The GOP presidential candidate told a rally that God sent Hurricane Irene, which killed 28 people, to punish America's spending. She's crazy.
Blaming God's wrath for natural disasters has long been the stock-in-trade of an infamous cadre of angry, unscientific TV preachers led by Pat Robertson. Now, a presidential candidate has joined in on the medieval fun.
Speaking yesterday to a 1,000-person crowd gathered in Sarasota, Florida, Michele Bachmann, who is campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination, said that God is punishing the United States with disasters because the nation is spending too much money. "I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians," she said, according to the St. Petersburg Times. "We've had an earthquake; we've had a hurricane. He said, 'Are you going to start listening to me here?' Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we've got to rein in the spending."
Bachmann is often teased for her "crazy eyes" and "dumb" soundbites, often to much protestation. Our own Nona Willis Aronowitz has argued that to debase Bachmann as nothing but a lunatic is sexist. I'm hoping that this latest quote can put the argument to rest: If Bachmann actually believes that Hurricane Irene, which killed dozens of Americans this weekend, was really the Lord punishing America for spending too much money, she really is mentally unstable, and she is unfit to lead a parade, let alone an entire country.
Religion is religion, and like it or not, it's likely to be inextricably linked to politics for years to come. That said, there's a difference between a politician saying they'll pray for our soldiers and a politician saying God makes the earth shake when he is mad at us. That kind of thinking isn't just inherently derisive of science, history, and technology, it's also dangerous, especially when the person who holds those beliefs wields tremendous power. For instance, do we want someone who thinks floods and earthquakes are caused by an angry deity overseeing disaster relief funding?
I no longer have any remorse about calling Michele Bachmann crazy. I only wish 28 people didn't have to die in Hurricane Irene for me to find out just how crazy she actually is.
Update: Through a spokesperson, Bachmann now says her God comment was made "in jest." What a sense of humor.