Potential Senate Majority Leader and U.S. Senator Jim DeMint speaking to a crowd at the “Greater Freedom Rally” in Spartanburg, South Carolina this weekend, said that neither gay people nor unmarried women should be teaching in our classrooms.
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.
The rally was sponsored by the CEO Roundtable of South Carolina, and was billed, on DeMint’s web site as an “education roundtable.” The organization is a political action committee with the goal of closing the chasm between “economic and social conservatives.” DeMint told the crowd that he was becoming an “outcast” in Washington for his positions on issues like government spending and “Obamacare.” In other words, DeMint is part of a growing group of GOP-ers who claim their own rights to block the rights of others are being stomped upon as they push to merge their far right, extremist ideological positions with faux-fiscal conservativism. Calling up other like-minded GOP candidates like Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, DeMint said that, “They’ll talk about principles and pro-life issues and will fight to keep marriage between a man and a woman.” Except, notes Jay Bookman, at the Atlanta Journal Consititution, this is also hypocrisy of the highest order,
You find a similar contradiction on economic issues. “People are beginning to see that there’s no way we can pay the interest on our debt and every week, we’re borrowing money to pay the debt we have and are creating new programs that are costing more money,” DeMint said, even as he continues to advocate making permanent the $4 trillion in Bush tax cuts.
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Rand Paul, a DeMint acolyte, made a similar point in a debate on Fox News this weekend. “I’ve become very concerned about the debt we’re piling on, I think, the mountains and mountains of debt,” Paul said. But when Chris Wallace asked about the $4 trillion increase in the debt that would be caused by making the tax cuts permanent, those mountains of debt suddenly weren’t so important.
Speaking about his openly homophobic and misogynistic statements in the past, DeMint presented himself as persecuted:
“(When I said those things,) no one came to my defense,” he said. “But everyone would come to me and whisper that I shouldn’t back down. They don’t want government purging their rights and their freedom to religion.”
Astoundingly, DeMint doesn’t feel that he is “purging the rights” of people who are gay and women who are not married by disallowing them from teaching in public school. What does “freedom to religion” look like for Senator DeMint? It’s the “freedom” to align his political mandates for all Americans with his personal religion. This is what he told the crowd,
“Hopefully in 2012, we’ll make headway to repeal some of the things we’ve done, because politics only works when we’re realigned with our Savior,” he told the Spartanburg crowd.
In fact, while he feels perfectly comfortable espousing his right to pontificate on the civil and individual rights of gay people and women, he says he doesn’t believe he can actually do anything about it:
Wesley M. Denton, communications director for DeMint, told The Huffington Post that the senator was “making a point about how the media attacks people for holding a moral opinion.” “Senator DeMint believes that hiring decisions at local schools are a local school board issue, not a federal issue,” he added.
This is not the first time, notes Amanda Terkel, that DeMint has spoken out about the evils of gay people or women teaching his children. In 2004, the late Tim Russert interviewed DeMint on “Meet the Press,” saying,
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.”
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.
He did not, however, apologize for the statement – only that it “distracted” from a real debate. According to DeMint’s official web site, Senator DeMint weaves his anti-choice,anti-woman, anti-gay rights positions seamlessly, declaring,
“That’s why it is so important that our nation protect the lives of the most vulnerable, the unborn, and encourage loving families that choose to adopt children in need of a home. That’s why we must protect marriage between a man and a woman because we know children that are raised by a mother and father have the best chance to succeed.”
DeMint has a 100 percent anti-choice voting record, has been endorsed by ultra-conservative, far right, anti-choice organizations Concerned Women for America, the National Right to Life and the Family Research Council. He also voted for the Marriage Protection Act in 2004, stating that marriage must solely be a legal union between a man and a woman.