Candidate: Autism, Dementia, Disasters Are Punishment for Gay Marriage

By Chris Hoenig

Disease and disaster are God’s punishment for same-gender marriage and abortion, according to a Congressional candidate in Illinois.

Susanne Atanus is running in the Republican primary for the state’s 9th Congressional District, which includes Chicago and neighboring communities and which has been represented by Democrat Jan Schakowsky since 1999. “I am a conservative Republican and I believe in God first,” Atanus told the Daily Herald editorial board in an interview session with fellow Republican David Earl Williams III to see who will get the paper’s endorsement.

Atanus went on to say that she believes God has put natural disasters like tornadoes and diseases like autism and dementia on Earth as punishment for same-gender marriage and abortion. “God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions,” she said. “Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it’s in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God.”

Williams, a veteran, said he was offended by Atanus’ comments. “I’ve served with people who were gay during Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and you aren’t worrying about if someone is gay or not, you’re worrying about if you’re going to live the next day,” he said.

During the videotaped portion of the interview, Williams appeared amused several times with Atanus’ comments, including her calls to end stock indexes like the Dow Jones, NASDAQ and the S&P. “I’m upset with us having no economy for the 99 percent,” Atanus said, before attacking Schakowsky for supporting the stock indexes. “The middle class has been robbed.”

At the same time the U.S. should be abolishing stock indexes, the government should be investing in publicly traded companies, Atanus told the local ABC station in a candidate questionnaire. “This needs to be done as soon as possible with excellent and consistent daily returns on investments with no ‘market’ influence, and all owners/shareholders of companies getting paid right on a daily basis with all owners getting the same rate of profit,” she wrote. “With more income, we and the U. S. will spend more on goods and services and this will create more jobs. This is the greatest economic stimulus! More Income, More Jobs, and lower tax rates.”

In her failed 2012 Congressional run, Atanus also reportedly said that “there was never a stock-market crash” in 1929.

Atanus, a 55-year-old who holds an MBA and a master’s degree in public administration, has run unsuccessfully for the seat twice. She lost in a primary in 2010 and didn’t collect enough valid signatures in 2012.

Her comments have cost her the support of Republican leaders. State GOP Chairman Jack Dorgan called for Atanus to end her campaign. “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,” he wrote in a statement. “Her candidacy is neither supported nor endorsed by the leaders of our party, and she should withdraw from the race immediately.”

The Chicago Republican Party also worked to distance itself from her, with Chairman Adam Robinson saying in a 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.”

Full video of the interview is available on the Daily Herald‘s website.

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