The Congressional Stenographer and the Holy Spirit UPDATED

When I first heard that a congressional stenographer had grabbed a microphone and started ranting about Masonic conspiracies on the floor of the House, I assumed she’d had some sort of mental break. That’s always a safe guess when people deviate from the script in public, and it wasn’t helped by the lack of clear audio in the video clip that circulated on the internet.

She may well have had some kind of break, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case, and trusting the media to report factually and objectively is, quite obviously, foolish. It’s always best to wait for some primary sources before drawing conclusions.

This is, as near as I can tell, an accurate report on what Dianne Reidy said on the House floor:

He will not be mocked! This is not one Nation under God. It never was. The greatest deception here is this is not one Nation under God! It never was. Had it been, it would not have been! The Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons! You cannot serve two masters! You cannot serve two masters! Praise be to God, Lord Jesus Christ.

I know! Crazytalk! Get the men in the white coats!

Dianne Reidy and family

Honestly, is there anything in that paragraph that says, “nuts” to you? Anything at all? Because I got nothing here.

Like Reidy, I’m a bit … cautious about the idea that America’s founding enjoyed some kind of divine sanction.

Even if it did, what of it? The one nation in history that surely enjoyed the favor of God was Israel, and the Old Testament is one long story about the Israelites wandering off in search of strange gods while the One God yanks her leash to bring her back in line.

As for the Freemasons, Reidy isn’t the only one troubled by the involvement of a secretive organisation with occult trappings being present at the founding, and shaping the destiny of the nation to such a degree that their esoteric symbolism still marks our money and monuments. There’s a reason Catholics and Freemasons don’t mix.

And quoting Jesus (Matthew 6:24) via Lincoln? Wacko-time!

Even the strange “Had it been, it would not have been!” may not just be a verbal stumble. The phrasing recalls Job 10:19 “I should have been as though I had not been, carried from the womb to the grave.”

The only part that’s strange is the time and place in which she said it, and she has a striking explanation:

For the past 2 and ½ weeks, the Holy Spirit has been waking me up in the middle of the night and preparing me (through my reluctance and doubt) to deliver a message in the House Chamber. That is what I did.

The Daily Beast spoke to her husband, who is a minister:

…she would later tell him there was no question in her mind that it was indeed the Holy Spirit rousing her night after night, even before the shutdown and the looming default.

“Waking several times a night feeling that God’s just been pressing on her to open a Bible and get into his word,” Dan Reidy says. “Reading a Bible is not foreign to us, but getting up in the middle of the night definitely is. It’s just not a part of our life.”

The circumstances were so unusual as to make a command from on high seem all the more real to her.

“If that’s not’s God’s spirit…” Dan says.

He goes on, “What she was finding out was that God was impressing on her heart that He had a message He wanted her to share with the House of Representatives.”

She kept resisting the command only to be woken up by it yet again.

“The reason it took four weeks was because of her reluctance and her doubt,” the husband says. “She didn’t want to do it.”

She continued to resist even as the shutdown made Congress look all the more woefully in need of divine guidance.

“This whole mess has just kind of sickened her to the whole process,” her husband says. “The alliances between people who aren’t really allies. The finger-pointing on the dais, [then] the arms around each other… Where are the people being served in this whole deal?”

He recalls, “She was just like, ‘Gosh, this is not what it’s about.’”

Another day of serving as a stenographer in an unholy mess would end with another night of being awakened by what she took to be the Holy Spirit. She kept resisting out of a sense of congressional sanctity that the representatives themselves were besmirching.

“That’s what my wife was battling, with this late-night wrestling with God,” the husband says.

There’s more, and you should read it all.

He says she is at peace now, and a psychiatrist released her after a 45 minute evaluation. If she had been some kind of gibbering lunatic, she would have been kept on a psych hold, particularly given the high profile and location of the incident.

In fact, her husband reports that she’s immensely relieved and doing just fine, although her future employment may well be in doubt.

So you tell me: crazy or inspired? I don’t mock people who claim to have experienced the presence of the Spirit, even unto getting very specific messages. I know that the discernment of spirits is a difficult thing, and she would have done well to confide in her husband, a friend, or a spiritual counselor before resorting to an outburst in the most public place, and at the most difficult time. The whole episode lent the reopening of the government an even more farcical tone, if that’s at all possible.

