This Week In Crazy: Atheists Ruined Columbus Day, And The Rest Of The Worst Of The Right

This Week In Crazy: Atheists Ruined Columbus Day, And The Rest Of The Worst Of The Right

Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the wildest attacks, conspiracy theories, and other loony behavior from the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. The American Family Association

October has seen several big steps forward for the gay rights movement — and the American Family Association is handling the news just about as well as you might think.

On Monday, the anti-gay hate group’s director of issues analysis, Bryan Fischer, took to his radio show to declare that “the Mark of the Beast today is the rainbow flag.”

As Fischer’s argument goes, Christian businessmen who refuse to serve gay customers are now “not allowed to engage in commerce because they would not take the Mark of the Beast on their hands or on their foreheads,” and as a consequence, they are literally slaves:

But Fischer’s concerns pale in comparison to those of his boss, AFA president Tim Wildmon. In an email to supporters on Tuesday, which was flagged by Right Wing Watch, Wildmon warned that Christians in America now face “mandatory gay brain-washing.”

“Homosexual activists are now intentionally seeking out Christian business owners for the sole purpose of attacking and destroying religious liberties,” Wildmon warns.

Conveniently, Wildmon goes on to share an easy way that Christians can save their faith, and the country: buying one of the AFA’s DVDs.

4. Steve Vaillancourt

Steve Vaillancourt

New Hampshire state Rep. Steve Vaillancourt lands at number four, for yet another great moment in GOP outreach to women.

“Let’s be honest. Does anyone not believe that Congressman Annie Kuster is ugly as sin? And I hope I haven’t offended sin,” Vaillancourt wrote last Friday on the blog NH Insider.

“How ugly is Annie Kuster?” he continued. “Annie Kuster looks more like a drag queen than most men in drag.”

Believe it or not, there was a point to Vaillancourt’s boorish rant. According to the lawmaker, Kuster’s Republican opponent in her re-election race, state Rep. Marilinda Garcia, “is one of the mot [sic] attractive women on the political scene anywhere, not so attractive as to be intimindating [sic], but truly attractive.” And according to a poll that Vaillancourt thought he may have seen on Fox News, “an attractive candidate can have as much as a seven to ten point advantage over a less attractive (or even an unattractive) candidate.”

“If looks really matter and if this race is at all close, give a decided edge to Marilinda Garcia,” he concluded.

Unsurprisingly, Vaillancourt’s rant drew instant, bipartisan condemnation — including a harsh statement from Rep. Garcia. But on Wednesday, he declared victory after tracking down the poll in question.

Not everyone agrees that attractive candidates get a boost, however. According to Princeton psychologist Alexander Todorov, multiple studies and research groups have shown that competence is far more important.

“Appearance primarily affects voters who know next to nothing about politics,” he told Talking Points Memo.

If it’s any consolation to Vaillancourt, knowing next to nothing puts him in prettygoodcompany in the New Hampshire GOP.

3. Louie Gohmert

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) checks in at number three, for exploring the real stakes of the Ebola crisis in Texas during a Thursday appearance on Glenn Beck’s radio show.

Although Gohmert is a notedpolicyexpert, he declined to dive too deeply into the public health ramifications of the disease (“As far as I know I’m OK, but do any of us really know for sure?” Gohmert mused.) Instead, he chose to examine the political angle.

“You know it’s a shame that the CDC head, Frieden, and apparently is the new commander of the Democrats’ war on woman nurses,” Gohmert babbled incoherently. “Because they set up them up and then they throw them under the bus.”

In reality, if Democrats are waging a “war on nurses,” the nurses appear to be winning. But it wasn’t long before Gohmert was on to his next strange tangent.

“The idiot comes out and says that clearly she had violated protocol,” the congressman fumed. “At least in football, they have to tell you what you violated.”

Meanwhile, Beck is pretty sure that if you get called for holding, it means you should tackle the opponent on the next play.

Audio of the interview is below, via The Raw Story:

2. Ron Johnson

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

When it comes to politicizing a crisis, however, it’s tough to top Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI).

During a Wednesday appearance on Newsmax TV, Johnson was asked about an already-debunked theory that ISIS terrorists are planning to infect themselves with Ebola, then travel to the U.S. to cause an epidemic.

“Well, it’s certainly something I’ve been thinking about ever since this Ebola outbreak started,” Johnson said. “We should do everything possible to defend ourselves against that possibility, because I think that is a real and present danger.”

Of course, that doesn’t make much sense. And plenty of other things that Johnson thinks about — like the Affordable Care Act or “environmental jihad” — aren’t quite as dangerous as he fears.

Maybe if Johnson really wants to protect the nation from Ebola terrorists, he should reconsider those across-the-board 20 percent budget cuts.

Audio of Johnson’s remarks is available atBuzzFeed.

1. Dr. Kenyn Cureton

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Five centuries after Christopher Columbus sailed to the Americas and enslaved the indigenous population, the explorer’s reputation is arguably worse than ever. But this week’s “winner,” Family Research Council vice president Dr. Kenyn Cureton, knows why.

According to Dr. Cureton, Americans don’t criticize Columbus because, as The Oatmeal memorably put it, “He discovered the New World much like a meteorite discovered the dinosaurs.” No — they are persecuting him because he was a Christian!

“Columbus, instead of killing all the Caribes, enslaved them — and he did so for two reasons,” Cureton explained on the Columbus Day edition of the Family Research Council’s Washington Watch radio show. “To stop them from killing and eating any more of the Arawaks, but also to employ them in his search for gold for that mission to free Jerusalem.”

Cureton was referring to the theory that Columbus wanted to find gold not for his own enrichment, but to launch a new crusade to capture Jerusalem from the Muslims (he was also using an incredibly loose definition of “employ”).

“So he did do some things that weren’t right but his motives overall were, number one, to get gold to free Jerusalem but secondly to share the Gospel,” Cureton continued. “He was very much motivated by his Christian faith and I think that is what is behind this effort to wipe his name out from history.”

Keep that theory in mind the next time that the Republican Party’s presidential contenders beg for the Family Research Council’s approval.

Check out previous editions of This Week In Crazy here. Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments!

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