In the world of "woke" Twitter, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana is a white supremacist, fundamentalist, homophobic, NRA lackey who has tested God's patience by opposing gun control.
Comedy writer Marcella Arguello was blunt, responding to breaking news when Scalise was seriously wounded in an attack on the GOP baseball team. She tweeted that if a few old "conservative white men have to die in order to get the gun control issue discussed then I'm willing to take that risk." She later deleted the tweet.
The mood could not have been more different at the recent National Prayer Breakfast, when Rep. Cedric Richmond of New Orleans offered an affectionate introduction before Scalise -- still on crutches -- rose to speak.
People keep asking, said Richmond, how they can be such close friends. One leads the Congressional Black Caucus. The other once led the conservative House Republican Study Committee. They disagree, Richmond conceded, on about "80 percent" of the issues facing America.
The key, he said, is to understand that faith can transcend politics.
"We don't differ on the end goals -- helping the needy and protecting our citizens and caring for our elders," said Richmond. "We don't disagree on where we want to end up. Most times, we disagree on how to get there. …
"Faith allows us to put purpose first. We put purpose over politics, we put purpose over profit, because at the end of the day we know that we're here on earth to fulfill a purpose -- to make this world a better place, and make this country a more perfect union."
The two men met in the Louisiana House of Representatives and came together, from opposite sides of the aisle, to help their state recover from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. To this day, said Richmond, they are united in the belief that "we are all created in the likeness of God, no matter what country, no matter what state, no matter what city, no matter what zip code, no matter what block."