August 4th, 2011

Dear Houston: Praying it Ain’t So

Dear Houston,

What do you think about The Response, Governor Perry’s prayer convention thing going down at Reliant on August 6?



Dear David,

Well, in a nutshell, I think it’s total bullshit and it makes me wonder, “WWMID?” Molly Ivins and I may not have seen eye to eye on a lot of stuff, but nowadays I wish she was around to straighten out Governor Goodhair like a piece of wire. Here’s one for my homie.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a card-carrying, flag waving, cross-bearing Christian. But, and there’s always a “but”, I’m also a Muslim, a Jew, an atheist, a homosexual, a redneck, an immigrant from Zimbabwe and a whole lot of other stuff that hasn’t been invited to the party. It would be one thing if there weren’t a dress code at this exclusive little pow-wow, but buddy-buddying with groups like the American Family Association basically says you’d better check your yarmulkes, kufis and rainbow hot pants at the door. The AFA, classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has a friendly name, but an insidious game.

“Right now, America is in crisis: we have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy.”

Those words would be just peachy coming from your community minister, but from an elected government leader, it’s unacceptable. Even if the Constitution made more than ambiguous references to Jesus Christ, if the founding fathers could have envisioned what Perry is referring to (sub-prime mortgage madness, billion-dollar companies on life support, extremist terrorism, Snooki), they’d be asking for all the higher help they could get. Jesus just happened to be the God du jour in 1776, but any prayer for good, no matter the god, is a good, good prayer. Even passionate witnesses for a faith can appreciate that people living a good life and positively influencing the future don’t have to belong to a specific creed at the expense of a just democracy.

Despite this example of insufferable arrogance, I don’t think Perry is a dumb guy. He’s done good things (I still have a job) and bad (education/TTC). So I have to chalk this up to Perry’s insistence on acting the shill for the uber-right. That’s a big chunk of constituency in these parts, and it seems Perry is proud to politically pander. Mayor Annise Parker is handling the situation just as an elected official should—with relative indifference (dollar dollar bill, ya’ll!). It’s up to the citizenry of Houston to voice their opinion on August 6 at Reliant. Gov. Perry, if you really want to take to bended knee, let my people pray…all of them!

Praying it ain’t so,

— Tea Jones


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