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During a speech this week at a stop on the “God, Country, Family” tour — so you know this story’s not going to end well — Montana State Sen. Theresa Manzella told the crowd that gay people deserved to get beaten up if they were out about their sexual orientation.

She was speaking in reference to (tour host) Clinton Community Church’s Pastor Brandon Huber, who made headlines over the summer for refusing to work with the Missoula Food Bank after it included “pride” inserts in sack lunches. Huber, who has a day job with a real estate company, was subject to an ethics complaint filed with the Missoula Organization of Realtors. He now has to attend an ethics hearing next month if he wants to keep his real estate license and not pay a $5,000 fine.

Anyway, Manzella wants the world to know she’s on Huber’s side. And she chose to toss some homophobia of her own into the mix.

“We’re not here to whine or complain about this silly ethics complaint and the thoughts about persecution because that is nothing as compared to what Christ went through for us … We’re here to celebrate,” she continued. “We’re here to celebrate Brandon Huber and his stand for God and godliness.”

Manzella went on to say that members of the LGBTQ community like to “play the protected class card,” because queer couples in general have expressed that they’re scared to walk down the street holding hands in fear of possible violence against them for their sexuality.

“I’ve got to tell you, I think those are normal consequences associated with the choices they made,” Manzella said.

So… Manzella said they chose to be gay and that fearing for their safety is just a “normal” consequence of that. It’s not just wrong on every level; it’s cruel, ignorant, and what we’ve come to expect from conservative Christians these days.

Now the state’s Democratic Party is calling for sanctions against Manzella, asking that she be removed from an interim committee assignment:

“Sen. Manzella’s remarks are nothing short of offensive, dangerous and unacceptable,” House Minority Leader Kim Abbott, D-Helena, and Senate Minority Leader Jill Cohenour, D-East Helena, wrote in a letter sent to Senate President Mark Blasdel, R-Kalispell.

They continued, “LGBTQ Montanans have always been valued members of our communities, and they deserve the basic dignity and respect owed to everyone in our state — the most basic of which is to be able to live their lives without fear of violence.”

For her part, Manzella went from claiming her quotation was taken a “bit out of context” to posting her entire speech online and revealing that what she said was entirely in context. Because she’s very very stupid.

She also added that “the LGBTQ movement is recruiting our kids”… because she’s a Christian and doesn’t think lying or demonizing people she hates is a problem for Jesus.

This is what Christianity looks like when it enters the world of Republican politics. It’s just a weapon for the worst human beings in the country to push their bigotry on the most vulnerable citizens.

By last night, Manzella was claiming any criticism of her Christian hate — and any calls for her to lose her committee assignment — was really an attack on “religious freedom.”

By that logic, she can say any cruel, idiotic, falsehoods she wants, then hide behind her religion. It’s not like she gives a shit about Jesus. Christianity is only useful as cover for her cruelty.

(Screenshot via YouTube)

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.