its first five or so years underway, without liberals feeling compelled to do much to get in its way. If you're still pushing for such things as gay marriage, you're fighting for good, for progress, even though the country has most truly slipped while under your sway. Once the depression is all there is, sane "voices" like Paul Krugman's made into absurd douches, then many of the liberals who used gay marriage to disassociate themselves from the cementation of more important, larger "struggles," will show how they've really come to think of gays, and there will be rather fewer people disagreeing with Laurel than there currently now are. The problem for Laurel will be holding back the inclination to imagine Jews in the same fashion she imagines gays: there is a sense that in her lambasting of gay marriage, of suspect, civilization-weakening inclinations -- self-involvement, parasitism -- she should be reporting herself to Jewish authorities.

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Patrick McEvoy-Halston:

Are child molesters "gene-determined" in your learned opinion? (Jake007)

@Jake007

Re: Are child molesters "gene-determined" in your learned opinion?

No. They're sufferers of child-abuse/molestation/incest, just like all conservative Christians. Children who've been abused end up possessing voices, parental alters, in their heads, which tell them they deserved the abuse -- a near life-saving measure, for it allows them to believe that those they were and still are most dependent on, i.e., their parents; their mothers especially -- weren't so much intent to hate and hurt them but to do what needed to be done to help them; that they've been bad, simply for being weak, needy, and vulnerable, and seek out throughout their lives weak dependents -- people like themselves -- to victimize/punish for their own dependency and innocence. For their being truly innocent, they are sinful, and mostly deserving of punishment: this is the "logic"/"truth" that drives pretty much the whole lives of conservative Christians and child-molesters.

That seems like an over-generalization

Not every child molester (or conservative Christian) was molested as a child.

Thanks for your answer though : ) (Jake007)

@jake007

You're welcome, Jake. I hear you, but please note that I however do not think I'm over-generalizing: I truly believe what I said.

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@Patrick McEvoy-Halston

You know, Patrick, I honestly think you write sincerely, but you are so obtuse that I often literally can't tell what you mean or how to respond to you. But I'll try to answer your allegations.

• I do not have any distaste whatsoever for gays or lesbians. I am not repulsed by them. I am not "squicked out" by gay sex (or anal sex). I know a fair number of gay people -- at the risk of sounding trite, it is FACT that some are among my oldest friends. I also have gay family members. They all know me to be tolerant and polite.

• There is no "one kind" of gay relationship, as human beings are all different and have different kinds of pair bonds. I know quiet private gay people and I know colorful flamboyant gay people, and many degrees in between. I do not believe in stereotypes.

• I certainly believe that gay people have "intertwined" relationships. I do NOT believe all gay people are spoiled (any more than I think all straight people are pillars of moral virtue). The stuff about "horse gambling" (????) and drink are too ridiculous to even refute.

• I have voted (or supported) the candidacies of local gay politicians, and worked for gay bosses. I have no problem with gay people. GET OVER your pathetic stereotypes.

• In point of fact, the only really hateful, malevolent scum-like gay people are the ones I have met HERE ON SALON, who insist on attacking and threatening ANYONE who opposes their views.

• The economic recession (or depression) is not related to gay marriage; however I am increasingly appalled that many of the brightest and most potentially effective political entities of our generation are throwing themselves 100% at legalizing gay marriage, while seemingly not caring that we are actively losing the right to women's reproductive freedom -- that global warming is worsening daily -- that the economy IS in the toilet -- that we still don't have universal health care coverage for all Americans. Frankly, I believe they have thrown all those PROGRESSIVE (and liberal) issues under the bus in order to have gay marriage legalized as many places as they can.

• I've got NO idea what "Jewish authorities" you think I should be "reporting myself to". Judaism is not, as you apparently imagine, some kind of secret society where you take a blood oath to uphold certain specific beliefs, and where I will be punished or ostracized for what I talk about in public. I don't imagine gay people as anything but human beings, with the same concerns, fears and emotions as I have -- and the same is true for Jews. We aren't some strange exotic "other race" and frankly, I wonder about YOU, Patrick that you think I will be "punished" by some secret Jewish cabal for failing to support any particular agenda. (_bigguns)

@Patrick McEvoy-Halston: just read your follow up letter to Jake

And I'm sorry I even bothered to respond to you.

You are a very VERY sick person.

ALL Christians are child molesters? Yeah, that sure is REASONABLE. Can you PROVE any of that?

Since 80% of the US population is Christian, and even more years ago, that would make almost every child a victim of molestation. Which is absurd.

