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'Purity pledge'

Posted: March 6, 2012 9:37 a.m.
Updated: March 7, 2012 5:00 a.m.

There are Republicans in South Carolina -- and across the nation, for that matter -- who are amazingly adept at finding new ways to shoot themselves in the foot. But GOP officials in Laurens County went to a new level of innovation when they passed a “purity pledge” requiring those who plan to run in this year’s primary to adhere to a set of rules governing their social behavior and mores. Specifically, the pledge demands that candidates must, among other things, not have had premarital sex and not watch porn. The state GOP quickly dismissed the idea, noting that it is unconstitutional and that the party needs to focus on economic issues.

We’re certainly not endorsing premarital sex and porn. And we thoroughly agree with the idea of balanced budgets, which the pledge also favors. And who couldn’t agree with holding a high regard for U.S. sovereignty and commitment to peace through “strength in foreign policy.” But the entire idea, which reeks a bit of piety, isn’t a reasonable way to approach politics, not to mention the absolute illegality of it.

Matt Moore, executive director of the state’s Republican Party, had a good reply: “We’ve got to be for limited government, less taxes. That’s what our platform is all about.” We’re glad to see state GOP leaders drifting away from the idea of social edicts and towards economic common sense. But we’ll hand it to Laurens County officials for coming up with something that will cause chuckles throughout the nation.


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