Speaking out for women and gays, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders condemns so-called Republican “family values.”
Sanders, appearing on ABC’s “The View” on Monday, declared:
We have a very right-wing extremist Republicans Party.
Sanders explained what Republicans really mean when they speak of family values:
Look, when Republicans talk about family values, this is what they’re saying: Their family values is that no woman in America should have the right to control their body. Their family values are that if you’re gay, you should not have the right to marry. That’s their family values.
Sanders went on to contrast the GOP’s idea of family values with his own:
Mine are, if you are a mom and have a baby, you have the right to stay home with paid family and medical leave for at least three months. How’s that?
That sounds good. Paid family and medical leave sounds like true family values, unlike the so-called Republican “family values” which is ultimately code for the bigotry and prejudice that animates the conservative Christians currently dominating the GOP.
This is not the first time the presidential hopeful has challenged Republican “family values.” In a blistering assault earlier this summer, Sanders again exposed the dangerous hypocrisy of the conservative Christian base of the GOP while speaking at a rally in Littleton, New Hampshire. As the crowd at the Littleton Opera House cheered uproariously, Sanders declared:
Many of my Republican colleagues who come through New Hampshire and Iowa and so forth, they often talk about family values.
They just love families. But all of you know what they mean by family values. And what they mean by family values is that the women of this country should not have the right to control their own bodies.
What they mean by family values is that women are not smart enough to be able to purchase the contraceptives they need.
And furthermore, what they mean by family values is that our gay brothers and sisters should not be able to get married or enjoy the other benefits of the American legal system.
We believe in strong families, but our view’s just a little bit different than our Republican friends. When we talk about family values, what we mean is the United States should end the international embarrassment of being the only major country on Earth that does not guarantee family and medical leave to all of our families.
Sanders is a friend to freethinkers, and the enemy of conservative Christians. Religious News Service describes Sanders as “unabashedly irreligious” and “the anti-Bible thumper,” noting:
Sanders is the presidential contender most willing to dissociate himself from religion. Though he identifies as Jewish and by Jewish law is Jewish, he has freely acknowledged that he is not a religious person. He scored a solid zero from Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition in its most recent scorecard and a 100 from the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Earlier this summer, in an uplifting viral video supporting Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, the presidential hopeful rejected divine intervention, declaring:
The problems we face did not come down from the heavens. They are made, they are made by bad human decisions, and good human decisions can change them.
Ane earlier this month, Sanders artfully dodged a pointed question about believing in God by articulating a powerful vision of compassionate humanism while appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
At one point in the wide ranging discussion Kimmel asked Sanders if he believed in God, and if not, would that hurt his chances of being elected president:
You say you’re culturally Jewish, but you don’t feel religious. Do you believe in God and do you think that’s important to the people of the United States?
In a politically savvy yet compassionate response, Sanders answered:
I am who I am, and what I believe in and what my spirituality is about is that we’re all in this together. I think it is not a good thing to believe as human beings we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people.
Sanders is spot on. There can be no doubt that when Republicans use the phrase “family values” they are not talking about helping or even protecting American families. Instead, “family values” has come to represent a mean-spirited agenda fueled by religious superstition and ignorance.
The Republican agenda is one that would deny women access to birth control, to abortion, to reproductive health services; an agenda that would deny LGBT people basic rights, like the right to marry the one they love, like the right to work and earn a living without fear of discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, like the simple right to be treated equally and with dignity under the law.
Sanders, the longest-serving Independent in congressional history, is currently a U.S. Senator from Vermont, and a favorite among progressives looking for an alternative to Hillary Clinton in 2016.