Aide: Bachmann Was Joking That Irene, Earthquake Were God's Messages

Rep. Michele Bachmann arrives at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla. with Pastor Brian McDougall, next to her and her husband Marcus (r), Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. i

Rep. Michele Bachmann arrives at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla. with Pastor Brian McDougall, next to her and her husband Marcus (r), Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. Brendan Farrington/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Brendan Farrington/AP
Rep. Michele Bachmann arrives at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla. with Pastor Brian McDougall, next to her and her husband Marcus (r), Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011.

Rep. Michele Bachmann arrives at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla. with Pastor Brian McDougall, next to her and her husband Marcus (r), Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011.

Brendan Farrington/AP

As it turns out, Rep. Michele Bachmann was joking Sunday, according to an aide, when she said that God was sending a message to Washington through Hurricane Irene and last week's East Coast earthquake.

Talking Points Memo reports the following:

"Obviously she was saying it in jest," campaign spokesperson Alice Stewart told TPM in a statement.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, during a Florida campaign stop Sunday Bachmann, a fundamentalist Christian said the following:

"I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We've had an earthquake; we've had a hurricane. He said, 'Are you going to start listening to me here?' Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we've got to rein in the spending."

Okay, maybe it was a joke though Bachmann is known to take her religion very seriously, as has been outlined in a number of stories, including the New Yorker profile by Ryan Lizza. So maybe some listeners can be forgiven for believing she was actually stating an actual belief. How were listeners to know otherwise?

If she was making a joke, then arguably she may have run afoul of the third commandment: "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain."

But even if she's all right on that front, there's another point, which was made by Alexander Burns at Politico:

That does, though, raise the question of whether it's appropriate for a presidential candidate and member of Congress to be joking about a major weather event that has already resulted in fatalities and extensive property damage, and isn't over yet. I've asked Stewart for comment to that effect and will update as necessary.

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