That Marriage Vow Guy Says He’s No Sharia Expert But He Hates Sharia Anyway

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The leader of the group behind the contentious Marriage Vow in Iowa says he’s not really trying to ban pornography — that’s just unrealistic, he says. But he is trying to protect women from porn. And he’s trying to keep an eye on Sharia Islam, even though he really doesn’t know what that is.

Salon‘s Justin Elliott interviewed former Iowa gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats (R), whose Marriage Vow has caused more than a little agita for the two Republican presidential candidates who signed it.Vander Plaats has a way with words. In May, he trucked up to DC to stand behind a man in a tri-corn hat and say that he’d be OK with a hike in the debt ceiling if Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was reinstated. That put him at odds with basically the entire mainline GOP, who’d like to put the DADT fight behind them and talk about nothing else but debt.

Now, Vander Plaats is trying to shift the conversation back to the social stuff again, with the pledge that became national news because of some weird language about slavery and what appears to be a call to ban pornography contained within it.

That last bit is overstated, Vander Plaats tells Elliott.

“I think if the Family Leader could have its way, we’d probably say we’d like to have a ban on pornography,” Vander Plaats said. “But that’s not the vow. The vow was [about] forcing women into pornography.”

What does that mean? Vander Plaats elaborated:

Well I think if you read in that, there’s also the word “coercion” — “coerced.” I don’t have the vow in front of me right now, but I think if you read that it’s going to talk about coercion as it relates to abortion, prostitution, pornography. What we’re trying to do is have a high standard for women and for children, as well as for marriages and for family.

Less reported in coverage of the pledge — perhaps because of its ubiquity in modern Republicanism — is the language calling on the next President of the United States to reject Sharia Islam. Sharia is a standard bogeyman of the evangelical right these days. Vander Plaats admits he doesn’t know too much about it, but what he does know he doesn’t like.

“Well, Sharia Islam — and I’m not an expert on Sharia Islam — but I think just in the brief knowledge [I have] of Sharia Islam, one you can have multiple wives, and two is you can have temporary wives, and three is I think it disrespects women as a whole,” he told Elliott. “And so we see Sharia Islam as being an issue.”

Read the whole interview here.

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