Saturday, June 4


Dallas KLIF radio talk show host Greg Knapp was conflicted yesterday regarding Texas Governor Rick Perry's plans to "showcase his opposition to abortion and gay marriage with a bill-signing ceremony at a church this weekend" but not over Dallas Morning News reporter Wayne Slater's article about it.

To his credit, Knapp repeatedly expressed that he didn't "feel right about it," that he thought it was a bad idea for the Governor to be so "in your face" about it with those who oppose the bills, that he rather should be trying to bring us together rather than polarizing us Texans. (The bill requires that minors have the written consent of parents before getting an abortion, and during the ceremony the governor also plans to tout his support of a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to ban gay marriage.)

But Knapp also repeatedly stressed that the Slater article said the event would happen at a "church," and Knapp pointed out that, in fact, the event was scheduled to take place at the church's religious school gym, NOT a church. Knapp should know that the word "church" refers to a group of believers and not to a facility; therefore, the religious school gym is property of the church every much as is the sanctuary, which I believe Knapp was referring to when he used the word "church."

Knapp also went off several times about how this is a ridiculous thing to get hot about since the Democrats (he noted John Kerry several times) have traditionally politicked in black churches and nobody made a big deal about it. He spoke as if politicizing the church is a brand-new initiative for Republicans, and they're being unfairly criticized for it. As a Southern Baptist, I can recall numerous times since the late seventies that Republican politicians appeared as honored (and, the implication was, endorsed) guests in the pulpit at church services I attended. When running for president in '96, Bob Dole himself spoke at the Easter service at Prestonwood Baptist Church, which my family attended, and we were very offended. It was an unpleasant political intrusion into our most sacred service of the year, the celebration of our Lord's resurrection.

Rick Perry just happens to be my husband's fifth cousin. We have no acquaintanceship with him, and wish none. He is a vapid hairhead, a political opportunist who wouldn't know how to lead his way out of a paper bag. But he knows how to follow. He's witnessed the success of Bush/Rove in pandering to the Christian right and by Jove, he's going to co-opt it.

UPDATE: Love that Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

This is the first act in what will be an interesting passion play should U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison announce that she indeed is going to run for governor in 2006. That would make the Republican primary the must-see race in March.

Hutchison's traditional power base is Dallas; Perry has the GOP hearts in Houston. That places oh- so-conservative Tarrant County -- not to mention Johnson, Parker and Denton counties -- center stage for one bodacious political contest.

All of which obscures the sad fact that when Perry puts pen to paper in a Sunday photo op in a church-school gymnasium, people of faith will once again allow a politician to use their religion as a prop.


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