Politics

05.12.13

The Week in Wingnuts: Michele Bachmann's '9-11' Pray Day and More

From Michele Bachmann's '9-11 Pray' Day to the Texas 'Birther Ballot' bill, our weekly rundown of American politics at its wackiest.

Minnesota: 9-11 Pray Day

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann really wants a September 11 “National Day of Prayer and Fasting,” not only to commemorate the lives lost on that fateful date in 2001 and 2012, but to reflect on the things we, as Americans, have done to cause God such disappointment that he would choose to punish our country twice on the same date. “Our nation has seen judgement not once but twice on September 11 and that’s why we’re going to have ‘9-11 Pray’ on that day,” she said at a Capitol Hill event this week. “Is there anything better that we can do on that day rather than to humble ourselves and pray to an almighty God?” Bachmann has joined forces with World Net Daily editor Joseph Farah to promote the event. 9-11 Pray Day is necessary, Farah said, because the U.S. is experiencing a “slide from moral malaise to cultural hedonism” – pointing to support for gay marriage and equal rights as examples.

Texas: The Birther Ballot Bill

Nearly five years after he was first elected President of the United States, the Texas state legislature is considering a bill that would determine once and for all whether Barack Obama is actually qualified to hold the highest office in the land. The so-called Birther Bill would mandate that the Texas Secretary of State run a citizenship check on any presidential candidate to determine whether they’re qualified to be included on a Texas ballot. Ironically, one of the politicians potentially harmed by the GOP-backed legislation is Republican darling Ted Cruz, should he ever make a bid for the White House. Though his mother’s American citizenship was technically passed to him at birth, the fact that Cruz was born in Canada should--if the bill were to pass--complicate his path to the ballot box.

Pennsylvania: The Heterosexual Caucus

It was revealed this week that homosexuality is still considered legitimate grounds for discrimination in Pennsylvania. This Tuesday, Rep. Brian Sims, the state's openly-gay lawmaker and a handful of others gathered at the Pennsylvania state capitol in support of a law that would finally close a loophole permitting people to be denied such things as housing and jobs based on their sexual orientation or gender expression. Though the bill has the support of about 102 of the 253 members of both state House and Senate, before it has any chance of becoming a law it must first pass through the State Government Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, an unabashedly anti-gay Republican who has dismissed the bill’s sponsor as “out of touch with reality.” Metcalfe, who actively worked against a bid to advertise Philadelphia as a gay tourist destination because he was opposed to spending tax dollars to “promote immoral behaviors,” said of the anti-discrimination bill, “It has been traditionally looked at as morally repulsive to talk with someone about our sexual behaviors,” and that he couldn’t understand the need to “provide protection in statute so that people could go about offending their neighbors.” But the best indication of how Metcalfe feels about the push for gay rights was his comment that, “On the House floor, I was throwing around the idea of starting a heterosexual caucus.”

New York: Conspiracy Theories

Are black and Hispanic politicians in New York State corrupt, or is the recent slew of indictments against black and Hispanic state legislators evidence of a larger conspiracy against minority lawmakers? In the eyes of some minority elected officials, it’s the latter. “The only thing we do know is that in these times in New York State, the black and Hispanic politicians are the ones being wired and sent out to root out corruption among black and Hispanic officials,” wrote New York State Sen. Ruben Diaz in a newsletter. “I would hate to think that as black and Hispanic leaders who are elected to represent our communities... [we] would be targeted to weed out corruption only in our backyards, and that we would be held to a higher standard than the non-black and Hispanic leaders.” said State Senator James Sanders, echoing Diaz’s concern. “There’s a conversation that goes on at everybody’s kitchen table,” he said. “Everybody is talking about these issues: Is this a conspiracy? Is this corruption? We’re just not bold enough or brave enough to [ask about] it in public.”

Minnesota: Gay Marriage, A Tearful Event

The Minnesota House of Representatives made history Thursday, pushing forward a bill to legalize gay marriage in the state. But not everyone was on board with the bipartisan coalition’s momentous move. In fact, it brought tears to the eyes of one lawmaker – and not tears of joy.“My heart breaks for Minnesota,” Republican Rep. Peggy Scott lamented, crying on the House floor after the vote. “This is a divisive issue that divides our state. It’s not what we need to be doing at this time. We want to come together for the state of Minnesota, we don’t want to divide it.”