Princeton University politics professor Robert George — the founding chairman of the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (NOM) — has announced that he will co-moderate Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) The Palmetto Freedom Presidential Forum on September 5. The event is also being co-sponsored by George’s American Principles Project, a conservative group that kicked off this year’s boycott of CPAC to protest the participation of the Republican pro-gay rights group GOProud:
The Palmetto Freedom Forum will follow a unique format, designed to allow invited candidates to engage in a thoughtful, substantive discussion of their stances on the critical issues facing our country. Candidates will be featured on stage one-at-a-time and will engage in a question and answer session with three panelists: U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), U.S. Representative Steve King (R-IA), and Dr. Robert P. George, founder of the American Principles Project and a professor at Princeton University. The event will be moderated by David Stanton, a veteran of South Carolina presidential events and former local news anchor. [...]
Founder of the American Principles Project, Robert George, said, “The South Carolina presidential forum rests on a conviction—the belief that the way forward for our country is a renewed fidelity to the foundational principles of our civilization and the constitutional principles of our democratic republic. The forum will give those aspiring to the presidency an opportunity to demonstrate the depth of their understanding of our nation’s core principles, and the strength of their commitment to governing in accordance with them.”
George co-authored the 2009 Manhattan Declaration, a manifesto “developed after a New York meeting of conservative church leaders that “promises resistance to the point of civil disobedience against any legislation that might implicate their churches or charities in abortion, embryo-destructive research or same sex marriage.” As a 2009 New York Times profile explained, George — the religious right’s intellectual leader — “argues that reason alone shows that heterosexual sodomy and homosexual sex are morally wrong, just as the Catholic Church, classical philosophers and other religious traditions have historically taught.” His declaration, meanwhile, encourages people to resist same-sex attraction. “[W]e pay tribute to the men and women who strive, often with little assistance, to resist the temptation to yield to desires that they, no less than we, regard as wayward. We stand with them, even when they falter. We, no less than they, are sinners who have fallen short of God’s intention for our lives,” it says.
George has previously described homosexual behavior as “beneath the dignity of human beings as free and rational creatures” and argued that same-sex relationships have “no intelligible basis in them for the norms of monogamy, exclusivity, and the pledge of permanence.” Most recently, he even claimed that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo “shouldn’t be considered a Catholic because he signed marriage equality into law.”
Reports have indicated that invitations to the forum will only be extended “to Republican contenders polling at 5 percent support or higher in the RealClearPolitics.com poll average as of Aug. 22.” Under that standard, Huntsman and Santorum will likely be excluded from the event.