Certainly, religious mania can lead to this kind of bizarre behavior without the Holy Spirit’s prompting. She may have been acting out of depression and stress. Or maybe she was touched by the Spirit, and the time and place of her message was providential. Here I am writing about it, as are hundreds of others, and millions more may read what she said and wonder. It doesn’t sound like much of a message, but neither did, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”

How many saints and prophets would be labelled lunatics today? I’m not saying Dianne Reidy is a saint or a prophet, but neither should we assume she’s a lunatic.

UPDATED: Rep. Rebecca Hamilton responds: Was the House Stenographer a Modern-Day Jeremiah?:

I’ve witnessed the way that politicians use God to justify themselves. I seen up close how elected officials who campaigned and were elected on their faith in Jesus turn around and kick Him to the curb with what they actually do. I have also witnessed the unbelievable hubris of politicians who have convinced themselves that God is made in their image and everything they do is right because it is god (little g) ordained.

These men and women truly are mocking God.

And it is sickening.

To see up close the way they treat the Lord Jesus grieves you. It can send you home a wreck.

I know.

I’ve been there.

I have never been forced to participate in anything as ugly as what has been going on in Congress these past years. I’ve seen it in the small-time House of Representatives of the itty bitty State of Oklahoma. And it was all I could bear.

So, do I believe that the Holy Spirit may have called Mrs Reidy to stand up in the House of Representatives and dramatically announce “He will not be mocked” ???

Yes. I do.

Mark Shea also says nice things. His check is in the mail.

One final observation: I wrote this because the tone of the coverage has been universally derisive and mocking. Even if she is mentally ill, that’s an appalling way to respond to a person who may be in serious distress.

Code Pink can erupt into protest on the floor of the house and no one bats an eye. Our elected officials can lie and grandstand and backslap and lie some more and the media acts like that’s just how things are done.

But someone calls the nation to account, in the every seat of power, for its wicked behavior, and suddenly we’re in Cloud Cuckoo Land. We need to be better than that. Whether she’s sick or whether she’s speaking an essential truth, the response lacked humanity. And even if she is ill, that does not make her message meaningless.

About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • Raymond

    The thing that I am hitching on is that “one nation, under God” part. When she says “we are not one nation under God” she is bascially correct, First Amendment-wise. We are not one nation under God, and I think most people are pretty good about that.
    In addition, the phrase “one nation under God” isnt part of any official Government document. It’s from the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge was written as a gimmick to sell flags at the turn of the 20th Century, and the phrase Under God was not added to it until the 1050s.

  • Newp Ort

    Waking several times a night and feeling compulsions to act wildly out of character could be a brain tumor or something like that. She perhaps should be evaluated (non invasively of course) by a neurosurgeon.

  • Lozzapug

    In trying to figure this incident out, it’s good to look at the end results. Although I have sympathy for this woman, I don’t even understand the point she’s trying to make, or where she’s going. She achieved nothing but an underscoring of the demented nature of politics. The derision she’s received is just a sideshow, a distraction, another assertion of the damage and/or pointlessness of the absolute certainty that one is right and representative of God’s will. I’m reminded of Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, the section entitled “The Maniac” http://www.ccel.org/ccel/chesterton/orthodoxy.v.html

  • jasonbmiller

    Yep, and I’m sure your medical degree qualifies you to make that hypothesis. Maybe the next time I see a homeless guy on the street and it makes me compelled to offer him my lunch, it could mean I have a brain tumor. Your remark is patronizingly distasteful.

  • OldWorldSwine

    I wouldn’t dare make a final judgment, but growing up I often saw situations where I thought people might very well be putting their own thoughts into the Holy Spirit’s mouth. Some certainly had no hesitation at all about claiming their opinions – on Harry Potter, or Pokemon, or Modest Clothing, or the End Times, etc… came straight from the tutelage of the HS.

    So, if something was bothering you and waking you up at night, well, that was the Holy Spirit waking you up. Or, if you were running late for an appointment and kept catching red lights, that was Demonic Oppression. If your neighbor’s kid had a headcold before the big game, you Agreed in Prayer and rebuked the wicked spirit, claiming victory over congestion in the name of JAY-zuss.

