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Bewitched: Tea Party’s Christine O’Donnell “electrifies social conservatives” at “values” summit, but turns out she once “dabbled into witchcraft”

By Joe Romm  

"Bewitched: Tea Party’s Christine O’Donnell “electrifies social conservatives” at “values” summit, but turns out she once “dabbled into witchcraft”"

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She disputed evolution because it contradicts the Bible, but told Bill Maher, “One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar”

You just can’t make this stuff up.  Christine O’Donnell — the anti-science, pro-Bible, Tea Party darling who won the Delaware Republican Senate primary — was “the ing©nue sensation and the It Girl of the Values Voter Summit, the Family Research Council’s annual gathering of roughly 2,000 social conservatives from across the country.”

Back in 1996, O’Donnell was actually spokeswoman for a conservative Christian policy organization Concerned Women of America, which is “built on prayer and action” — where she argued God’s creation of the world in “six 24-hour periods” is fact.  But in a must-see 1999 video, she makes clear to Bill Maher she wasn’t always so Bible and family-friendly.  Think Progress has the unbelievable story in this cross-post:

Before she stole the hearts of tea party activists, Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell was best known for her regular and bizarre punditry on 22 different episodes of Politically Incorrect. The host of that show, Bill Maher, now has an HBO show called Real Time.

Last night, Real Time aired its first show of the current season. Maher began by mocking O’Donnell, calling her “an uemployed, anti-masturbation activist and a close friend of mine.” “I created her,” Maher told the audience, turning to the camera and stating, “You owe me Christine O’Donnell.” Maher said that he has great fondness for O’Donnell, adding, “She does not have a mean bone in her body, or any other bone in her body.”

Later in the show, Maher played a previously-unaired Oct. 29, 1999 clip of O’Donnell on Politically Incorrect, in which O’Donnell said she once “practiced witchcraft”:

O’DONNELL: I dabbled into witchcraft “” I never joined a coven. But I did, I did. “¦ I dabbled into witchcraft. I hung around people who were doing these things. I’m not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do. [...]

One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn’t know it. I mean, there’s little blood there and stuff like that. “¦ We went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic on a satanic altar.

Watch it:

Maher joked that he’s going to show a fresh clip of O’Donnell every week on his show until O’Donnell agrees to appear again on his show. “I’m just saying, Christine, it’s like a hostage crisis,” he said, “every week you don’t show up, I’m going to throw another body out.”

Learn more about the woman who wants to become a United States Senator in our ThinkProgress report: The Old Adventures Of New Christine.

JR:  Another TP cross-post will highlight just how absurd this admission is.

The Tea Party’s victorious upstart Christine O’Donnell has paraded some “biblical” viewpoints in her pursuit of public office, equating a lack of school prayer with weekly school shootings and masturbation with adultery. Her extreme stances, along with her bizarre and unfounded attacks against the GOP’s mainstream candidate Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), have alienated traditional GOP operatives and conservative activists and pundits alike.

Today, New York Magazine dug up another of O’Donnell’s right-wing positions. Back on March 30, 1996 in her role as spokeswoman for the conservative Christian policy organization Concerned Women of America, O’Donnell “squared off” on CNN against a University professor to advocate for teaching creationism in the classroom. In trying to debunk “every legitimate scientist in the world,” O’Donnell insisted “hard evidence” proves evolution is “merely a theory” and God’s creation of the world in “six 24-hour periods” is fact:

O’DONNELL: Well, as the senator from Tennessee mentioned, evolution is a theory and it’s exactly that. There is not enough evidence, consistent evidence to make it as fact, and I say that because for theory to become a fact, it needs to consistently have the same results after it goes through a series of tests. The tests that they put “” that they use to support evolution do not have consistent results. Now too many people are blindly accepting evolution as fact. But when you get down to the hard evidence, it’s merely a theory. [...]

Now, he said that it’s based on fact. I just want to point out a couple things. First of all, they use carbon dating, as an example, to prove that something was millions of years old. Well, we have the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens and the carbon dating test that they used then would have to then prove that these were hundreds of millions of years younger, when what happened was they had the exact same results on the fossils and canyons that they did the tests on that were supposedly 100 millions of years old. And it’s the kind of inconsistent tests like this that they’re basing their ‘facts’ on. [...]

