If you're not familiar with Representative Louie Gohmert, we kind of envy you. Scant hours after last weekend's horrific mass murder in Aurora, Colorado, Gohmert called in to a Heritage Foundation morning radio show called "Istook Live" and, when asked his opinion on the shootings, gave an off-the-cuff, honest reply.
This reply is exactly why politicians never really give unrehearsed answers anymore.
He stammered on for a bit about the Founding Fathers and "ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs" before eventually wandering around to his point: "Where was God? What have we done with God? We don't want him around. I kind of like his protective hand being present." The link there has the unedited audio for your own listening amusement, although be warned: It's difficult to get through the entire five and a half minutes.
Taking a page from the Robertson-Falwell playbook, Gohmert was saying -- or, if we're being extremely charitable, heavily implying -- that things like this only happen because the rest of us don't pray hard enough for them not to. As mortifying as it is to see any grown man, much less a politician representing Texas, completely fail to understand the principles behind the separation of church and state, that's exactly what he's talking about. Because children are no longer forced to pray and learn about Christian teachings in secular schools, Gohmert believes that God has become angered and denied us the protection we would normally receive against insane losers with automatic rifles.
Does that make God an ancient pagan deity who greedily drinks our lamentations when the crops fail? Or Does it make Him a protection racketeer? Does God have a plan, or does he abandon it from time to time when He gets moody? Does He get frustrated and walk out of the office when He doesn't hear enough praise? Is that what's happening? Is God playing hardball for a praise raise?
It's bad enough that Gohmert clearly lacks an even basic understanding of the importance of the First Amendment to the Constitution, but to use the shootings as his own little pulpit before we even learned the killer's motive, before the casualties had even been fully counted, is disgraceful. And this is the caliber of person we elect to represent Texas to the rest of the country?
Small wonder they think the things about us that they do, then. Small damn wonder.
The shootings had nothing to do with Gohmert's fundamentalist theocratic agenda. And yet there he was, shoehorning it into discussion before much of the world had even awoken to learn the news.
Gohmert has issued an apology, claiming that his remarks were taken "grossly out of context." Again, the audio of the original call-in is in the first link above the cut. We invite you to go ahead and listen to the context for yourself, and try to figure out what else he could have possibly meant by what he said.
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In his apology, he mentions hero Mark Wilson, killed in another shooting, and finishes up with "I am very sorry if my comments caused heartache to anyone in Colorado." Yes, it's yet another "I'm sorry if anyone was offended" apology we've heard so much of lately, usually from comedians targeted by the easily offended demanding apologies for off-color jokes. Gohmer, however, is not an entertainer. He's not trying to make anybody laugh.
Is this sort of "I'm-sorry-but-not-really" apology something we can accept from him for his thoughtless, presumptuous remarks? And for his eagerness to make the horror serve his own personal, unrelated agenda?
People have been blasting the pro-/anti-gun control debate that has been ongoing since the shooting, but it's a relevant debate. We should all be able to agree that guns were, in fact, involved.