The religious right draws the line on ‘nurturing families’

THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT DRAWS THE LINE ON ‘NURTURING FAMILIES’…. Ordinarily, the annual presidential proclamation on Father’s Day goes by unnoticed. But this year, President Obama’s proclamation included a sentence that a lot of conservatives didn’t like at all: “Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by a father and mother, a single father, two fathers, a step father, a grandfather, or caring guardian.”

Yes, Obama included “two fathers.” He did the same thing in May in a Mother’s Day proclamation, using nearly identical language: “Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by two parents, a single mother, two mothers, a step-mom, a grandmother, or a guardian.”

It’s hard to overstate what a fit the religious right is throwing over this.

A Christian group is denouncing Barack Obama’s salute to families headed by “two fathers” in the president’s June 18 Father’s Day proclamation. […]

American Family Association president Tim Wildmon says, “This is the first time in our nation’s history that a president has used Father’s Day as an excuse to promote the radical homosexual agenda and completely redefine the word ‘family.'”

The Family Research Council is outraged, calling the proclamation a “detour to promote homosexuality,” and adding, “Sadly, the real victims of [the president’s] agenda are the children.”

Focus on the Family sent a message to supporters arguing that Obama “seems bent on bowing to an agenda that ensures more children will be excluded from their best chance for stability and success — a married mother and father.”

That’s quite a reaction from two innocuous words in a largely-unread, ceremonial presidential proclamation. It’s almost as if the religious right’s hatred for gay people leads the movement to wildly overreact to a sensible, mainstream observation about modern, nurturing families.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.