A Republican candidate for U.S. House of Representatives in Illinois, Susanne Atanus, says autism and dementia are punishments from God, who is angry over abortion and same-sex marriage.
Challenging Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Atanus believes God is angry with America.
"I am a conservative Republican and I believe in God first," Atanus, 55, told the Daily Herald.
She said God controls the weather and has sent tornadoes and diseases, like autism and dementia, as punishment for legalized abortion and gay rights.
"Abortions should not be used for birth control," Atanus argued.
"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."
David Earl Williams, III, who is also competing with Atanus for the Republican nomination, said AIDS is spread by unsafe sex between any couple, not just gay couples.
"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," Williams said during an endorsement session with Atanus Monday.
He said he doesn’t support same-sex marriage, but he thinks the government should stay out of it. Williams said he’s also prolife, but he believes women’s health is between a woman and her doctor.
In an interview with ABC, Atanus said she believed, “Compromise is necessary for legislation to pass, with mutual respect for our constituents and in Congress.”