Sometimes politicians do the darnedest things. You would think I would be used to that by now. That I would have to fake surprise when an anti-gay legislator is discovered trying to lure gay lovers on the Internet. But there are still times when I am taken aback by the boldness or audacity or sometimes just stupidity behind the things some policy makers do. Such was the case when I learned that Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) planned to hold the ceremonies for signing and anti-choice bill and anti-gay measure at an evangelical school. And that further, his campaign team intended to film it to use the footage in a commercial.
I've never been a huge fan of these ceremonies -- they seem to me to be self-aggrandizing. “Hey look at me, I fixed this problem by signing this bill.” Well, gosh, isn't that what you are supposed to do? Do you get to hold a ceremony in the board room for getting your expense forms in on time? Anyway, holding the bill signing in a religious setting seemed beyond the pale. It must have even occurred to the governor that it was a bit much because he moved the signing into the church's school gym. (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/06/national/06texas.html).
The event was set to mark Perry's signing of a bill requiring teens to get parental consent before they can receive an abortion. (Texas law already requires parents to be notified, but the legislature tightened the requirements even further). The anti-gay measure didn't even require Perry's signature. It is a measure that puts a constitutional amendment on the ballot banning same-sex marriage.
This photo op didn't go unnoticed or unexplained. Said Rev. Robin Lovin, a Methodist minister: “There are lots of reasons to go to church on Sunday, but making laws isn't one of them.” The act of signing at a Christian academy “is a pretty clear symbol that the church is at the service of the state or the state is at the service of the church and either way we've crossed an important line that has a long history in both politics and theology.” Amen.
Attempting to put a different face on it, some supporters tried to argue that since the event was held in the gym rather than the church, that there was no need for all this muss and fuss. Said Don Wildmon of the American Family Association: “This is not the sanctuary. God ain't in here. He's in there!” presumably pointing in the general direction of the church and not at a mirror.
For his part, Perry tried to clear things up when he said, “I'm confused where God is: He's everywhere. If we did this in the parking lot of Wal-Mart, God would be there.” So, sign your bills in the parking lot or in a bowling alley or -- now here's an original idea -- at the governor's mansion or wherever you sign the rest of the bills.
It's hard to see this for anything but a political sop, which makes these already dubious legislative measures that much less credible.
While it's true, gyms were made for game playing, political games aren't what immediately come to mind.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
From Today's SaveRoe
Now with extra snark: