During an appearance on Bryan Fischer’s radio show on Friday, the FAMiLY LEADER’s Bob Vander Plaats — who recently released a radical marriage fidelity pledge that has created a rift within the 2012 presidential field — doubled down on his inaccurate claim that African Americans had stronger families during the time of slavery and blamed ThinkProgress for leading a misinformation campaign that forced the group to retract it:
VANDER PLAATS: We even said slavery was disastrous for families, but then we pointed out that children you know born in slavery, as awful as that was, were more likely to be born to a mom and a dad than African American children born today. Because 70 percent of African American children are born outside of wedlock… But what happened is that the leftist blog ThinkProgress they said that what what were saying is that slavery is better for families than they are today. And that’s absurd.
Contrary to Vander Plaats’ accusations, ThinkProgress never reported that the group wanted to bring back the institution of slavery. We argued that the group’s contention that African American children were born into wedlock during the period of slavery was historically inaccurate. As Zack Ford wrote in a July 8 post, “slaves were property and could not be party to a contract, including a marriage contract” and were thus not legally married in the eyes of the government. The slavery language did elicit furious responses from many African-American bloggers, however. Cheryl Contee of Jack and Jill politics wrote, “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.”
Vander Plaats also tried to put a positive spin on the growing concerns within the Republican party that Vander Plaats and his group may be be alienating conservative and independent voters. Addressing Mitt Romney’s dismissal of the pledge as “undignified and inappropriate”, Vander Plaats said Romney has flip flopped on marriage issues, but offered, “the good news about Mitt Romney is that he ended by saying he is firmly for one man, one woman marriage.” Vander Plaats added, “We feel good that Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain at least would say they they agree with us in the pledge.”