Friday, January 20, 2023

#2608: Mary Lou Bruner

Mary Lou Bruner has been described as the ‘looniest politician in Texas’ and (therefore) possibly in the entire US, at least prior to 2016. Bruner is a former schoolteacher, wingnut, anti-gay activist, creationist, Islamophobe, birther, conspiracy theorist and Confederate apologist – so much so that her views managed to stir up some controversy when she decided to run for the Republican nomination for an East Texas seat on the Texas Board of Education in 2016. Former chairman Don McLeroy called her a great asset, which really is all the information you need. She lost by a wide margin. Still.


Views on scientific issues: evolution and climate change

As a school board candidate – Texas has a long history of delusional crazies running for, and getting seats on, their board of education – Bruner got plenty of opportunities to lay out her views on science. (Remember that she is a former school teacher.)


A dyed-in-the-wool creationist, Bruner claims that the theory of evolution is a deliberate plot to promote godlessness – it “is a religious philosophy with propaganda supporting the religion of Atheism” – and school shootings are the direct result of evolution being taught in public schools; that’s why all terrorists and mass-murderers, according to Bruner, are liberals and Democrats. She has also claimed that scientists have actually proof of a young earth, but are colluding to cover up the evidence for some unspecified reason – presumably because Satan+demons (much of what happens in the world are, after all, controlled by the Illuminati, according to Bruner).


Here is a screenshot on Bruner’s theory of how the dinosaurs died out: dinosaurs, who according to her are the “behemoths” and “leviathans” of the Bible, were present on the Ark during the Global Flood, but died out afterwards. And though she sometimes recognizes that her views are, shall we say, out of touch with science, she has a straightforward explanation: “The Atheists just don’t want to admit it because if they admit that, they would admit that something in the Bible is true [??]. The Atheists cannot logically dispute these FACTS because the fossils exist [Bruner is otherwise no fan of the fossil record]. We have some Creationist Scientists who win every debate with Atheists over the origin of the earth [she provides no reference] because the Creation Scientists are right. The facts support creation rather than evolution. Anyone who debates knows that when two debaters are equally skilled, there is a decided advantage to being on the right side of any issue or argument.” We don’t know what is craziest here, but it certainly might actually be the insane naivety concerning how debates work. At least there is an obvious reason she has repeatedly claimed that the STEM subjects had gotten a too dominant position in Texas schools.


And of course she is a climate change denier. Bruner has called climate change a “ridiculous hoax” and tried to argue that the global warming story is a veil for the advancement of Communism in America – she even thinks the plot was initiated by none other than Karl Marx himself: “Climate change has nothing to do with weather or climate; it is all about system change from capitalism (free enterprise) to Socialism-Communism. The Climate Change HOAX was Karl Marx’s idea. It took some time to ‘condition’ the people so they would believe such a ridiculous HOAX.”


Views on scientific issues: history

Bruner is a firm defender of various branches of pseudohistory. In Bruner’s book – she’s a former school teacher running for the board of education, remember – the American Civil War was not about slavery at all but really about the railroad(!). (We can’t help but suspect the source of that one is some confusion over the Underground Railroad.) Now, “[t]he public schools and universities do not teach this information about the War Between the States,” for obvious reasons, but Bruner has her own explanation: You won’t find that in the history books because historians biased against the southern states rushed to rewrite history books once everyone alive during the Civil War had died. Accordingly, “Abraham Lincoln is not the heroic icon figure which history has made of him”; rather, Lincoln was “dishonest”. Then she promptly accused then-President Obama of taking a page out of Lincoln’s “playbook”.


She has also claimed that the Democratic Party was responsible for the assassination of John F. Kennedy, as they preferred “socialist” Lyndon B. Johnson over “conservative” JFK. In particular: “Many people believe the Democrat Party had JFK killed because the socialists and Communists in the party did not want a conservative president. Remember who followed JFK as president – (LBJ). the exact opposite of Kennedy – a socialist and an unethical politician. It does seem like this might have been the master plan: They sneaked the bad guy (LBJ) into the administration on the coat-tail of a good guy (JFK). Then they got rid of the good guy; in the end, they got a socialist president which is what they originally wanted.”


Views on education in general

Bruner has stated that pre-kindergarten education is a plot by the GLBTQ [sic] agenda to indoctrinate children into homosexuality.


She also believes that the content of Texan state school textbooks is dictated by “Middle-Eastern” countries. Here is Bruner ranting incoherently about how Muslims are trying to take over the minds of American school children. And keep in mind that religious freedom doesn’t extend to Muslims: “Islam is [apparently as opposed to biology] not a religion. Islam is an inhumane totalitarian political ideology with radical religious rules and laws and barbaric punishments for breaking the religious rules.” Bruner promptly called for the U.S. to “ban Islam and stop all immigration from Muslim countries because Islam’s stated goal is to conquer the USA and kill the infidels (nonbelievers).”


