Iowa conservative wants GOP candidates to sign anti-Sharia pledge
The Family Leader, an influential Christian group led by Iowa conservative Bob Vander Plaats, is unveiling a pledge today that asks Republican presidential candidates to make a commitment to oppose same-sex marriage and Sharia law.
Vander Plaats, who served as Mike Huckabee’s 2008 Iowa chairman, told the Christian Broadcasting Network that he would not endorse any presidential candidate that does not sign the pledge. Vander Plaats’ endorsement could prove to be significant in the state, where 60 percent of the Iowa Republican electorate in 2008 was “born-again Christian.”
The pledge, entitled “The Marriage Vow — A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family,” includes 14 points, the Christian Broadcasting Network reported, including support for the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law defining marriage as between one man and one woman. The pledge is also a commitment to personal fidelity to one’s spouse, the rejection of “anti-women Sharia Islam” and to downsizing government.
While the economy is at the forefront of political discussion, Vander Plaats told the Iowa Independent last month that social issues will be an important factor in the Republican primaries, since no particular candidate has yet emerged as the clear frontrunner.
“Regardless of how well a candidate starts out, those core value issues will be the first thing to talk about and establish that trust level with voters,” he said.
In addition to helping Huckabee win the 2008 Iowa Republican caucus, Vander Plaats was instrumental last year in the ousting of three Iowa Supreme Court justices who voted in favor of same-sex marriage in Iowa and who were running for re-election.
The Family Leader pledge could ostensibly help a candidate like Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is already expected to do well in the Iowa caucus because of her Christian conservative credentials. Opposition to same-sex marriage has played a large part in Bachmann’s political career, though she has been relatively quiet on the issue since starting her presidential campaign.