    And each of these people might easily be a better Christian disciple than I am, in many ways. So, it’s not for me to judge, as you point out. It’s just that my experience has made me… rather cautious and reserved. I would dread to ever presume that the Holy Spirit was speaking through me, let alone say it out loud… to *anyone*.

  • Unanimous Consent

    I actually know Holly her from having spent innumerable hours in a small committee room over a two year period. She is not mentally unstable, and I am sure she meant every word she said. I credit her for that.

    I simply hope that she is now able to find employment in DC. This town is rough on people and never allows for “mistakes” like the one she made. However, an illicit affair, drugs, alcoholism, you name it, and there’s not even a question…

  • James Patton

    I can understand the concern that your beliefs are reflected in a person that has been labeled unstable but it was the context versus the location that has her sanity in question…:D

  • Howard

    It’s the sort of thing that would have been added in the 1050′s — people were much more serious about religion then. It was actually added in the 1950′s, though. Also, most people might consider a House resolution to be an “official government document”.

    This place is “under God”, like it or not. Whether or not it’s “one nation” is very debatable.

  • Howard

    Is Saul also among the prophets?

  • anonymous

    Dear Raymond,

    Regarding your claim that “we are not one nation under God and… most people are pretty good about that.” Please refer to Newdow v. Carey (2010).

    The following is from the victors of that federal Court case:
    ‘In what the L.A. Times called one of its “most controversial opinions,” the federal Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit decided in 2002 that the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance were unconstitutional. Fast forward several years, and in 2010, the Becket Fund succeeded in convincing the most liberal federal court of appeals in the country to reverse itself.

    Representing schoolchildren, their parents, and the Knights of Columbus, the Becket Fund fought to ensure that school children would continue to recite the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and that future generations would understand from what source their rights derive—not the State, but a Source beyond the State’s discretion.

    What is most gratifying about the 9th Circuit’s favorable 2010 decision is that it adopted the Becket Fund’s reasoning. Specifically, the court agreed with the Becket Fund that the phrase “under God” affirms the Founding Father’s political philosophy and the foundational premise in the American tradition of law and rights, namely that “God granted certain inalienable rights to the people which the government cannot take away.” A win for the right reason is the best kind of victory.”

    –so back to your statement. A “gimmick to sell flags” would never warrant a question of constitutionality. The pledge of Allegiance has more weight than that. W are talking about how we understand being an American. The idea that we are “not one nation under God” undermines the US Congress’ Declaration of Independence (the powers that Nature’s God gives us and the unalienable rights bestowed by that same Creator). Moreover, the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, which enumerates these unalienable rights, would be further eroded.
    Our founding fathers made a definitive statement of reasonable beliefs, beliefs that included God given goods, these unalienable rights. They were convicted enough in these beliefs that they incited a revolution.
    Do you really want the self evident meaning behind our rights to be subject to revision? How convicted are you of that?
    I am not OK with that.

  • Newp Ort

    Having a spontaneous idea is not the same. She is a seasoned professional at her job. I do not discount her statement as invalid, but it is definitely out of character, strongly. Such things, including the sleep problems Can be indicative of a medical problem. I say this not to disparage her , just to point out that could be a concern.

  • ThisIsTheEnd

    As somebody else wisely said, crazy has difficulty recognizing crazy.

  • RosaVera

    Finally i see the truth and the real message of her words… up to now i had no idea what her words were and here they are, in full, and they are magnificent. Thank you for shedding light in this dark way that reports report the news which is usually skewed to which party they support, i thank New Advent for the clarity and the trust in the reporting and for giving us truth. God bless you all for your work… <

  • RosaVera

    and like Christ said they killed their own prophets and they will kill you, as you are doing by not listening to its message this woman gave… maybe you will…

  • RosaVera

    as far as i am concerned i say THANK GOD for her standing up for what is truly a remarkable wake up call for all of us that have read her words, seen her action, and thank God for her putting in check those in the government and all of us…

  • RosaVera

    Her message came at a time it was needed… she clarified what all of them are guilty of and she did it for us all … i thank her for her courage and upon reading her words i see that she is far from insane…

  • RosaVera

    Does anyone actually think that when a truth is shown and it uncovers all of them that are guilty that those guilty would take it serious or try to answer it…? No, they would do as they did most of them in Congress by deriding her as a person and downplaying in the media her message.

