RELIGION
04/29/2016 05:50 pm ET

John Boehner Calls Ted Cruz 'Lucifer,' Word Searches Dramatically Spike

Apparently some people had to look up the devil's lesser-known name.
John Boehner called Sen. Ted Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh," and some people weren't quite sure what that m
The Washington Post via Getty Images
John Boehner called Sen. Ted Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh," and some people weren't quite sure what that meant.

Former House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday called Sen. Ted Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh" -- which would have been a scathing insult except for the fact that quite a few people had to look up the devil's lesser-known name.

Searches for "Lucifer" spiked a whopping 7,700 percent since Thursday, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary's "Trends Watch." The dictionary noted that the term commonly refers to Satan, as in John Milton's Paradise Lost, but also connotes "light-bearing" by its Latin roots. 

"Although it is possible that Boehner was making a muted classical reference, and intended to characterize Cruz as a bearer of light, this seems unlikely," Merriam-Webster noted on its website.

The former House speaker made the comments during an interview at Stanford University after he was asked about his thoughts on Cruz. Boehner compared the senator to Lucifer, the fallen saint, and said, “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a b**ch in my life.”

HuffPost reporter Sam Stein interviewed Lucien Greaves, a spokesperson for the Satanic Temple, on Thursday to establish the accuracy of Boehner's claim. 

“It is past time we stop blaming the activities of the upholders of the Christian faith on a Satanic philosophy,” Greaves told Stein. “Boehner is trying to convey that if it is bad and he disagrees with it, it is of Satan and Lucifer, and if it is of good, it is of Christ. That is what is problematic with the Christian ideology.”

Perhaps next time Boehner should choose a less literary, more religiously-neutral way to insult Cruz.

HuffPost

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