The Diddly Awards

The Jimmy Swaggart Award for God Abuse

Illustration: Peter Hoey

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Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) appeared at a prayer breakfast just after the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 240,000 people. DeLay read a passage from Matthew about a nonbeliever: “…a fool who built his house on sand: The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew, and buffeted the house, and it collapsed and was completely ruined.” Then, without comment, he righteously sat down.

Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) sponsored the Constitution Restoration Act of 2005, which mandates the “acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government”—i.e, the Bible could trump even the Supreme Court, which according to some observers, could allow judges to impose biblical sentences such as the stoning of homosexuals instead of common-law sentences.

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), who attended the infamous coronation, in the Senate building, of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon involving a weird ceremony of robes and pillows and pompous language declaring Moon the world’s messiah. Other pols scrambled to say they had been tricked into attending, but not Bartlett. “What was so strange?” he groused. “If I was there and asked to do something that was benign, handing a robe to an old person and honoring him for his contribution to world peace and fundamental morality, now why wouldn’t I do that if I was asked to?”

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) reminded the president that back in 1978, as a congressional candidate, he had warned that Social Security would soon collapse if it wasn’t privatized. “I lost” that race, Bush observed, whereupon Rangel deadpanned: “The Lord works in mysterious ways.”

Rep. Richard Baker (R-La.) was overheard by the Wall Street Journal explaining to lobbyists right after Hurricane Katrina had destroyed New Orleans that “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.”

WINNER! Richard Baker, who will receive a granite tablet carved with the words of Mark 12: 40, where Jesus Christ warned that those who “devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.”

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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