Remember when soda was a nickel and you could just pray whenever you danged well felt like it? Most of the GOP 2012 presidential candidates do, and from the looks of last night's "debate" sponsored by the ultra-conservative Christian organization the Family Leader, they'd sure like to take us back to that magical time. Held in a church in Des Moines, the event was billed as a "Thanksgiving table forum," which makes sense if all your family talks about at Thanksgiving is same-sex marriage and abortion.

Rick Santorum and Herman Cain both shed tears talking about their personal struggles, while Rick Perry definitely looked choked up for a few minutes (a source tells us that his Bubblicious "went down the wrong pipe"). Perry also mispronounced "proselytize," which ended up sounding adorable. Newt Gingrich, the "ideas" man of the Republican party, got a big laugh at the expense of Occupy Wall Street when he dropped some brand new "Hippies are smelly" material.


But really, this way-too-long discussion (moderated by Lie of the Year recipient and GOP "message expert" Frank Luntz) was about who could out-Jesus who and consisted mainly of pabulum for Iowa's conservative primary voters. Cain tried to articulate for the audience why Christians are such a persecuted minority in the United States in 2011: "Those of us that are people of faith and strong faith have allowed the non-faith element to intimidate us into not fighting back." Not to be outdone, Gingrich explained that the problem is godless judges.


Who said our government is supposed to be secular? Not the founding fathers! As Washington Monthly notes, Gingrich was referring to the 1963 Supreme Court case of Abington School District v. Schempp, in which the Justices considered the legality of "whether public officials could promote Bible passages and the Lord’s Prayer over public school intercoms." Our children have been living in a "nightmare" ever since. It's almost as bad as finding out that you've reached your $1 million credit limit at Tiffany's.

Santorum was a predictable favorite given his staunch support for using Constitutional amendments to repeal of Roe v. Wade and define "marriage," but it was Ron Paul who looked the most uncomfortable, as he doesn't believe the government should get involved with marriage: "I would say the church should make this decision." He also proclaimed that every war since World War II was fought illegally, a statement that got an icy reception from the crowd.

Jon Huntsman and no-chance-in-hell candidate Gary Johnson weren't invited because they refused to sign Family Leader's "marriage vow," a pact that binds the candidates to oppose any "redefinition of marriage" and will stand the test of time because politicians never lie. Mitt Romney was invited despite not signing the pledge, but wisely declined. What's the matter Mitt, don't you miss the Good Times?