SOUTH CAROLINA—My first thought when reading about the purity pledge that was officially adopted last week by the Laurens County Republican Party for use by prospective candidates for office in the great state of South Carolina is that the party is asking for trouble. You don't want to go out of your way to make liars out of your own citizens, do you? This is, after all, the state that gave the nation Mark Sanford, a politician whose undying love for a woman other than his wife resulted in a series of escalating lies that led to his resignation as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. He refused to resign, however.
Sanford ain't the only official in the state who strayed while in office, though, and according to the Associated Press, the latest scandal may be the one that broke this particular camel's back. "The 28-point pledge passed last week appeared to be at least in part a response to an extramarital affair had by the county sheriff, who was also accused in a lawsuit of driving his mistress to get an abortion in a county-owned vehicle, leading to an inter-party squabble when the local group’s leader called for the sheriff to resign," reported the wire service.
Apparently hoping to nip that sort of activity in the bud for good, some genius came up with the pledge idea, which covers all the appropriate ground, according to the Clinton Chronicle, which broke the story last Friday and listed just a few of the promises contained in the pledge.
"You must oppose abortion, in any circumstances," wrote Vic MacDonald & Larry Franklin for the local paper. "You must uphold the right to have guns, all kinds of guns. You must endorse the idea of a balanced state and federal budget, whatever it takes, even if your primary responsibility is to be sure the county budget is balanced. You must favor, and live up to, abstinence before marriage. You must be faithful to your spouse. Your spouse cannot be a person of the same gender, and you are not allowed to favor any government action that would allow for civil unions of people of the same sex. You cannot now, from the moment you sign this pledge, look at pornography.
"You must have:
'A compassionate and moral approach to Teen Pregnancy;
'A commitment to Peace Through Strength in Foreign Policy; and
'A high regard for Unites States Sovereignty.'"
Needless to say, here at AVN we take serious exception to the part about not viewing porn ever again, but for non-selfish reasons. Combined with the part about upholding the right to own "all kinds of guns," the prohibition on porn seems to us to be inviting some serious gun play in the state among people for whom church simply does not provide the requisite outlet.
Speaking of which, what would Jesus say about this pledge?
Well, I am not in the habit of speaking for the son of God, but I will venture outside my personal expertise to suggest that even he would have had a hard time abiding by this pledge, if only because he wouldn't have a clue what a gun is and would not have heard of the United States. But even if he had, who the heck do these GOPers think they are adding 18 points to the 10 commandments? Oh, like they are more than twice as smart as Moses? No, I think it's safe to say that even Jesus would blow it with two or three of the pledges, assuming he would even be interested in running for state office.
In the week since this pledge was passed by the county party, the national response has forced its chairman, Bobby Smith, to clarify a proposal circulating with the pledge that, according to the Washington Post, "would have created a committee to screen potential candidates based on whether they adhered to the promises. The committee could have kept a candidate from running as a Republican."
In a statement released today, Smith said the pledge was meant to simply encourage good behavior, and agreed with state GOP executive director Matt Moore, who said of the attempt to vet candidates by way of the pledge, "We don’t condone that. State law allows anyone on the ballot who meets the qualifications in the law."
For some people in the state, however, the law's standards are simply not high enough.
Image: Jesus with Gun, courtesy of Public Frenemy.