THE FAMiLY LEADER’S (the lowercase “i” is meant to represent individual submission) radical “marriage vow” pledge is once againundergoing major revisions. The document’s preamble states: “Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.”
That language from the social conservative Iowa-based group elicited furious responses from many African-American bloggers. For instance, Cheryl Contee of Jack and Jill politics wrote, “Given that families were broken up regularly for sales during slavery and that rape by masters was pretty common, this could not be more offensive. I mean, putting aside the statistics on this, which are likely off-base, I could not be more angry. When will Republicans inquire with actual Black people whether or not we’re ok with invoking slavery to score cheap political points? It has to stop.” Similarly, Jenée Desmond-Harris, writing for The Root (a leading online publication that offers African-American perspectives), said it was “disturbing” that the pledge would invoke slavery just “to serve as a cheap emotional hook to promote a conservative agenda.”
Politico reports that the LEADER is now stripping its pledge of the language:
“After careful deliberation and wise insight and input from valued colleagues we deeply respect, we agree that the statement referencing children born into slavery can be misconstrued, and such misconstruction can detract from the core message of the Marriage Vow: that ALL of us must work to strengthen and support families and marriages between one woman and one man,” the group’s officials said in a statement. “We sincerely apologize for any negative feelings this has caused, and have removed the language from the vow.”
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who had signed the pledge, is now claiming that shenever agreed with the anti-slavery language. Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart told Politico that Bachmann signed only the “vow” portion and not the preamble language.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum has also signed the pledge. He was on CNN this morning, where host Candy Crowley did not ask him about the slavery language. But Crowley did ask about the LEADER’s demand that a candidate “pledge personal fidelity to your own spouse.” Santorum, who played a role in protecting former Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) during his cheating scandal, said he personally has been loyal to his wife. But, Santorum added, he wasn’t comfortable with the language and was “taken aback by it.” Watch it here.
Last Friday, the LEADER backed down in the face of criticism over its anti-porn language in the pledge. The group now says its restrictions against “all forms of pornography” should be interpreted narrowly and not be construed as a “nationwide ban.” Republicans have until Aug. 1 to sign the pledge.