By Dr. Jeffrey Lant
There is no question that Representative Michele Bachmann emerged as the big winner in the August 13, 2011 straw poll in Ames, Iowa. Her candidacy which was once rated nearly a joke now has a certain credibility. By that I mean, she is now being discussed as more than a candidate; rather as a potential president. As such, she will get enhanced and detailed scrutiny of everything she has said, endorsed, and embraced in the past. It’s all grist for the commentator mill. This includes the many bombastic statements she has made (many of which will be cited in this article) about homosexual American citizens.
It’s time she either confirm that these declarations of hate and ignorance are still her views… or make clear she has changed her mind (very much her prerogative) as she has matured as a politician and human being.
America must know, for a candidacy based at least partly on disdain, condescension, and repeated statements advocating discriminatory policies against gay and lesbian citizens is unacceptable in 2011 and must be protested and vigorously attacked. Whatever previous presidents may have thought, believed, and said about homosexual citizens, their civil rights, including their right to marry whomsoever they wish in the exact way anyone can do, we have now reached a new chapter in this struggle; where the rights of gay citizens should be viewed as a beneficial inevitability and that the hurtful, ignorant, bigoted views of any presidential candidate immediately mark that candidate as unacceptable, threatening to the fundamental beliefs of the nation, where the granting and maintenance of rights is what we are about… not blocking those rights, thereby creating a two-tier, fundamentally inequitable society, where some get rights and benefits withheld to others.
“It’s part of Satan I think to say that this is ‘gay’. It’s anything but gay.” Minnesota state senator Michele Bachmann speaking at EdWatch National Education Conference, November 6, 2004. Does Bachmann still believe this, or not?
Bachmann’s insistent bigotry against homosexuals began when she adopted evangelical Christianity. Such people, obsessed with sexuality, particularly homosexuality keep a constant focus on a topic they know nothing about. But knowing about the subject is not required. It is enough that they use it to “prove” their superiority, for without designated whipping boys they would have no one to lord it over. Hatred towards designated people, their livestyles and beliefs, is an essential element of being “born again”. God in their pinched view is a God of vengeance… and they are quite prepared to tell you that God has made it clear who should be scourged and berated… and who should be exalted and sanctified. Let me make this point abundantly clear; the evangelicals of the United States demand scapegoats; homosexuals are absolutely crucial to their well being.
Thus on the Sunday before the straw poll, Bachmann attended the Point of Grace Church, an evangelical megachurch with a 2,000 strong congregation in Waukee, Iowa. The program began when the lights were dimmed for a video testimonial from a “straight man who used to be gay.” The man is married now, his wife pregnant. Gays deserve to be in hell, he emphasized. He claimed to be living proof that the homosexual disease and affliction could be cured through liberal doses of prayer.
Bachmann listened to this standard bigoted attack and, through her smiling presence, indicated that she believed these sentiments, sentiments which she has advocated for years… and clearly still believes today.
“If you’re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage. It is personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement.” Further comments from the EdWatch National Education Conference, cited above. Does she still adhere to this opinion, or not?
“You have a teacher talking about his gayness. /The elementary school student/ goes home and says, ‘Mom! What’s gayness? We had a teacher talking about this today.’ The mother says, ‘Well, that’s when a man likes other men, and they don’t like girls.’ The boy’s eight. He’s thinking, ‘Hmmm. I don’t like girls. I like boys. Maybe I’m gay.’ And you think, ‘Oh, that’s way out there. The kid isn’t gonna think that.’ Are you kidding? That happens all the time. You don’t think that this is intentional, the message that’s being given to these kids? That’s child abuse.” Further comments from the EdWatch National Educational Conference, cited above. Does Bachmann still adhere to this opinion, or not?
Does Bachmann still believe homosexuals are “sexually dysfunctional”?
At the same EdWatch National Educational Conference cited above, Bachmann also said, “Don’t misunderstand. I am not here bashing people who are homosexuals, who are lesbians, who are bisexual, who are transgender. We need to have profound compassion for people who are dealing with the very real issue of sexual dysfunction in their life and sexual identity disorders.”
The weight of opinion in this nation has been shifting steadily for years toward a complete, overall acceptance of homosexuals and rightly so. Bachmann’s view is wrong in every particular, and she is already being called upon to explain her current position on the matter.
However, Bachmann is playing the standard political game around these outspoken, prejudiced positions. On the one hand, she wants her right-wing adherents to know, and in no uncertain terms, that she has not changed her position one iota. However, she also wants these folks, who constitute her essential core constituency, to know that she cannot be as outspoken on these matters as previously… because her ultra conservative supporters are insufficient to hand her the nomination. She must expand her base, to folks who are far more moderate on the homosexual question, especially gay marriage, and would not only feel uncomfortable with Bachmann’s views on the subject but would oppose her outrageous language and unnecessary malevolence towards fellow law-abiding, tax- paying citizens of the United States.
Thus Bachmann, famous for her uncompromising views on any subject she takes up, is now doing some fancy footwork that will (wink, wink) reassure her most ideological followers that she is still the old Michele they love… while reaching out to moderates with a very different rendition.
And now the cherry on the cake..
On March 6, 2004, Bachmann was a guest on “Prophetic Views Behind the News” on KKMS 980-AM hosted by Jan Markell. She said, “It isn’t that some gay will get some rights. It’s that everyone else in our state will lose rights. For instance, parents will lose the right to protect and direct the upbringing of their children. Because our K-12 public school system, of which ninety percent of all youth are in the public school system, they will be required to learn that homosexuality is normal, equal, and perhaps you should try it. And that will occur immediately, that all schools will begin teaching homosexuality.” Does Bachmann still adhere to this grab-bag of intolerance, misinformation, ignorance, and malignity? America demands and deserves a straight answer.
Michele Bachmann has served in her state’s senate and in the Congress of the United States. From this combined public service she can point to absolutely no legislation of her sponsorship that benefited anyone except her own political agenda. She has no foreign policy experience, she knows nothing of national defence, she has no immigration policy and has no economic, financial or job-creation experience. She is a poorly educated woman who would need home schooling in the White House. Her strong suit is religious mummery, a smug certainty that she knows God and understands His will, and how to create sound bites which get the attention of a slothful nation, wanting quick fixes to endemic problems.
But above all else, we cannot afford the luxury of a candidate, much less a president who carries the burden of such hostility, spite, rancor and aversion to so many of our best and most productive citizens, whose mere presence on this planet she finds unsettling and unacceptable. Challenged though we are, we have not yet sunk so low in America as that, to see in Michele Bachmann a president, a woman who would divide rather than unify us. In conclusion, I refer her to the greatest man her party has yet produced, a man who spoke of “malice towards none, with charity for all.” Thus Abraham Lincoln in his second inaugural address… the man who died bringing together the great nation this misguided woman would rend.