NEW YORK -- Britain brims with off-kilter politicians and unhinged candidates - all ready to offer their latest musings on Hitler, gay sex or the need for Lenny Henry to “emigrate to a black country”. Yet the UK isn’t alone in its penchant for the deranged.
Across the water, our American brethren suffer under their own strain of right wing nativism and bigotry, often backed by scripture and expounded under the stripes of Old Glory.
Here are 10 of the most baffling moments from America’s far-right in 2014:
- In October, man's oldest and most profound existential question was finally answered at a prayer event in Washington DC when mid-level Republican Louie Gohmert used "logic" to prove the existence of God.
- Did you know that "Jesus would stone homos”? That was the assertion made by Harlem pastor James David Manning, who decided to hang the following sign outside his church in March. "I'm not a hater,” said Manning, “I'm a preacher of the Word of God."
- Let’s work towards an “Aids-free world by Christmas”, preached Baptist pastor Steve Anderson in December. Unfortunately, the Arizona Christian wanted to bring about his Godly utopia through the mass killing of all homosexuals and transgender people.
- Bewigged birther Donald Trump worked himself into a tantrum in October, blaming the outbreak of Ebola in the US (at the time four out of 316 million people) on President Obama. He took to Twitter to clear his throat...
- This was followed by a further splutter:
- Speaking of Ebola, televangelist John Hagee told his viewers in October that the Ebola virus was "God’s way of showing his anger with President Obama’s foreign policies". His son, Matthew Hagee, joined the chorus by suggesting the Ebola virus was a sign of the End Times.
- Grab your muskets, America - the black-cowled hordes of the Islamic State have invaded via the Mexican border. At least that was the assertion put forward by one Fox News pundit, who appeared on the supposedly lighthearted breakfast magazine Fox & Friends in August.
- "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Then have a rabble of 300 protesters waving American flags block their path. Welcome to 21st century America... at least for the residents of Murrieta, California, who decided the best way to greet South American immigrants fleeing persecution was to hold large signs that read: "Go home – we don’t want you here."
- This year’s NFL draft marked the first time an openly gay athlete had taken part in the ceremony. A moment of pride for America? Not for lobbyist Jack Burkman, who threatened to organise a "coalition of Evangelical Christian leaders" to boycott any team that drafted defensive end Michael Sam.
- Louisiana state Representative Lenar Whitney fluffed her lines while campaigning for the midterm elections, calling global warming "the greatest deception in the history of mankind". The businesswoman went on to suggest the science of climate change was the work of a shadowy cabal bent on empowering the US executive branch and increasing taxes. She lost the election...
- And then there was this...