Zach Dasher, the cousin of the Duck Dynasty family who is challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Vance McAllister in Louisiana's 5th Congressional district, once blamed atheism for the Sandy Hook school shooting.
Before running for Congress, Dasher was the proprietor of the website Willingtothink.org, which bills itself as a website and podcast "a website and podcast dedicated to encouraging folks to be willing to think about the deeper questions in life."
"These children that were killed in Connecticut were made for purpose and to be honest with you even the killer himself was made for a purpose," Dasher said on one podcast titled "Why did this happen," which discussed the Sandy Hook shootings.
Dasher says the Adam Lanza, the shooter, was "made in the image of God" but started to believe "what the atheist says."
"He was made in the image of God," he said. "But somewhere along the way he believed what the atheist says. He reduced humanity to nothing more than a collection of atoms, to be discarded like an old banana peel. I guarantee you, now this is my hypothesis, that even saw himself as nothing more than chemicals."
Later in the podcast, Dasher reiterates that the shooting was the result of not just atheism but also "post-modernism."
"Porn and video games are the most obvious symptoms of what is wrong with our culture but they of themselves are not the core problem," Dasher said. "Those are the symptoms. So some people want to blame this on porn and video games. Look, does it contribute? Yes. Is it the core of the cause? No. These are also symptoms."
"You wonder why porn is so rampant in our culture. You wonder why video game addiction is so rampant in our culture. It's a result of post-modernism. It's a consequence of post-modernity combined with atheism. That all there is, is matter and material. And that all that matters is matter and material."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.