Michele Bachmann’s Politics Conflict With Basic Christian Values She Claims To Embrace

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From Michael Gershon’s blog at The Washington Post online

 

Michele Bachmann screamingMichele Bachmann is a candidate of whopping internal contradictions.

Earlier this month, I heard the Minnesota congresswoman give her Christian testimony at a church service in Osceola, Iowa. She told the story of her father leaving her mother, of the economic struggles her family faced, and of the encounter with God she experienced as a teenager. Her tone was direct, non-political and obviously sincere.

A few days later, at a campaign stop in Iowa, Bachmann was asked by a Latino college student what she would do to help the children of undocumented immigrants.

The presidential candidate responded: “Their parents are the ones who brought them here… They did not have the legal right to come to the United States. We do not owe people who broke our laws to come into the country. We don’t owe them anything.”

Bachmann is not just making a political point but a moral argument. She asserts that children — who have committed no crime themselves — should be denied assistance because of the legal status of their parents. Her point is made without qualification. It doesn’t matter whether the children of illegal immigrants are hungry or sick. This standard rules out everything from emergency room treatment to elementary school education to prenatal care for the unborn. Bachmann’s pro-life convictions, evidently, only apply to children covered by a green card.

It is difficult to determine what tradition of moral reasoning Bachmann is drawing upon. Her argument seems to involve a mix of extreme nationalism and utilitarian lifeboat ethics. Christian morality, in contrast, affirms that human worth is intrinsic and universal. Men and women are created in God’s image, which is equally present in every tribe, race and nationality. Governments have a responsibility to honor human dignity in the application of law, even when it comes to noncitizens. Children, along with others who are particularly vulnerable, have a particularly urgent claim to care and protection.

These beliefs do not translate easily or directly into specific immigration policies. Nations have the right to control their borders and enforce their laws. But when it comes to human beings — and especially when it comes to children — it is never permissible to say, “We don’t owe them anything.”

Bachmann’s candidacy represents a digression in the quality and seriousness of evangelical political engagement. It is difficult to imagine Mike Huckabee boasting of his indifference to the health and welfare of children, whatever their background. Even Pat Robertson, running for president in 1988, would have balked at such callousness.

Holy BibleBoth men would have been too conscious of the warnings found in Matthew 25, where Christianity’s founder defines the proper Christian attitude toward the hungry, the sick, the prisoner and the stranger. “Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these,” he said, “you did not do for me.”

Bachmann holds her faith deeply and understands its political implications poorly. Her campaign is increasingly discrediting to causes — including the pro-life cause — she seeks to serve.


Read more from Michael Gershon at The Washington Post Online…


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Michele Bachmann’s Misstatements Starting to Catch Up With Her (LA Times)

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Reporting from Perry, Iowa—

Michele Bachmann was laying out a tough immigration policy recently when she veered off script to make a point that she said underscored the national security implications of a porous border.

“Fifty-nine thousand this year came across the border, as was said in the introduction, from Yemen, from Syria. These are nations that are state sponsors of terror,” the Minnesota congresswoman and Republican presidential candidate said, citing a report she had heard. “They’re coming into our country!”

There were two problems with Bachmann’s passionate assertion. Yemen is not a state sponsor of terrorism, according to the State Department. And the Border Patrol report to which Bachmann referred said that although 59,000 apprehended illegal immigrants came from countries other than Mexico, only 663 had ties to countries with links to terrorism.

Voters here frequently say they are drawn to support Bachmann’s presidential campaign by the litany of statistics and facts that stud her speeches. Yet what she says is often inaccurate, misleading or wildly untrue.

All politicians occasionally shade the facts to their advantage. The danger for Bachmann is that her misstatements are so pronounced and so numerous that they erode her effort to regain footing in the presidential race. (Asked for reaction, a campaign aide provided information unrelated to the statements in question.)

Some of her misstatements have registered as eye-rolling blips, such as when she confused actor John Wayne with serial killer John Wayne Gacy on the day she entered the campaign in June. Others have damaged her candidacy.

She won points in a September debate when she criticized Texas Gov. Rick Perry for supporting a proposed requirement that young girls be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease. But then Bachmann told a post-debate television audience that the vaccine had caused mental retardation, a conclusion drawn from a brief meeting with a weeping mother. Bachmann’s hit against Perry was lost in howls of dismay from physicians who said her untrue remarks would stunt vaccinations and endanger children.

On recent campaign swings through Iowa, she continued to trip over matters large and small.

Read the full story at LATimes.com…