Your insane hatred of Christians pretty much renders anything you say to be utter, crazy nonsense -- like "lunatic naked guy screaming in the bus depot" crazy. Like "tin foil hat to block the alien thought control" crazy.

No wonder you think "Jews have a secret cabal that punishes people who speak out!" -- YIKES.

I hope there is someone who loves you enough to have you declared mentally incompetent and put away in an asylum for your own good. (_bigguns)

_bigguns/laurel

Re: No wonder you think "Jews have a secret cabal that punishes people who speak out!" -- YIKES.

You have taken to LOUDLY pointing out how you're reporting instances of anti-semitism on these threads to some-or-another watch-groups -- that was what I was referring to.

I've said before that if America turns homophobic, not just homosexuals but Jews will find themselves under threat. The point will be to go against anything that isn't pure, and neither group is secure from being imagined this way. I will defend both groups, from peoples intent on projecting their own unwanted selves onto them, from demonizing them. I am too reasonable, too sane, to convince anyone actually fairly attending that I believe in cabals (the real power is always in the masses -- the middle classes, especially: in fact so much so that if we get a society full of rich-cats and bundled masses it's because the masses want it so: it plays to their feeling so punishment-worthy, only poverty and being actively discriminated against can work to shore up their sense of possessing any innocence), and when you are more so, unless you still remain insistant on buttressing frankly rightwing conceptions of tradition and authority, you will know that I am hardly someone you should disparage, Laurel.

_bigguns/Laurel

Re: In point of fact, the only really hateful, malevolent scum-like gay people are the ones I have met HERE ON SALON, who insist on attacking and threatening ANYONE who opposes their views.

You do work to essentialize gay relationships as less serious than heterosexual ones; you do work to make heterosexual relationships seem where the important stuff of civilization -- what amounts to the bedrock: duty, selflessness, commitment -- takes place. I stand by my assertion that you work to make homosexuals in general -- not just the (quote-unquote) scum-like ones you are afflicted with here -- seem, at best, not serious: as, I've suggested, spoiled second sons, not especially taken to duty or purposeful labor. Parasites.

Re: The economic recession (or depression) is not related to gay marriage; however I am increasingly appalled that many of the brightest and most potentially effective political entities of our generation are throwing themselves 100% at legalizing gay marriage, while seemingly not caring that we are actively losing the right to women's reproductive freedom -- that global warming is worsening daily -- that the economy IS in the toilet -- that we still don't have universal health care coverage for all Americans. Frankly, I believe they have thrown all those PROGRESSIVE (and liberal) issues under the bus in order to have gay marriage legalized as many places as they can.

I said something of the same in my post; I am curious to know why you didn't refer to it. Anyway, the reason is because focusing on gay marriage for awhile keeps them away from looking at women, at mothers (when they're thinking gay marriage, they don't so much have in mind lesbians) -- even many liberals, as evidenced by how they winced at notable-pelvic Hillary as possible president, have sympathy-worthy mother troubles. Attending to women's reproductive issues now would have them essentially staring straight on at the Vulva; and you don't have to be gay-turned to already have significant issues arisen from already having known too much of that! They stare straight at the anti-woman/mother, the gay, and allow the destruction of whole social programs to take place by their side, widespread misery, so to wedge themselves some safety while showing they agree that the American populace, for being so selfish and therefore insufficiently MOTHER-ATTENDANT, deserve the angry wrath inspired from awesome neglect of suffering and punishment.

P.S.

You assert that I hate Christians ... Personally, I think that though you are quick you write too fast and reflect nowhere near enough: please explain how someone who asserts that conservative Christians are people who have suffered from child-abuse, is likely to be someone who obviously must just HATE, HATE, HATE them. Surely I am, despite my insanity/astonishing delusionment, someone who is actually likely to be OFFENDED when people make war with them, indulge them with YET MORE abuse -- it's the truth; I am; and isn't it really the more likely?

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Jake007

Re: Whether you want to believe it or not, you are over-generalizing, in at least one regard. My wife and I are conservative Christians -- and so are our four children -- and none of us were molested as a child. Maybe we are the only six in the world, but that's still six more than zero : )

Well, you're a "conservative" Christian who is at ease discussing civilly, familiarly, at a largely liberal website. Further, you seem good-humored and loving: since you're surely a fount of inspiration and growth, I am hardly mostly interested in showing how ill a person you've become owing to your background, and more in mind to clarify what I mean by "conservative." Very best to you.

re: Imagine the uproar here if I stated that all homosexuals were molested as children?

A conservative Christian can expect to get in real trouble over this; the liberal but psychoanalyticaly-inclined can most likely expect to simply be ignored -- 40 years out of date, and all: they REALLY ARE beyond the pale. : )

I'll wait for your definition of "conservative" then.

