U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said last night’s shooting in a Colorado movie theater is linked to “attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs,” the Huffington Post reports.
Speaking this morning with radio host Ernest Istook, a fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation and former Colorado congressman, Gohmert said, “You know what really gets me, a Christian, is to see the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs, and then some senseless crazy act of terror like this.”
At least 59 people were injured and 12 killed when a gunman opened fire in a movie theater packed with fans attending the premiere of the new Batman movie last night in Aurora, Colo.
Police have identified the suspect as James Holmes, a 24-year-old from San Diego who last month withdrew from a PhD program in neurosciences at the University of Colorado. He was arrested near the scene of the crime, and is thought by police to have acted alone.
A motive has not yet been identified – but that hasn’t stopped Gohmert and others from speculating about what caused the rampage.
“Some of us happen to believe that when our founders talked about guarding our virtue and freedom, that that was important," Gohmert told Istook. "Whether it's John Adams saying our Constitution was made only for moral and religious people ... Ben Franklin, only a virtuous people are capable of freedom, as nations become corrupt and vicious they have more need of masters ... We have been at war with the very pillars, the very foundation of this country.”
Seeming to suggest that secularism had caused God to turn away from America, Gohmert continued, “People say ... where was God in all of this? … We've threatened high school graduation participations, if they use God's name, they're going to be jailed ... I mean that kind of stuff. Where was God? What have we done with God? We don't want him around. I kind of like his protective hand being present.”
He also blamed the tragedy on the fact no one in the theater shot back. “It does make me wonder, with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more quickly?”
Gohmert, who yesterday suggested that Muslim Brotherhood agents have infiltrated the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has a history of making inflammatory statements.
In June, he described the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which is designed to protect LGBT people from workplace discrimination, as part of an alleged “war on religion” by the Obama administration. During a 2006 conference run by the hardline antigay group Vision America, he boasted about refusing to sign an American Bar Association code of conduct when he was a Texas judge because it banned “prejudice on the basis of sexual orientation.”
And in August 2010, he memorably took to the floor of Congress to warn of a supposed plot to bring pregnant Muslim women to the United States to have babies who could return here in 20 to 30 years as terrorists with American citizenship and passports. Challenged later by the news media, he could produce no evidence of any plot.
Gohmert isn’t the only rightwing personality who has exploited the Colorado theater tragedy to make a political point.
Bryan Fischer, spokesman for the anti-gay hate group American Family Association (AFA), in a column blamed the Colorado massacre – as well as adultery, divorce, cohabitation, domestic abuse, child abuse, murder, school violence and falling SAT scores – on a 1962 Supreme Court decision prohibiting school prayer and a 1980 Supreme Court decision barring the display of the Ten Commandment in public school classrooms.
“So these black-robed miscreants said we cannot permit potential mass murderers like James Holmes to read or meditate on God’s prohibition ‘Thou shall not murder’ as a part of their education, because someone like him just might be inclined to ‘venerate and obey’ it and not go on a midnight shooting rampage leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake,” Fischer wrote. “No, we can’t be having that, now, can we?”
Meanwhile, bloggers at The New Civil Rights Movement report, Margie Phelps of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church (of “God Hates Fags” fame), said the massacre was God’s punishment for a gay pride parade that took place in Denver over a month ago. “DIRECT result of filthy fag pride parade in Colo,” she tweeted this morning.