The US Congress is many things to many people—an austere lawmaking institution, a dysfunctional madhouse, even a testing ground for the latest buzzword or political acronym. But for others, the House of Representatives and the Senate serve as endless sources of ridiculous, laughable statements, especially when it comes to some off-the-wall remarks made by religious conservatives and their allies.
Below are some of the most insane statements made by members of Congress during its 114th session, which started in early 2015 and runs all the way through the beginning of 2017 (so there are surely more gems on the way). Here are the top five so far in descending order; like a Letterman Top 10 list, they get a little crazier as you get to number one:
5. “I think it’s important we have a sense of perspective. In Iran they hang you for the crime of being gay.”
Senator Tim Cotton (R-AR) is a big fan of the “religious freedom” laws passed in Indiana and other states. In supporting those laws, he told the LGBT community to essentially “stop whining,” as the newly granted right to discriminate against them pales in comparison to some of the harsher anti-LGBT laws around the world. Nevermind that in the US being gay isn’t a crime, and that passing laws to allow explicit discrimination is inherently undemocratic.
4. “I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.”
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has made several anti-vaccine statements based on bad science—which he has since walked back—but this bizarre statement takes the cake. Between the strange linkage of vaccines to mental disorders, and his ableist commentary on what constitutes a “normal child,” Paul seems to have put his foot pretty far into his mouth.
3. “It is my hope that that marriage decision serves as a spark to start a fire that becomes a raging inferno and an awakening that sweeps this country, as the body of Christ rises up to defend the values that have built America into this great nation that we are.”
Responding to the Supreme Court’s recent decision on marriage equality, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) got a bit dramatic in describing what he hopes will be a renewed Christian assault on American government. Hyperbole aside, Cruz seems to be calling for a wave of regressive Christian activism that would deprive the LGBT community of their rights—a proposition that is almost as frightening as the Senator’s oratorical style.
2. “Christians are the only people that it is politically correct to persecute. We’ve got to see that turned around or we’re not going to continue to see the blessings that America has experienced in the past.”
In close second for bringing the crazy is this recent statement made by Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX), a hyper-conservative evangelical known for his bombastic rhetoric. Gohmert is a strong proponent of the idea of Christian victimhood, or in other words, the idea that an overwhelmingly Christian nation such as the United States is also somehow biased against the majority of its citizens.
1. “I ask the chair, you know what this is? It’s a snowball, just from outside here. So it’s very, very cold out. Very unseasonal. Mr. President, catch this.”
Topping the charts is a statement made by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the lead Senator on environmental issues. He made this laughable remark while holding an actual snowball, citing the unseasonably cold weather in our nation’s capital in early 2015 as proof that global warming simply doesn’t exist.