Vander Plaats: Religious Freedom in Jeopardy Under Obama

Tuesday, 07 Aug 2012 04:53 PM

By Patrick Hobin and Kathleen Walter

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President Barack Obama places religious freedom in jeopardy and his policies on religion will become more of a socialist model if he wins a second term, Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of the Iowa-based Christian political advocacy organization The Family Leader, told Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.

Vander Plaats, who served as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s Iowa chairman in 2008 and endorsed Iowa caucus winner Rick Santorum last December, said while Obama has been a “terrific model in regards to his marriage to Michelle and raising their daughters,” his policies “are detrimental to the family.”

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Instead, he said Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s policies line up “much more in regards to our issues with sanctity of human life, God’s design for the family, one man/one woman marriage, economic policy, budgetary policy, those types of things.”

Special Report: Obama’s Assault on Religion — Click Here Now

If Obama wins in November, Vander Plaats said, religious freedom “definitely will be in jeopardy.”

“I mean we’ve seen the assault on religious liberty that President Obama and his administration have had,” he continued. “We’ve seen his edict in regards informing his Justice Department not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.
So, therefore, what you’re going to see is more and more control by our president, more and more limits on religious liberty, and really going to more of a socialist model and that’s something that quite frankly frightens us. And that’s why we’re going to do what we can in making Barack Obama a one-term president.”

While Romney’s policies are preferred to Obama’s, Vander Plaats called Romney’s refusal to stand up for Chick-fil-A a “mistake.” Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy has been targeted by Democrats and other liberals based on statements he made in support of the traditional definition of marriage. During a news conference in Las Vegas last week, Romney refused to weigh in on the issue, saying it was not part of his campaign.

Despite Romney’s silence on Chick-fil-A, Vander Plaats said, Christian leaders who have criticized him for it will still vote for him.

“They will but it is definitely a mistake,” he said. “It’s a stumble by Governor Romney. I mean this is one of those softball pitches you get in a campaign that you should just hit out of the park. Not only is it about standing up for the family and family values and for marriage, but standing up for free enterprise and the growth of business and industry in this country. And so Governor Romney had an opportunity to really be bold here and to show a stark difference between him and the left represented by Barack Obama. He missed that opportunity. So, hopefully, Governor Romney learns from this and he will be more bold as the campaign unfolds in the final months.”

But there will be some conservative Christians who still will not vote for Romney, Vander Plaats said, because of his reluctance in the past to speak out about family values.

“There will be some that just won’t vote for Governor Romney,” he said.

“…When he’s had opportunities like the Chick-fil-A moment, like being in North Carolina supporting one man, one woman marriage, or even being in Wisconsin defending Gov. Walker, you know, we haven’t seen a bold and courageous Mitt Romney on any of those fronts. And so, hopefully, he will embolden himself as the campaign unfolds. But the bigger issue is, will the people going to the polls to vote for Governor Romney, will they work for Governor Romney? Will they do the phone calls and the door knocking, the lit dropping, all those things that it takes to win an election?”

Vander Plaats said the huge turnout around the country to support Chick-fil-A was the result of “pent-up emotion” or what he said he calls “the silent majority.”

“These are just good, hardworking, God-fearing people who love their country who’ve really been silent as the left as constantly attacked, attacked and attacked the values in the name of tolerance,” Vander Plaats said. “And they’ve just kind of, you know, they’re just a respectful people. And so when the opportunity came, under the direction of Mike Huckabee, who gave the idea, which was bold leadership, you know, they rose up and they said, ‘You know, we’re going to support a business.’”

He went on to say that at the displays of support there were no signs, chants, or threats to those who disagreed with supporters. “They just did what they do,” he said. “They showed up, they supported a business, they cleaned up after themselves, they were great patrons. But then, just a couple of days later, even though the numbers were vastly smaller, I mean just a handful, but you see graffiti on the side of a building, you see signs and it’s all about hate and intolerance and those things. To be quite frank, the American people have had enough.”

Vander Plaats said Romney needs someone in the mold of Huckabee or Santorum as his running mate to make up a “connection gap” with conservatives.

“I’m not saying he needs to choose Mike Huckabee or he needs to choose Rick Santorum,” he said. “But, in my opinion, my suggestion to the campaign would be he needs to choose somebody like them; somebody who’s capable of being president. Someone who can serve well in the office of vice president. Someone who’s rock solid on the conservative values that Mitt Romney seems to have a little bit of a connection gap with. So his VP choice is going to be crucial in firing up this base as we go forward to the fall election.”

Vander Plaats’ organization will talk about election issues and more at an upcoming gathering Aug. 11 in the Des Moines area. He said the vision behind “The Family Leadership Summit” is “to really talk about leadership and take current issues, how they impact the family either positively or negatively and why leadership matters.”

Special Report: Obama’s Assault on Religion — Click Here Now

He continued: “And not only leadership in the White House, because that’s where all of our focus is right now or leadership in other elected office because we’re in an election year, but we need leadership in our communities, we need leadership on our campuses of education, we need leadership in our faith community, in our churches. We need leadership in our homes again.

"Everybody in this great country is called on to be a leader and to give to this country versus taking from this country. And so people need to lead today. You can’t just relax on leadership. So we’re bringing in Gov. Rick Perry, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Rick Santorum, along with others…And it’s going to be a great conference and focus on the need for leadership from all Americans, not just those in elected office.”

Anyone interested in Vander Plaats' organization or the summit can go to www.thefamilyleader.com

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