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Phony PhD Credentials

Michelle Bachmann's Skeleton Closet: Scandals, Quotes, and Character

Michelle Bachmann dropped out of the race early, but let's hope she runs in 2016, because she showed a lot of potential as a scandalous candidate.

I'd say, keep an eye on her husband, who has been called to minister to and discipline gay teenage youths and help them with their struggle. Don't be surprised if his story takes a totally predictable unexpected twist. (But doesn't he look totally like Cam on Modern Family?)

Michelle and Marcus Bachman are definitely true believers in extreme, if not fringe, religion. To those who say a candidate's religion should not be a poltiical issue, I say "get real." It has always been an issue in the U.S., from John Kennedy's Catholicism to Mitt Romney's Mormonism. And that's appropriate. Few things drive a candidate's agenda as much as relgiious ideology, and no one runs for president without lots of open calls for God's help. The day an atheist, Hindu or Taoist has a chance at being elected presient, you might convince me that discussion of religion has no place.

The point is, Michelle Bachman and her husband belong to a church that is part of Wisconisn Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), a denomination that believes that the Pope is the AntiChrist. (Michelle denies that she shares that particular view, but as you might guess, this is not the kind of church comfortable with a "cafeteria-style" religion where you take only the items you want.) Beyond individual extreme positions, her religion narrows her viewpoint, making her suspicious of normal institutions (such as science, and medicine).


"I was the perfect candidate. America had their chance with the perfect candidate." -- Michelle Bachmann, after dropping out.

"I think you clearly say 'what is the understanding of God's word on homosexuality.' We have to understand that barbarians need to be educated, need to be disciplined. And just because someone thinks it or feels it doesn’t mean we need to go down that road. That’s what is called the sinful nature.” -- Marcus Bachmann, Michelle's husband

“He is her godly husband. The husband is to be the head of the wife, according to God.” - Peter Bachmann, Marcus' older brother

"A member of our family [is gay. It's] a very sad life. It’s part of Satan.” - Michelle Bachmann, apparently describing her stepsister.

-- Quote Sources

Ministering to Gay Teenagers

Michelle and Marcus Bachmann have a long history of fascination with, and struggling against homosexuality. Together, they run a Christian counseling clinic that attempts to change gay youths to straight. She lies, denying this, but former patients and hidden camera stings have documented it clearly. And at least on Christian radio, Marcus doesn't really attempt to hide it. "If a child confides in a parent that they might be gay, that parent should discourage the child from being gay. ...We have a responsibility as parents and authority figures not to allow such feelings to move into action steps” (such as homosexual relationships). In 2005, Marcus Bachmann gave a talk at Grace Church in Eden Prarie where he introduced three people as "former homosexuals" in order to prove it was a choice.

Michelle has her own issues with homosexuality. As a state senator, she was caught hiding in bushes to observe a gay rights rally. (She said she was checking the turnout.) In 2005, she ran screaming from a bathroom during a constituent forum, saying that a lesbian had tried to keep her there against her will. (The woman said she was just questioning Bachmann about her stance on gay marriage.)

Their clinic is openly and intensely religious. Nothing wrong with that -- except that they take state and federal government money (over $130,000 so far) for treatments, and are less open about their preaching when applying for government cash. (That would of course violate the separation of church and state.) Marcus said, on a Christian radio program, that "We are distinctly a Christian counseling agency here in the Twin Cities. We have 27 Christian counselors, Christ-centered, very strong in our understanding of who the Almighty Counselor is, and as we rely on God’s word and the Almighty Counselor, we have the opportunity to change people’s lives.”


Back in 1960, some Protestants warned against voting for Catholic candidate John F. Kennedy, arguing that he would take orders from the Vatican. With Michelle Bachmann, you can count on this -- she has promised to take orders, not from a religious figure, but from her totally-not-gay husband Marcus. In 2006, she told congregants of the Living Word Christian Center that she became a federal tax lawyer only because her husband told her to. She went on: "The Lord says: Be submissive, wives. You are to be submissive to your husbands.”

Phony PhD Credentials

Mr. Bachmann holds himself out as a clinical psychologist, and describes himself as "Dr. Bachmann" based on an unaccredited "PhD" certificate in interdisciplinary studies that he received from Union Graduate Institute in Cincinnati. And Michelle brags about the money they get, and jobs they created, at thet clinic that Marcus runs and they together own.

But Union Graduate Institute is a controversial institution; some call it a mail-order degree mill. It is not accredited by the American Psychiatric Association, and did not offer any degree in Clinical Psychology until after 2001, decades after Marcus graduated. (During that time it was renamed several times, and is now called "Union Institute and University.") In 2004, the US Department of Education censured Union Graduate's psychology program, and students were banned from getting federal loans until 2007, which resulted in the entire faculty being laid off.

Marcus Bachmann is not licensed with Minnesota's Board of Psychology or the Board of Marriage and Family Therapy, and has no entry for a psychologist license in the federal Medicaid/Medicare registry. (Minnesota is one of the only states that allows unlicensed mental health professionals to practice.)

-- Sources


Quote Sources -- Back

Bachmann: ‘I was the perfect candidate’, by Felicia Sonmez, Washignton Post, 02/06/2012

ScandalSources -- Back

Bachmann’s Christian counseling clinic receives state funds, by Andy Birkey, The Minnesota Independent, June 4, 2010

Michele Bachmann’s husband shares her strong conservative values, by Jason Horowitz, The Washington Post, July 5, 2011

What's going on at the Bachmann clinic? by Jim Acosta and Erika Dimmler, CNN, July 12, 2011

Marcus Bachmann, Unlicensed psychologist, fraud and husband of Michele Bachmann, Arthur Frederick Ide's Blog, July 13, 2011

Union Institute and University PhD Program, Cincinnati, Ohio, Complaints Board, 2010-03-24

US Dept. of Education and Union Institute and University, worksmarterwithpsychology blog, October 12, 2010

Marcus Bachmann: Campaign Spouse, By JAMES HOHMANN & BYRON TAU, Politico, 7/4/11

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Copyright 2012 Mark Saltveit. Photograph of Bachmanns By Gage Skidmore and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, via Wikimedia Commons