Well, creationism, in essence, is believing that the world began as the Bible in Genesis says, that God created the Earth in six days, six 24-hour periods. And there is just as much, if not more, evidence supporting that.

As New York Magazine points out, her “scientific takedown” of carbon dating is solely based on tests run by one “young earth creationist” at the Institute for Creation Research. The “biblically-inspired” young earth creationists are “at the hard core end of the creationist spectrum” who believe that “humans coexisted with dinosaurs.”

Her wholesale belief in “hard core” creationism even pushes her to the right of her personal champion, Sarah Palin. While Palin shares O’Donnell’s “creationist leanings,” she believes there is “evidence of microevolution” in which “God created us” but also “create[d] an evolutionary process that allows species to change and adapt.” While McCain staffers “winced” at this position in 2008, Palin “” like O’Donnell “” strongly felt she was “standing on solid factual ground” and agrees that it should be taught in schools.

JR:  I’ve heard of anti-science creationists before who take the Bible as fact, but never one who  practiced witchcraft or “had a midnight picnic on a satanic altar.”  Looks like the Tea Party  movement is a big tent after all!  You  can pretty much believe anything and still be a star.

Note:  Steven Andrew debunks the carbon-dating nonsense here: “Christine O’Donnell is deeply confused on geology and science.”

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27 Responses to Bewitched: Tea Party’s Christine O’Donnell “electrifies social conservatives” at “values” summit, but turns out she once “dabbled into witchcraft”

  1. John Mason says:

    Joe,

    As a geologist, I wish you had included a “put coffee down” warning before this bit that you included:

    “First of all, they use carbon dating, as an example, to prove that something was millions of years old. Well, we have the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens and the carbon dating test that they used then would have to then prove that these were hundreds of millions of years younger, when what happened was they had the exact same results on the fossils and canyons that they did the tests on that were supposedly 100 millions of years old.”

    Now, where’s that vise to put my head in? It cannot be far away….

    Cheers – John

    [JR: Sorry. I just posted a link to a good debunking, which concludes, "Odds are O'Donnell has no idea she was repeating a well debunked myth and that she's completely unaware she garbled the falsified point she was trying to make. But neither one is impressive for someone seeking Senate office in a super power that depends on the applications of science for both national security and economic survival."]

  2. Peter M says:

    If only Elizabeth Montgomery was still around :-)

  3. caerbannog says:

    One good witch video deserves another…

    And this one features a bunch of tea-party types!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrzMhU_4m-g

  4. Tim says:

    You can pretty much believe anything and still be a star.

    Of course. I’d bet that there isn’t a single person who cast their vote for her in the GOP primary who would change their mind on the basis of anything in your post. Furthermore, the very fact that you’re making fun of her would probably garner her a few more sympathy or ‘enemy of my enemy’ votes – that’s the mindset you face with the fundamentalist core of the GOP.

  5. Tim says:

    As you know, the fundamentalist core of the GOP not only doesn’t understand science, they despise science. To even sit down and debate a professor who has made a career of studying the evidence that establishes the facts of evolution is as ludicrous/comic as it would be for Groucho Marx to “debate’ an electrical engineer and insist that an electric blender draws its power from angels trapped within it – not from the wall socket.

  6. Edward says:

    If O’Donnell was a witch aren’t we supposed to burn her at the stake? The problem with this country is adulterers aren’t forced to wear scarlet letters.

    Max Blumenthal did a report one time about Palin’s church. This church apparently had a guest preacher from Africa who expelled a witch from his village.

    All of this reminds me of the Christian fundamentalism I observed when I lived in Arkansas. There seemed to be some strange relationship between the extreme religious views and satanic cultists.

  7. mike roddy says:

    This is a pretty good indicator of national disintegration and collapse, manifested in psychosis masquerading as superstition.

    There are lots of historical examples- late period Rome, the royal courts of 14th century Europe, the late Mayan period, and 1930′s Germany. In each period, there was economic contraction and hardship, and leaders, especially, became very strange. Astrologers were granted special status, and heretics were tortured in macabre ways. All kinds of bizarre beliefs became acceptable, and “facts” were not much part of the discussion. O’Donnell, McDonnell, and Palin are grinning charmers, but under these masks lurk dark hearts.