In the meantime, let's review:

I asked "Are child molesters 'gene-determined' in your learned opinion?"

You answered "No. They're sufferers of child-abuse/molestation/incest, just like all conservative Christians."

Unless "conservative" is now being (re-)defined by you as anyone who sufferered child-abuse/molestation/incest, I would submit that you are proveably wrong. (Jake007)

Jake007

Okay Jake: yes, if you do not find natural kinship with liberals and find it instead with conservative Christians, then GUARANTEED you have suffered from child-abuse, from mother-neglect/misuse -- every conservative embodies their early trauma, even the inventive, charming ones (we saw more of them in the '60s and '70s, when everyone was inflated to be essentially more liberal, more permissive -- witness the William F. Buckleys); every liberal, more evidently, their early good treatment and care.

There are no "six exceptions." I was playing to the part of you that is good, that aspires, not interested in simply sinking you into reject. Are we really now further along?

Patrick, that is just plain nuts

Okay Jake: yes, if you do not find natural kindship with liberals, and find it instead with conservative Christians, then GUARANTTED you have suffered from child-abuse, from mother-neglect/misuse . . .

Enough with your dime store psychoanalyzing! You do that often in these letters pages to people you do not know at all, and it's offensive and ridiculous.

People like Jake can be conservative, Christian or otherwise, without having suffered childhood abuse. They simply have a different general set of moral and ethical outlooks than liberals, but personally, as a liberal atheist, I can find common ground with conservative Christians on all sorts of issues. (And no, I did not suffer childhood abuse either). (Beans&Greens)

Freud and friends

Re: Enough with your dime store psychoanalyzing! You do that often in these letters pages to people you do not know at all, and it's offensive and ridiculous.

What type do you prefer? I'm not sure how posh Freud is, but do you really mean to suggest his lust-for-the-mother thing would be okay with you, simply for its essentially-the-same content being more thought-out and refined? What I mean is, next time, leave out the "dime store": your problem is simply with non-tepid, non-apologetic, plain psychoanalysis. I know we haven't caught much sight of it since the '70s past on, but you were around then.

People like Jake can be conservative, Christian or otherwise, without having suffered childhood abuse. They simply have a different general set of moral and ethical outlooks than liberals

To be conservative you have to like, find companionship with, other conservatives. Please look again at the lot of them, and ask yourself a little harder how, if you're perfectly sane, even if you agree with their opinions you still wouldn't be drawn to hang out with the kids at the other table, who, despite their heresies, don't carry so much the all-too-apparent stink of having known much neglect. The sanest conservatives -- who, I still argue, are still a significant step behind the sanest liberals -- are those who are more or less aloof from the party, often truly, surprising, family-centered: witness Ron Paul, and the twin douches, Tucker and Brooks.

Re: but personally, as a liberal atheist, I can find common ground with conservative Christians on all sorts of issues. (And no, I did not suffer childhood abuse either).

Prediction: 5 years from now you won't suggest any such thing: for well-raised/loved/praise-worthingly self-satisfied you will mostly be keeping your head, while the regression-prone, primarily DENIED -- conservatives, rightwingers -- will, through their inevitable regressions, show more starkly the nature of their actual "inspiration."

For some of us the evidence is ample; we indeed shake our heads that self-satisfaction, good living, has also lead to people like you so wanting others themselves to be full of life, that you place it squarely there despite it being mostly a slight, there-then-absent, kindle. There can be problems with being good-hearted, if it still means that if for being without sufficient suspicion, you've left yourself so that if you actually begin to suspect your opponent has something more a problem with them than just a well-considered but ultimately incorrect world view, s/he must then be demonic. Why not get to your Freud now, to save yourself the self-hate that will come from the name-calling, other-cruelty you'll ultimately otherwise find yourself inevitably partaking in?

Moronic

Okay Jake: yes, if you do not find natural kindship with liberals, and find it instead with conservative Christians, then GUARANTTED you have suffered from child-abuse, from mother-neglect/misuse -- every conservative embodies their early trauma, even the inventive, charming ones (we saw more of them in the '60s and '70s, when everyone was inflated to be essentially more liberal, more permissive -- witness the William F. Buckleys); every liberal, more evidently, their early good treatment and care.

There are no "six exceptions." I was playing to the part of you that is good, that aspires, not interested in simply sinking you into reject. Are we really now further along?

Just moronic. Even from someone who generally despises the mouthbreathing drooling right this is just idiotic.

