>Election season is all about grand standing among politicians, subconsciously entering into a competition to see who can sound the most ideologically pure, patriotic and most God-fearing Christian. Sen. Jim DeMint, the Republican senator from South Carolina, has proven himself to be no exception to the rule in this regrettable part of the 2010 midterm elections.
DeMint, speaking to pastors at First Baptist North Spartanburg, rallied pastors to his side by referring to the national debt and economic issues as “moral” issues. He later stated:
“We’re not asking the government to push our religion or morals, but don’t take them away from us,” DeMint told the audience. “That’s what they do when they redefine marriage or when they say unborn children are not really a life.”
So, the government strips your religions or moral rights by protecting a woman’s right to choose and giving the GLBT community equal protection under the law? That’s strange because that doesn’t equate to the government mandating the closing of Christian churches or the burning of Bible and other religious text.
The Daily Caller article referenced earlier conveniently omitted DeMint’s denouncement of gays and unwed pregnant women teaching America’s students.
DeMint said if someone is openly homosexual, they shouldn’t be teaching in the classroom and he holds the same position on an unmarried woman who’s sleeping with her boyfriend — she shouldn’t be in the classroom.
It’s not the first time DeMint has targeted gay teachers. In 2004, DeMint made his stance known on the issue, noting gay teachers should not teach because it would appear that the government was endorsing homosexuality. It should be noted that DeMint’s comments were criticized and he issued a haphazard statement:
Those of us who are parents know that feeling in your gut — every time you drop your child off at school, it’s an act of faith. You trust a group of people – the principal, the teachers, even the janitors, with the most precious thing in your life – your children. And you just want what’s best for them. So as my wife often reminds me, sometimes my heart disengages from my head and I say something I shouldn’t – and that’s what happened yesterday. I clearly said something as a dad that I just shouldn’t have said. And I apologize. As a Senate candidate, it is my responsibility to present ideas and to answer questions in a way that will let people know what I will do as their U.S. Senator. I did not do that in this instance.
MR. RUSSERT: You also, when asked about your comments about gay teachers, said this: “I would have given the same answer when asked if a single woman, who was pregnant and living with her boyfriend, should be hired to teach my third-grade children.” Do you also still believe that, that a single mom should not be a teacher in South Carolina schools?
REP. DeMINT: I believe that’s a local school board issue. And, Tim, I was answering as a dad who’s put lots of children in the hands of teachers and I answered with my heart. And I should just say, again, I apologize that distracted from the real debate.
MR. RUSSERT: But you apologize for distracting but are you apologizing to gay teachers or to single mom teachers?
REP. DeMINT: No. I’m apologizing for talking about a local school board issue when the voters want us to talk about how we’re going to make them safer, win the war on terror, how we’re going to create jobs, how we’re going to fix our health-care system. And these are things I’ve worked on in the Congress and that’s what I plan to do in the Senate. […]
MR. RUSSERT: But you’re making judgments about gay people or about single moms and, in effect, disqualifying them. Are you certain that you never had a gay teacher?
REP. DeMINT: Listen, I have my personal beliefs, Tim, but I honestly believe that the teachers should be hired by local school districts. They should be making the decisions on who should be in the classroom.
MR. RUSSERT: But don’t the voters have a right to know about whether or not you still stand by comments you made in the campaign? Do you stand by your comments?
REP. DeMINT: I apologized for answering a local school board question.
MR. RUSSERT: No, you’re apologizing for the distraction, but it’s a simple question. Do you believe that gays should be able to teach in South Carolina schools?
REP. DeMINT: Well, Tim…
MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe that single moms should be able to teach?
REP. DeMINT: It’s a very simple answer. I think the local school board should make that issue, not Senate can–I mean, make that decision.
MR. RUSSERT: But you didn’t think that a month ago when you answered the question
REP. DeMINT: And I apologize for that, Tim.
MR. RUSSERT: For answering the question?
REP. DeMINT: Yeah, for distracting from the real thing.
MR. RUSSERT: But not for the substance of your comments.
REP. DeMINT: Tim, who hires teachers should be decided by local school boards.
It’s clear DeMint is dead set on reaching out to a specific type of voter: those South Carolinians who feel their religious rights and liberties are being trampled on by an administration that seeks to dismantle any so-called Christian (read: white male) principles conservatives like to claim this nation was founded upon. DeMint mercilessly follows the Tea Party mantra of using fear and demagoguery to strike a chord of uncertainty in the minds of voters.
DeMint, hell-bent on becoming another Tea Party darling, has proven to voters he will do and say anything to secure his re-election bid–even if it means stepping on the backs of GLBT folks, single mothers and their supporters/advocates.