    Our own Depression was worse economically, but there was a social contract, and family and community bonds were better able to resist the goofier charlatans. Nowadays, the very weirdest among us command fanatical followings, and their gibberish is greeted with a straight face.

    We need more Bill Mahers on national TV, instead of sober faced, corporate funded anchors who speak of people like Palin and Koch with a straight face.

  8. You can pretty much believe anything and still be a star.

    Well, there’s no doubt now that the only principle that binds the Tea Party movement now is LIBRVLES DELENDI SVNT — Liberals Must Be Destroyed.

    Other than this, they recognize no principles, no morals, no rules, no restrictions.

    This point cannot be overemphasized. Which means, we should emphasize it even more.

    What will right-wing extremists do with this revelation? Will they say ‘well, she was a Wiccan once, but she later discovered God’?

    I don’t think so. My suspicion is that the right-wing extremist screamers will simply try to portray her witchcraft past as ‘proof’ that she’s not actually that Christian fundamentalist, or to claim that people are launching personal attacks and that her beliefs are her own private matter (except of course when they’re right-wing talking points in which case they’re suddenly of great national importance). I suspect they’ll try to use words to spin the whole thing around into something like ‘blah blah blah, therefore It’s Actually The Left’s Fault!’.

    Remember their sole principle: LIBRVLES DELENDI SVNT.

    frank

  9. “This is a pretty good indicator of national disintegration and collapse, manifested in psychosis masquerading as superstition.”

    Yes, I believe recent political events are another example of our decay. Your column, J.R., has been witness to a deepening anti-science rise in our national affair. You have fought against the anti-science crowd vigorously, but I am afraid that our nation’s poor educational system, an over-influential right-wing media, and the accelerating flow of money from far right industrialist such as the Koch brothers have tipped the scales dramatically.

  10. Leif says:

    It is my understanding that carbon dating is only good for ~40,000 years.

  11. Edward says:

    One thing I don’t understand about all this is when O’Donnell says she dated a witch does she mean a woman? I thought fundamentalists were against Lesbians.

  12. caerbannog says:

    Remember their sole principle: LIBRVLES DELENDI SVNT.

    My response (inspired by Life of Brian): REPVBLICANI ITE DOMVM.

    Might make a cool bumper-sticker — the folks who’d be inclined to vandalize your car for something like this are nearly all too stupid to figure it out.

  13. Jim Groom says:

    Jesus, save us from your followers. Just what the Senate needs is another nut to round out the group. ‘Science who needs it’ is the battle cry of the poor misinformed masses who follow such as Christine and Sarah. We are indeed in great trouble, and the future is not looking well for the adults in society.

  14. george ennis says:

    This is truly frightening.

    To think that the GOP can embrace people who have decided to back people who have created an alternate reality which fits not the known facts but what they wish the facts were. It seems as popular culture continues to feed into politics and vice versa we can expect any chance of an adult or serious discussion of major policy issues to become ever more remote. Unfortunately the laws of nature and particularly climate science do not bend to fit these altered states of consciousness.

  15. Richard Brenne says:

    From Wingnutipedia:

    After having more than enough promiscuity herself, Christine O’Donnell joined the anti-sex group “Enough is Enough,” a group designed to decide what is enough for everyone else.

    O’Donnell was sued by Farleigh Dickenson University when she tried graduating without paying tuition, just as she stiffed her campaign workers to use campaign contributions to pay her rent and other expenses.

    O’Donnell has never spent a day as a public servant including as dog catcher (though she did visit dogs coupled in relations, telling them enough was enough) but feels she’s attractive enough to deserve to be a U.S. Senator, since she’s run for only that office multiple times.

    O’Donnell said she “dabbled into witchcraft” when maybe she actually “dabbled in witchcraft.”

    O’Donnell founded SALT, or “Savior’s Alliance for Lifting the Truth,” and anointed herself President, or Head Savior.

    O’Donnell does not, however, claim to be Napoleon. This is her platform in her run for U.S. Senator.

    O’Donnell is kind of a less-bespectacled, less mean-spirited, less wolf shooting from helicopters, less egomaniacal, less oil-check out handing, less one-term quitting version of Sarah Palin, who also thinks her level of attractiveness (on par for me with about the Church Lady) should have her anointed president.