  • anonymous

    Raymond, please refer to the Federal Court case Newdow v. Carey (2010), here are the victors comments on the case:

    “In what the L.A. Times called one of its “most controversial opinions,” the federal Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit decided in 2002 that the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance were unconstitutional. Fast forward several years, and in 2010, the Becket Fund succeeded in convincing the most liberal federal court of appeals in the country to reverse itself.

    Representing schoolchildren, their parents, and the Knights of Columbus, the Becket Fund fought to ensure that school children would continue to recite the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and that future generations would understand from what source their rights derive—not the State, but a Source beyond the State’s discretion.

    What is most gratifying about the 9th Circuit’s favorable 2010 decision is that it adopted the Becket Fund’s reasoning. Specifically, the court agreed with the Becket Fund that the phrase “under God” affirms the Founding Father’s political philosophy and the foundational premise in the American tradition of law and rights, namely that “God granted certain inalienable rights to the people which the government cannot take away.” A win for the right reason is the best kind of victory.”

  • Lozzapug

    I don’t think that when truth is shown to the guilty that they are likely to answer it or change, no. But I don’t think that everyone who says something unpopular is speaking God’s truth, either. The fact that this woman has been derided is not proof that she is correct.
    Most people operate with ‘confirmation bias’, which means that they accept things that agree with the way they already think, and reject things that contradict what they already think.

  • Lozzapug

    I think one has to be very, very careful before claiming to speak for God, or for others. We can see plenty of evidence of all sorts of behaviour done in the name of God, that is anything but Godly. And as I pointed out elsewhere, her message, to me, is confused and confusing, and ultimately ineffectual if not damaging to whatever cause she seems to claim. We’re taught to look at the results of ‘sanctity’ before we judge it, are we not?

  • Lozzapug

    I agree – well put. I had the misfortune to go to an extreme fundamentalist school when I was 11-12. A teacher, moved by the Holy Spirit, told me to stand up in a class of 80 and explain why all Catholics were going to hell. Other students, similarly moved to missionary zeal, constantly tried to ‘save’ me from the anti-Christ, papist, Mary-worshipping hell I was doomed to sizzle in forever. During weekly chapel, adults and students alike would spontaneously stand up and rave all kinds of weird stuff about damnation. They were an extremely racist, bigoted, ignorant bunch of people but by God, did they believe… in themselves.
    Actually, it wasn’t a misfortune to go to that school, in a way, because it sure does force you to think through your thoughts and beliefs.

    And for sure, it makes one sit back and think about brainwashing and fanaticism, and constant struggle between the Holy Spirit versus the Ego.

  • OldWorldSwine

    I do not think she is insane, at all. And I don’t think anything she said was wrong. I agree. For a Christian, it would be hard to find anything to disagree with in what she said.

  • RosaVera

    Acts 2:
    16 No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel:
    17 ‘In the last days,’ God says,
    ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
    Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
    Your young men will see visions,
    and your old men will dream dreams.
    18 In those days I will pour out my Spirit
    even on my servants—men and women alike—
    and they will prophesy.
    19 And I will cause wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below—
    blood and fire and clouds of smoke.
    20 The sun will become dark,
    and the moon will turn blood red
    before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives.
    21 But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord
    will be saved.’

  • OldWorldSwine

    The inverse is also true. Given that this woman is correct, it is no proof she is God’s Chosen Prophet to the Beltway. “2+2=4″ is a true statement. That does not mean that I’m actively inspired by the Holy Spirit if I say it, even if I’m frustrated and angry at all the bozos going around saying “2+2=5″.

    The weary testimony of history proves that being right, and being sure you are right, is no guarantee that you’re being specially led by the Spirit in what you choose to do about it.

    That said, I see nothing to object to in her words. They are true, and in that broad sense, prophetic.

  • OldWorldSwine

    I have to admire her pluck. She had to know she was taking a tremendous risk.