May I remind you that in our parents day it was considered impolite to discuss politics and religion (the longer I live the more I realize they knew what they were doing). In fact it wasn't until the 90's where am radio blowhards made it popular to spout about politics and be proud of being a misinformed ignoramus.

Thus, throughout history politics was not any sort of litmus test for friendships and among many people they still aren't.

Imagine that. (atyourthroat)

@atyourthroat

Re: May I remind you that in our parents day it was considered impolite to discuss politics and religion (the longer I live the more I realize they knew what they were doing). In fact it wasn't until the 90's where am radio blowhards made it popular to spout about politics and be proud of being a misinformed ignoramus.

Thus, throughout history politics was not any sort of litmus test for friendships and among many people they still aren't.

I think there are periods of time throughout history where everyone is more in mind to count themselves amongst people rather than go at one-anothers' throats, and I think our parents did know a good stretch of such times -- as I've said, as many have noted, a few decades back everyone, even the conservatives, for example, seemed permissive -- liberal. I think you're right to favor those times, and to disparage the '90s on (I would go earlier, and disparage the late '70s on), but still think politics IS a litmus test for friendship -- you can know what KIND of person someone is, if you know the kinds of voices they find familiarity with.

Pity you didn't bring up the fact that once the all-'round good feeling for being prosperous and American died down (i.e., our parents' time), the left left for the coast and the right stayed fly-over: when actual personality-differences became more inflated, more tabled, the different-of-opinion no longer much wanted to remain close enough to one another for there to be any point finding out the politics of your dinner guests. That is, it wasn't mostly about economic class, but about how your neighbor "smelled."

@Patrick McAvoy-Halston

"Prediction: 5 years from now you won't suggest any such thing: for well-raised/loved/praise-worthingly self-satisfied you will mostly be keeping your head, while the regression-prone, primarily DENIED -- conservatives, rightwingers -- will, through their inevitable regressions, show more starkly the nature of their actual "inspiration."

Well, I remember one insight from Freud: he pointed to "the narcissism of small differences."You seem to be seeing a Black and White opposition (scarred conservative Christians vs. enlightened liberals) that isn't there.

Now, it's true that Michelle Bachmann and I, for instance, see the world quite differently. But in the big picture, our ideological difference is a tension *within* modern Western liberalism (in the broad sense). She's a lawyer; she and her husband own a private therapy practice; she's a *woman* holding political office, for goodness sake. She's running for US president!

In my opinion, Bachmann is who she is because she is modern *and* reactionary. Her worldview is one kind of adaptation to the uncertainty of our current modern predicament; my progressive adaptation (as a middle-aged female professional, like Bachmann, but one who turns to the left rather than the right) is another.

She's not my opposite. And she hardly offers proof of childhood abuse just because she takes an extremist reaction to the contemporary world. (Benthead)

@benthead

Re: Now, it's true that Michelle Bachmann and I, for instance, see the world quite differently. But in the big picture, our ideological difference is a tension *within* modern Western liberalism (in the broad sense). She's a lawyer; she and her husband own a private therapy practice; she's a *woman* holding political office, for goodness sake. She's running for US president!

In my opinion, Bachmann is who she is because she is modern *and* reactionary. Her worldview is one kind of adaptation to the uncertainty of our current modern predicament; my progressive adaptation (as a middle-aged female professional, like Bachmann, but one who turns to the left rather than the right) is another.

She's not my opposite. And she hardly offers proof of childhood abuse just because she takes an extremist reaction to the contemporary world.

We see Bachmann differently. For one, I think you flatter her by saying she, like you, actually SEES things, is responding, however differently, to still the exact same plate of stimuli. Look at her eyes -- do they really seem properly focused, absent of gremlins dancing in her view, to you? I also don't think she so much has a worldview as an aggressively felt need to hurt as many innocent people as possible -- something that arises, in my judgment, only from having known ample abuse and being unable to free yourself from feeling it well deserved. The prevalence of people with similarly insufficient childhoods is what has ensured that after a long period of prosperity we find ourselves in a situation worthy of seeming simply a confounding predicament, apparently worthy of all kinds of, if not reasonable, certainly still understandable responses, even extreme ones: if so many of us didn't at our core believe ourselves still very bad children that deserve punishment, be sure the good American, more or less uncomplicated groove would simply have continued on. We all -- but mostly people like Bachmann -- ENSURED this predicament came to be.

Still the good, the sane, remain: You're likely not an adaption but a REMINDER of where we once were before we DECIDED it time to go off track. This, I judge, will become more apparent to you, miss professional bent-in-the-head.

Link: The man behind the marriage vow (Salon)

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