  16. Of course the real question is, does she weigh as much as a duck?
    If so, our course of action is clear…

  17. Rob Honeycutt says:

    In reference to carbon dating… Here is the VERY BEST debunking of the creationist claim that carbon dating doesn’t work by Potholer54, aka journalist Peter Hadfield.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbvMB57evy4

    This video is NOT to be missed!

  18. mike roddy says:

    typo correction in my post #8:

    I meant Mitch McConnell, of course, not McDonnell.

    Senator McConnell is one of those Southern charmers with the phony warmth who has wormed his way into all kinds of dark places, including the executive offices of oil and coal companies. He thinks he’s in the Sam Ervin Southern statesman tradition, but he’s really Trent Lott- just another syrupy hillbilly, looking out for his new rich friends.

  19. paulina says:

    I found this other article by DarkSyde interesting. It’s about O’Donnell’s views about “mice with fully functioning human brains”:

    http://www.examiner.com/science-policy-in-austin/christine-o-donnell-of-mice-and-men

    See also:

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/37203_ODonnell-_Evil_Scientists_Are_Creating_Mouse-Human_Hybrids

    O’DONNELL: … these groups admitted that the report that said, “Hey, yay, we cloned a monkey. Now we’re using this to start cloning humans.” We have to keep…

    O’REILLY: Let them admit anything they want. But they won’t do that here in the United States unless all craziness is going on.

    O’DONNELL: They are — they are doing that here in the United States. American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains. So they’re already into this experiment.

    O’REILLY: Alright. Doctor…

    MORRONE: That’s an exaggeration.

    O’REILLY: …do you understand — do you understand her concern that there are people who are unethical who will do this kind of stuff for whatever reason? Do you understand her concern?

    Here’s DarkSyde:

    For what it’s worth, a fully functioning human brain (And most non functional ones for that matter), assuming we limit ourselves only to the cerebrum where the higher functions associated with mammals and problem solving are located, is a cool 1000 cc’s in volume. That’s roughly as big as a medium-sized grapefruit. Other than the character pictured above courtesy of the Wiki and the Pinky and the Brain cartoon series, I don’t know of any mice, rat, or gerbil who could cram that structure into their normally 1 cubic centimeter volume skull, but maybe O’Donnell knows something I don’t.

    Outside of that not sure what else to add.

  20. caerbannog:

    My response (inspired by Life of Brian): REPVBLICANI ITE DOMVM.

    Might make a cool bumper-sticker — the folks who’d be inclined to vandalize your car for something like this are nearly all too stupid to figure it out.

    Indeed, I think the only Latin phrase most of them know is AD HOMINEM. And perhaps the phrases used by His Moncktonship (or maybe not).

    frank

  21. Anne says:

    Being a witch myself (the “good” kind of the North, that is), I feel credentialed to comment here. I mean, don’t we ALL visit the Satanic alter now and then? (Especially at midnight!)

  22. William P says:

    Think about it. Its not beyond belief we could have a President who is a Witch.

    Sound too crazy for you?

    Then you need to get more familiar with current political news.

    Regards,
    William P

  23. William P says:

    Could it be….could we seeing the beginnings of a New Dark Ages?

    It happened before – after Greece and the Romans. One can imagine such a new Dark Ages ruled by Big Brother who demands only Tea Party style of “logic” and “science”. A logic which by law is devoid of logic and a science forbidden the use of the scientific method.

    Criminal penalties are imposed for any actual scientific thought or writings. Night time ceremonial book burnings are a regular activity, attended by thousands of chanting, black robed Tea Party members.

    McCarthy-like Congressional committees root out persons secretly reading or teaching true science to a shrinking band of die hard rebels meeting in dank, burned out hovels with the hope of preserving important scientific discoveries.

    Christine O’Donnell’s rule the nation. In the final chapter they begin burning Progressives at the stake.

  24. William P:

    I think it’s OK to have a President who’s a witch. What’s not OK is a President who’s a pseudoscientific idiot. Or a President who mismanages funds, for that matter.

    frank

  25. peter whitehead says:

    Yet again I refer to Robert Heinlein’s story ‘If This Goes On . .’ (Wiki it)

    For a while there’s been a concern that a nuclear-armed country could fall into the hands of religious fundamentalists. Until recently it was Pakistan – but the USA has lots more lovely fireworks, and just as many Mad Hatters