  • BonnieS

    Yes, her message is not new. Go to audio sancto and listen to the homily/talk entitled, The Goddess Liberty versus Christ the King, given by a Catholic priest. It gives you an eye opening account of this nation’s founding. Well worth listening to!!

  • mrsoriordan

    If the Holy Spirit was guiding her you will see He has been also guiding others. Watch out for this or something similar soon. That’s my attitude to it. – Rene

  • http://www.lampofthebody.com/ Dave Zelenka

    She is certainly not a fool. I only wish I had her faith.

  • Larry Johnstone

    Any truth spoken in Congress of today, it will sound off note to those liars

  • Thomas

    Why would the Holy Spirit prompt her to perform an act that had such minimal effect? Sadly, she is going to lose her job and that will be the only effect of her bravery.

  • Lozzapug

    As a psychologist (not trained in medicine but very much trained in the effects of biology on the mind) I agree that you make a valid point. We ignore the body-mind-spirit connection at our peril.

  • Lozzapug

    I repeat, I am not even sure what this woman’s message is. A criticism against Congress? That is hardly unique. What is unique is the way she used the moment to rage against her employers, and how she gave responsibility for that rage to the Holy Spirit. Surely there are more effective and focused ways to criticize the country. I see no reason to call her some kind of prophet, and I believe that doing so does no credit at all to whatever her cause might be.

  • Vicky Hernandez

    Code Pink can erupt into protest on the floor of the house and no one bats an eye.
    Hear! Hear!
    Thank you so much for pointing that out. ‘Bout time someone sai… er, wrote it!

  • Proteios

    Interesting comment. You are correct in that certain sins have effectively been socially absolved. Not simply forgiven in some sense but no longer considered sins. At least not major ones. Ironic that the counter culture…we’ll, I should say the now mainstream culture derived from the 60s is quick t absolve sexual sins and drug related sins. Two pretty extreme ones in devastating the lives of people.

  • markkrite

    The only “wicked behavior” I see being generated in Congress is the behavior of the demonratic party ( I refuse to spell this party’s name any other way since they have made abortion murder a “right” to be exercised by any pregnant woman for any or no reason, and their recent embrace of the OXYMORON “gay marriage,” an abomination, both of which concepts are in their PLANK.), during this whole ugly episode, and their mind-numbing Commander-in-Chief’s proclivity to call the Republicans every awful word in the book and do so w/ NO, “-0-” shame. Their despicability factor is beyond belief. And this is the guy, Obama, who in January of 2011 bloviated about being “fair and moderate” in tone and language after the shooting of Gabby Giffords and others. He needs to go, and perhaps he will sooner rather than later. Larry Klayman, constitutional attorney,has called for an “occupy Washington” on November 19 of this year; Obama will be asked to come out of the W.H. w/his “arms up.”

  • LDJ

    Only House members and staff are permitted to be on the floor, so if Code Pink erupted in protest they were doing it from the visitors gallery. The key difference is that they were not staff. What this woman did was completely inappropriate and, assuming no mental illness, she will appropriately be fired for it.

  • Raymond

    The whole concept of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” means that there can be no Federal laws designed or passed that are based on religious beliefs or doctrine. Religion and the Federal Government are intended to remain separate. First, because religious laws would be de facto discriminatory to anyone who does not follow that religion, and second because there would be conflict among the various sects and “flavors” of religion over what doctrines would drive legislation.

    Next, the Pledge was “formally adopted” as the official pledge in 1942, without the “Under God” verbiage, so if you think beliefs are not subject to revision, you’re not paying attention. “Under God” was not added until 1954.

    And finally, here is a link to an article that documents that the Pledge was written by a Socialist (gasp) and that the Pledge was published in a national magazine for the express purpose of selling flags to schools.

    http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur10.htm

  • Lorem

    Typo in the last paragraph: “in the every seat of power.” Should say, “in the very seat of power.”

  • Axilleus

    There are a large number of people in the House of Representatives in far greater need of mental (and spiritual) care than the House stenographer.

  • BrandonUB

    If she is mentally ill, mocking her is terrible. If she’s stable and sane, I think she deserves substantial derision for inane ramblings about Freemasons.


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