The 5 Craziest Things Spouted by the GOP Presidential Hopefuls ... Just This Week
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Though the GOP contenders for 2012 are not particularly pleasant, you definitely can’t accuse them of being boring (even Pawlenty seems determined to compensate for his innate dullness by trying to out-crazy the crazies). The election is over a year off and we’re already experiencing a daily carnival ride of rhetoric that is as confusing as it is hate-filled. Here are some of this week’s highlights.
1. Michele Bachmann is proud of her husband’s gay brainwashing.
Never mind her migraines; the real story continues to be Bachmann’s stance on homosexuality (which, if you haven’t noticed, is incredibly anti). This month has been particularly active in the Bachmann world: her husband Marcus has been lambasted for weeks for his ridiculous quote that gays are “barbarians who need to be educated,” and his Christian therapy clinic has come under scrutiny for its practice of trying to turn gays straight. Last night, a group of gay activists in Minnesota calling themselves “Gay Barbarians” glitter-bombed the waiting room of the clinic, chanting “You can’t pray away the gay, baby I was born this way!” Awesome. Last week, Michele Bachmann defended the clinic, saying she was “very proud” of it. Meanwhile, Salon reminds us that in 2006 the presidential candidate attacked the HBO show "Big Love," saying that it “ normalizes polygamy.”
This week started out on a crazy foot when presidential candidate Herman Cain appeared on Fox News Sunday to discuss what he called a “mosque” in Murfreesboro, Tennessee—something he, known for being vocally anti-Muslim, clearly opposed. (Like Park 51 in New York, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro is in fact an Islamic cultural center where everyone is welcome, but has commonly been mischaracterized as a mosque. Recent activities include sports events, a cookout and Fourth of July fireworks.) At a rally last Thursday, Cain appeared concerned about the rights afforded us by the Constitution, saying the cultural center was “an infringement and an abuse of our freedom of religion. And I don't agree with what's happening, because this isn't an innocent mosque."
Yet ironically, on Fox News, he advocated infringing upon others’ freedom of religion, saying that communities should be allowed to block the construction of mosques. Asked whether any community should be able to prohibit a mosque, Cain said they should.
"They have the right to do that. That's not discriminating ... against that particular religion. That is an aspect of them building that mosque that doesn't get talked about," he said.
Cain again argued that residents were objecting to "the fact that Islam is both a religion and a set of laws, Shariah law. That's the difference between any one of our other traditional religions."
And the Ten Commandments are... what, again? Clearly, Cain’s extreme, radically conservative anti-Muslim views have raised protest, but the secondary reaction is just plain old bewilderment. Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison, one of two Muslims in Congress, told Salon, “I don't know if Herman Cain is just a sick individual, or if he is using bigotry to strategically move his campaign forward. But in either case it's reprehensible that he just will not relent with this bigotry and that he actually thinks it's going to enhance his chances to get the Republican nomination. If I were a Republican, I would be outraged.”
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), called Cain “bigoted” and beseeched his fellow Republicans to speak out against his hateful views, saying, “It's incumbent on reasonable people within the Republican Party to come out strongly and repudiate these kinds of un-American unconstitutional views," he said. "It's just so bizarre."