Do you sometimes long for the good old days when you could just go to your morning meeting without having one of your co-workers tell you that you’re bound for endless torment in the fiery pits hell unless you do what he wants you to do?
Well, so do some House Republicans who were subjected to just such a tongue lashing from Rep. Rick Allen, a first-term GOP congressperson from Georgia who decided that he’d use the opening prayer before the weekly GOP caucus meeting to render judgment on any member of his party who planned to vote for a spending bill that included a provision that, according to Politico, “would bar federal contractors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”
Allen was so apoplectic over the provision attached to a $37 billion dollar water and energy infrastructure bill that he didn’t seem concerned about thoroughly pissing off his colleagues, some of whom support the amendment.
“A good number of members were furious,” one Republican told Politico. “There was some Scripture that was read and the like. … Nothing good was going to happen to those that supported [the LGBT provision]. A good number of members were furious.”
According to Huffington Post:
“Many members were visibly disturbed by the comments,” a GOP source in the room, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Huffington Post. “At least one walked out.”
Note that the proposed amendment did not compel, encourage or otherwise force anyone to live a lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or homosexual lifestyle, it merely prohibited federal employers from treating LGBT people like subhuman garbage. But, as Nancy Pelosi pointed out in a statement, “House Republicans’ thirst to discriminate against the LGBT community is so strong that they are willing to vote down their own appropriations bill in order to prevent progress over bigotry.”
It should, perhaps, give pause to those who consider themselves spending hawks to know that their elected representatives are wasting taxpayer time and money to run a makeshift hellfire-and-brimstone tent revival in the halls of Congress. No one questions whether Representative Allen was free to vote his conscience, whatever primordial era it might hail from, but it is clear that he crossed a line when he chose to act as judge and jury over his peers’ mortal souls.
The Hill reports that one GOP lawmaker said “It was f—ing ridiculous.”