Eclectic commentary from a progressive voice in the red state

Friday, May 22, 2015

Can we reverse the Texas Legislature's Christian theocracy?

The late and great Molly Ivins referred to the Texas Legislature as a “box of rocks.” I think she is being charitable. I am using her turn of phrase because I can’t come up with a more pejorative, but non-vulgar, description for the body’s latest stupidity.

The Dallas Morning News reports (here) that budget writers have proposed that “health clinics affiliated with abortion providers wouldn’t be eligible to participate in the combined federal and state-funded Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening program, which provides free screenings and diagnostic tests to low-income and uninsured women in Texas.”

It’s one thing for the Lege to take away the ability of local governments to control their own destinies. That law, signed by Greg Abbott, who is a mean-spirited but smarter snake than Rick Perry, was expected because the oil and gas industry owns the Lege. The industry wanted to end the fracking bans such as that passed in Denton. After all, when you buy a legislature, you want it to stay bought. Understandable in our political landscape of corporatist plutocracy.

But the move against Planned Parenthood and another measure, one “protecting” against lawsuits those pastors who refuse to officiate at same-sex weddings (here), show that the Texas Legislature is now a Christian theocracy. Read this second Dallas Morning News article and you’ll also see that the Lege is also interfering in the internal workings of individual denominations.

Is there an over-arching explanation for the Texas Legislature to act this way? Yes. It’s a reflection of a dumbed down America and an even worse dumbed down Texas. The most important question of all is whether this can be reversed before people like Abbott, Dan Patrick, Ted Cruz and the other theocrats fully control our government.