A Republican congressional candidate in Chicago believes God controls the weather and that tornadoes, autism and dementia are his punishments for the gay rights movement and abortions.
Susanne Atanus, one of two Republicans taking aim at U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky's seat representing Illinois' 9th congressional district covering Chicago's Far North Side and the North Shore suburbs, spoke out about the incumbent's liberal reputation during an interview with the Daily Herald this week.
"I am not in favor of abortions, I am not in favor of gay rights," Atanus, who has staged two previous unsuccessful runs for Congress, said during a videotaped portion of the interview, before going into more detail with the paper.
"God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions," she added, blaming natural disasters like tornadoes and diseases including autism and dementia on recent advances in the LGBT movement. "Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it's in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God."
David Earl Williams III, Atanus' primary opponent, can be seen smirking through much of Atanus' statements in the Herald video and said he was offended by her comments, though he also does not support marriage equality for same-sex couples.
UPDATE: 12 p.m. -- Republican leaders came out strong against Atanus Thursday morning. Illinois Republican Chairman Jack Dorgan called on the candidate to end her congressional campaign, saying in a statement: "The offensive statements by Susanne Atanus have no place in the modern political debate, and she has no place on the ballot as a Republican. Her candidacy is neither supported nor endorsed by the leaders of our party, and she should withdraw from the race immediately.”
Adam Robinson, chairman of the Chicago Republican Party, emphasized in another statement that Atanus "is not in any way affiliated with any of our efforts in the Chicago GOP, nor have we ever supported, endorsed, or assisted her in any way at any time."
In a previous candidate questionnaire for ABC Chicago, Atanus also suggested she does not believe in global warming and she claims the stock market crash of 1929 never actually happened.