As mentioned, and despite endorsements from e.g. McLeroy, wingnut education blogger Donna Garner (who once organized a boycott of Dr Pepper because they failed to sufficiently glorify God on their product) and Cherokee County Republican Party chairwoman Tammy Blair, Bruner lost the election – mostly, it seems, because she blatantly lied about basic facts regarding how the Texas school system is organized and how the children in Texas schools perform. 


She was also adamantly opposed to Texas’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), ostensibly because “I believe children belong to the parents, not the federal government” (just think about it!). And when arguing against ESSA, she helpfully explained her stance on expertise: “I do not agree with candidates who say subject matter experts, not partisan extremists, should decide what goes in textbooks.” Oh, yes. The reason, of course, is that “subject matter experts” are “liberal university professors, Washington bureaucrats in the Department of Education and liberal national teachers association leaders.”


We’ll include Bruner’s opinions of the boy scouts under this heading as well: “The new Boy Scouts organization might be called Rainbow Penguins,” wrote Bruner: “The Boy Scouts of America is now a Homosexual organization much like the Man-Boy Pedophile Organization” (she tends to add a ‘P’ for ‘pedophile’ to “LGBTQ”). Apparently “gay men prefer young people (children and teenagers) as sex partners.” She doesn’t like gay people: “You must tell your children to believe the Bible and the Bible says [homosexuality] is an ABOMINATION. ABOMINATION means that God Hates Homosexuality.”



On a national level, Bruner is best known for her famous and groundless claim that Barack Obama’s support for gay rights is a result of his work as a male prostitute in his early twenties in order to pay for drugs: “Obama has a soft spot for homosexuals because of the years he spent as a male prostitute in his twenties. That is how he paid for his drugs. He has admitted he was addicted to drugs when he was young, and he is sympathetic with homosexuals; but he hasn’t come out of the closet about his own homosexual/bisexual background.” Bruner cited “a reliable source”, though her capacity for determining reliability may be questioned (she also repeatedly emphasized that the claim was ‘accurate). And she wasn’t done: “[Obama] hasn’t quite evolved that much! Since he supports gay marriage, he should be proud of his background as a homosexual/bisexual. He is against everything else Christians stand for, he might as well be for infidelity.” Bruner also referred to Obama asAhab the Arab” and said that the president “hates all white people and all wealthy people because to him wealthy means white.”


Hence, Obama is also “racist” – and he may have been elected with rigged voting machines (Bruner was before her times on that one). And as for her birther conspiracies: “The baby named Barak [sic] was an illegitimate son but his grandparents registered his birth in the Hawaii newspapers as if he were legitimate so he could be eligible for welfare,” wrote Bruner: “Would Obama have been elected president if he had appeared in public in Muslim attire or if he had admitted publicly he was born in Kenya or he is still a citizen of Indonesia? Just asking!” She is often “just asking”, e.g when she “asked” about Obama’s involvement in some evil scheme to get a Muslim boy in Texas arrested for bringing a clock to school to forward his Muslim agenda.


As for Native Americans and their historic mistreatment, Bruner also has ideas: “I am not saying the Native Americans deserved what happened to them but sometimes God removes his protection from people who worship pagan gods”.


Meanwhile, the Affordable Care Act is ostensibly part of the United Nation’s Agenda 21 conspiracy to do away” with 200 million people from the United States.


Unfortunately, she quickly discovered that people in high places (demons) were onto her, interfering with her technology: “This IPad was attacked last night,” wrote Bruner. “Every time I tried to strike a key an icon of a devil appeared on the comment line. All of this happened right after I said Obama was a sheikh and Congress, The Supreme Court, The Cabinet Members, the heads of government agencies, and the Obama Czars are his harem. That probably offended someone in a high place!!!!


And according to herself, she didn’t lose the school board election because she was wrong, but because she was “smeared by the Establishment – according to herself, she ran to expose the ‘evil’ actions of ‘cock-roaches’. Unfortunatly, because good Christians™ were not ‘vigilant’, advocates ‘for a One World Order controlled by socialist and Communist nations of the United Nations’ could employ their ‘plan right out of Saul Alinsky’s book’ to ‘destroy conservative candidate’s [sic] reputation and keep them from getting elected’.


She lost to Keven Ellis, a chiropractor. Ellis is also a creationist, who explicitly argues, following the Discovery Institute’s recommended strategy, that “students should discuss the strengths and weaknesses of evolution” now that the courts have prevented schools from teaching creationism.


Diagnosis: In an interview at the time, Bruner stated that “I don’t know why I’m getting so much attention. I’m just saying what I believe.” In other words, Bruner has basic trouble with even the absolute fundamentals of how things hang together (beliefs and evidence, for instance). Add to that a fundamental inability to grasp distinctions (between fantasy and fact, for instance), and add some paranoia (a natural consequence of utter failure to grasp connections and distinctions), and you may get something resembling the scattered mind of Mary Lou Bruner.


Hat-tip: rationalwiki


  1. I bet GD really enjoyed writing this post. This gal is something else! Are you sure she's not a sitting member of Congress?

  2. When someone begins an argument with, "Many people believe," I know the facts aren't on their side.