'Holy Spirit' behind US stenographer's rant
A US House stenographer who unleashed a rant about God as Congress voted to end a fiscal standoff reportedly said Thursday she was doing the will of the "Holy Spirit."
The official chamber transcriber, identified by US media as Dianne Reidy, climbed the House of Representatives dais and began shouting as lawmakers and staffers watched in shock during the crucial night-time vote to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling.
"He will not be mocked. He will not be mocked," she yelled as US Capitol Police took her away after she was forcibly removed from the chamber by staffers.
"The greatest deception here is, this is not one nation under God. It never was," she continued.
"The Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons. They go against God."
Then as she was reportedly ushered into an elevator, she said: "You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God! Lord Jesus Christ reigns forever."
Of the 39 men who signed the US Constitution, 13 are believed to have been Freemasons, members of a fraternal organization that dates back to medieval times.
The woman was questioned after her outburst but not arrested, US Capitol Police told AFP, and she is believed to have gone to hospital for observation.
Fox News congressional producer Chad Pergram tweeted Thursday that Reidy said the "Holy Spirit has been waking me up in the middle of the night to deliver a message in the House Chamber."
Reidy also told Pergram, a veteran Capitol Hill reporter who said he knows her, that she felt compelled to speak out on the House floor despite her "reluctance and doubt" about the action.
The microphones were off during the late-night vote, and floor commotion made it difficult to hear her on C-Span, which records and archives activities in Congress.
A woman can clearly be seen leaving her stenographer position and calmly walking to the rostrum, near where the president gives his annual State of the Union speech, to launch her bizarre rant before stunned lawmakers, staffers and reporters.
The presiding officer, congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, banged her gavel in a vain call for order.
Congressman Gerry Connolly said he recognized the stenographer as a liked and well-known figure in the House.
"There's a lot of sympathy, because something clearly happened there," Connolly told the Washington Post.