Seeking the endorsement of THE FAMiLY LEADER, GOP presidential candidates Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum signed the Marriage Vow pledge that was unveiled by the group on Thursday. (No, that’s not a typo. The organization keeps the “i” lowercase and all the other letters in CAPS to show how the individual should kneel before God and the family is the vessel for Christ or something like that—I think.)

The Marriage Vow is a “declaration of dependence upon marriage and family.” It ordains that “faithful monogamy is at the very heart of a designed and purposeful order — as conveyed by Jewish and Christian Scripture, by Classical Philosophers, by Natural Law, and by the American Founders — upon which our concepts of Creator-endowed human rights, racial justice and gender equality all depend.”

The Iowa Family PAC, which endorses and promotes Christian statesmen candidates for office, Marriage Matters, and the Iowa Family Center, are all a part of the activities of THE FAMiLY LEADER.

The contents of the vow and the organization behind the pledge are an example of why the separation between church and state is sometimes very difficult to recognize. Leader of THE FAMiLY LEADER, Bob Vander Plaats, a perennial gubernatorial candidate in Iowa (kind of like a Christian reconstructionist Harold Stassen), played a key role in organizing the campaign to get three state Supreme Court justices in Iowa off the bench in 2010, after they ruled in favor of a decision to overturn Iowa’s gay marriage ban.

The vow uses statistics from the Institute for American Values, a think tank run by David Blankenhorn, who believes children deserve a mother and a father and same-sex marriages cannot provide it.

The statistics use race and poverty to argue against gay marriage. For example, the one getting the most attention, “Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.”

Cheryl Contee of Jack and Jill Politics reacts, “Given that families were broken up regularly for sales during slavery and that rape by masters was pretty common, this could not be more offensive. I mean, putting aside the statistics on this, which are likely off-base, I could not be more angry. When will Republicans inquire with actual Black people whether or not we’re ok with invoking slavery to score cheap political points? It has to stop.”

Points outlined in the law include: opposition to “redefinition of the Institution of Marriage; supporting prompt reform of uneconomic, anti-marrige aspects of welfare policy, tax policy and marriage/divorce law; embracing a federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution; protecting the “innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy,” children, from porn, supporting safeguards for married and unmarried military personnel from same-gender, rejection of Sharia Islam (can’t let there be any competition), support for robust childbearing as a benefit to the US (more families like the freak show circus that is the Duggars) and defense of “Religious Liberty” and “Freedom of Speech” against “the intolerance of any who would undermine law-abiding American citizens and institutions of faith and conscience for their adherence to, and defense of, faithful heterosexual monogamy” (essentially, we’re for freedom of speech and liberty except when you speak out against our exclusionary views on marriage).

Essentially, candidates who sign this pledge are pledging to enforce God’s law in America and upon all Americans if elected president.

The end notes are incredibly revealing. This is some of the pseudo-science and religious dogma in the vow, which claims to advance the cause of marriage:

No peer-reviewed empirical science or rational demonstration has ever definitively proven, nor has even shown an overwhelming probability that homosexual preference or behavior is irresistible as a function of genetic determination or other forms of fatalism…That society’s interest in the physical, psychological and sociological health of infants, children, young people and other minors is not best upheld through the enduring institution of legal marriage…That the longstanding religious liberties of American parents, children, religious and civic leaders who adhere to Jewish and Christian tradition, teaching and sacred texts regarding faithful heterosexual monogamy are not jeopardized by recent and pending redefinitions of legal marriage to include same-sex unions, polygamy and other kinds of intimate relations. That practices such as adultery, bisexuality, homosexuality, anal intercourse, group sex, promiscuity, serial marriage, polygamy, polyandry and extramarital sex, individually or collectively, lead to general improvements in human mortality, public health, public health costs, general health care price inflation, incidence of single parent households and related social costs, incidence of epidemics and pandemics, incidence of HIV/AIDs, hepatitis, gonorrhea, syphilis, etc.

Let’s be clear: People like Bachmann and Santorum who sign on to pledges like this are signing on to a framework that likely encourages the promotion of Christian Reconstructionist beliefs like decentralized government within a Christian framework, death penalty for capital crimes that appear in the Old Testament (like adultery and abortion), restitution as part of the criminal justice system, strong national defense until the whole world is Christianized, laissez faire capitalism and movement back to a gold-based monetary system with little or no doubt. (Make gold part of your portfolio. Call Goldline today.)

Liberty is belief in God and anyone who doesn’t believe in God is less than human. Pluralism in society is unnecessary as there are only unbelievers and believers. Unbelievers aren’t and can never be “Real Americans.” Equality is assumed, since all are supposedly equal before God’s eyes. So, in court there is no need to address issues of race, class or just plain social injustice.

They desire for the president to have unlimited power, to not be checked by Congress or the Supreme Court, especially if the president is believed to have been selected by God to run the country. Consent of the governed is nonessential. What God says is right and wrong. Debating issues or engaging in democracy would be doubting God. And, of course, there’s no separation of church and state because they believe the Founding Fathers were Christian and also are people who act on their faith, which is a faith in God’s Law.

Those running for president who sign patriarchical pledges, which call for candidates to support denying reproductive freedom rights to women, prohibiting homosexuals from marriage (while at the same time saying they should be protected from creeping Sharia), promoting racist laws against Muslims and encourage the exploitation of black history or the history of the oppressed to advance so-called family values in America, are on a mission to force Americans to accept religious doctrine as law.

They don’t just dream of an America where people are free to practice their faith but also dream of a world where people do not desire to go through life free from faith and they will obstruct the rule of law or American governance and interfere in any agenda or process that they deem to be an affront to moving America closer to theocracy.