This past weekend, Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann was the third Republican to be "glittered" (or "almost" glittered according to some news accounts, who cited poor aim) by LGBT activists seeking to highlight the endorsement of anti-gay extremism by Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty and, most recently, Michele Bachmann.
But does Michele Bachmann deserve glitter? What is this alleged anti-gay "extremism" that she is supposed to have supported? And what does it have to do with the First Amendment?
According to a press release by GetEqual, the direct action pro-LGBT group, Rachel Lang, who threw glitter at Bachmann, shouted "you can run but you can't hide" as she was scooped away by security. This is a reference to the "You Can Run But You Cannot Hide" public school ministry of evangelist Bradlee Dean, for which Bachmann has helped raise money. From whom or what can you not hide? Apparently the Christian God of Dean and Bachmann, who will get you if you don't do what they say. That's a good message for public school children, isn't it? Do what we say, or burn in the everlasting lake of fire in Hell reserved for bad children?
The ministry, a brainchild of rabidly anti-gay Bradlee Dean, charges thousands of dollars to speak at public school assemblies and evangelize young people based on a "shocking and offensive anti-gay program," says GetEqual.
Oh really? How shocking and offensive could it be?
Pretty darn shocking, actually. Why does Michele Bachmann, an attorney, support Christian evangelizing in the public schools? It's her position on this question that deserves some "glitter" in the public media.
According to the Minnesota Independent, which references an article in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, Dean "condemned homosexuality and the teaching of evolution in schools" in the process of speaking about abstinence and drug use.
In another Minnesota Independent article, the group advertised itself to public schools as doing "anti-drug" messages, but was really there to advertise its Christian ministry and tell students how to be good Christians. "At Pequot Lakes High School in central Minnesota in 2007, the group stirred controversy when students reportedly ran out of the assembly crying after the group showed graphic images of abortion and told the students that God wanted women to be subservient to men."
Bachmann's "Christine O'Donnell Moment"
While some naysayers might cry foul at the introduction of religious doctrine into public schools as a violation of the First Amendment "no establishment of religion" clause, "both Bachmann and YCRBYCH [You Can Run But You Can't Hide] deny that the constitutional prohibition exists. In fact, Bachmann urges people to give money to the organization for the stated purpose of bringing Christ into public schools."
According to the Minnesota Independent: "[Public schools] are teaching children that there is separation of church and state, and I am here to tell you that is a myth. That's not true," Bachmann said at the group's 2006 fundraiser in Minneapolis. "And they explain to children in the public school system what a myth that is. And that's what I love about this ministry ... We want kids to come to the truth and that's why this ministry is so absolutely vital. We need them in every public school classroom across the state to tell young people, 'You Can Run But You Cannot Hide.'"
Dean has similarly claimed that the Constitution does not call for church-state separation.
Did you know that the phrase 'separation between church and state' is nowhere in the Constitution, nor in the Declaration of Independence, and nowhere in the Bill of Rights?" he asked listeners of his radio program, called 'School of Hard Knocks,' which is broadcast on KKMS."
Do you remember what happened to Senate Candidate Christine O'Donnell when she said the same thing?
If "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" doesn't mean separation of church and state, then what does it mean?
If there were some credible way to interpret the First Amendment without separation of church and state, I'd like to hear it.
Bachmann's Extremist Anti-First Amendment, Anti-Gay Stances
The New Civil Rights Movement website recently published a list of Bachmann's "Top Ten Anti-Gay Quotes," in which she says that calling something gay is "part of Satan," that being gay is "personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement," that talking to children about gay people is "child abuse," that the gay community is "targeting our children."
As also reported recently in the Daily Beast's "Bachmann's Unrivaled Extremism," she uses Biblical quotes, without attribution, to signal extreme Christian Dominion views, such as references to Deuteronomy 28:13: 'The Lord will make you the head and not the tail.' As Rachel Tabachnick has reported, it's often used in theocratic circles to explain why Christians have an obligation to rule.
The Daily Beast also reported that, during her studies at Coburn Law School at Oral Roberts University, an "interdenominational, Bible-based, and Holy Spirit-led" school, Bachmann studied with John Eidsmoe. She described Eidsmoe as "one of the professors who had a great influence on me." Bachmann served as his research assistant on the 1987 book Christianity and the Constitution, which argued that the United States was founded as a Christian theocracy, and that it should become one again. "The church and the state have separate spheres of authority, but both derive authority from God," Eidsmoe wrote. "In that sense America, like [Old Testament] Israel, is a theocracy."
The Daily Beast also noted that Eidsmoe withdrew from speaking at a Wisconsin Tea Party rally last year after the Associated Press raised questions about his history of addresses to white supremacist groups. He also reportedly spoke at a rally last year celebrating Alabama's secession from the Union, where he claimed that Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun understood the Constitution better than Abraham Lincoln.
Bachmann's belief that the Constitution does not call for a separation between Church and State is extreme. Her belief that public schools should feature the Christian message that being gay is part of Satan, and that gay children "can run but can't hide" from her vengeful Christian God is also extreme. It's also damaging to children, and may play a role in the high suicide rate seen among teens who are gay or questioning their sexuality.
Doesn't this deserve a bit of "glitter" in the media?
Here's MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell explaining why Bachmann's view of the First Amendment is incorrect, as found on the website RightScoop:
Jillian Weiss is a member of the Board of Directors of GetEqual.