Thursday, June 26, 2014

And Then There is Texas

I've always been proud to be a Texan. Texas is a truly unique place in the world. That is not to say that there are not other unique places in the world. There are of course. That is why my wife and I spend so much time traveling around the world. But Texas is the unique place with which I am most familiar and the place I always return to from my travels.

That said, more and more my pride in being a Texan is being shaken these days by the utter stupidity
of some of those who make news as political activists. Recently Texas had its State GOP Convention. Nothing wrong with that of course. Every state has one, but undoubtedly none of these other states conventions come up with as many stupid platform proposals as do the far right-wing Texans who represent the evangelical Christians and the Tea Party and dominate the Platform Committee.

In the recent GOP Convention in Texas the approximately 7000 member Platform Committee decided in their total lack of wisdom that the GOP Platform should contain language supporting Reparative Therapy for gays to help them become straight. Seeing as how every respected psychiatric organization in the United States has declared Reparative Therapy to be roughly the equivalent of curative snake oil, it was an embarrassing moment for most Texas Republicans and for Texas. But that is part of the problem. The far right-wing Christians and the radical Tea Party members have no capacity whatsoever to be embarrassed over their own stupidity and ignorance. The are perfectly comfortable in their feelings that what they believe is truth and that it is their duty to see that everyone else believes it too.

While other states are recognizing the reality of equal opportunity under the law for gays to marry their same-sex partners, too many Texans cling to the false notion that such marriages would be a direct and immediate danger to their own marital status.

Fortunately, at the same time, an amazing number of Texas citizens do not subscribe to this foolishness. The other day a couple of my gay friends invited my wife and I to a party at their home. They have a large home in a part of Houston that is being regentrified  on the north side. This regentrification is largely the product of gay couples who are moving into the area and fixing up homes that have been home to squatters for the last several years. The house my friends bought was totally covered in vines in the front. In the back, windows had been broken for squatters to enter and the house was a total wreck. Light fixtures, air conditioners and anything else with any value had been ripped out and carried away. In just less than a year, my friends turned it into a showplace again much to the liking of their straight neighbors.

The neighbors have not only continued to be supportive but also quick to include my friends in the social activities of the neighborhood. At the party there were lesbian couples, gay couples and straight couples. It was not a gay party. It was a neighborhood party and everyone had a great deal of fun. The party started at 5:00 p.m. and the invitation said it would continue until the last guest departed. That turned out to be a little after 2:00 a.m.

The point is that most of Texas' population is located in its three large metropolitan areas and these
people are doing a great job of learning how to judge people, not by their sexual orientation or the color of their skin, but rather by their character. It is a wonderful thing. It's not such a wonderful thing that the chief purveyors of hate and discrimination these days is found in our politics and in our evangelical churches. Oh sure, the claim to love the sinner but hate the sin thinking that lets them off the hook. It never occurs to them that homosexuality might not always be a sin.

Yesterday a circuit court in Denver ruled that every state must allow same-sex marriage under the equal protection provisions of the Constitution of the United States of America. This sets in motion the process that will end with a review by the U.S. Supreme Court. No one can predict what the sharply divided court will do in this case; but if I was betting, I know where I'd place my bet.

We live in interesting times. There is much wrong with our world. Hatred looms in too many areas of the world fed all to0 often by religious zealots who use religion to support their own hate and prejudice.

I'm proud to be an American and a Texan, for although we're far from perfect, we remain the best hope of the world and things generally are getting better all the time in our part of the world. Hopefully our politicians and our religious leaders will come to recognize that they are out of touch with the citizens they represent. We'll never get rid of political institutions, but if religious institutions don't soon come to grips with changing realities, they'll soon find themselves having to close their doors for lack of money and congregations to keep them open.

Jack Scott

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I deeply regret that I must reinstate the verification process for those who want to leave comments on my blog. This is due to the intolerable amount of spam that spammers are attempting to leave on the blog.

At the same time I am changing settings so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will not have to have your comments moderated. My hope is this will encourage more readers to take the time to comment. The fact is I want to read comments with those of you who disagree with me as well as those of you who agree with me. All I ask is that you keep your comments clean and non-threatening.

The only reason I take the time to write this blog is to spur your thoughts and comments. Please do not let the spammers cause you not to comment. I know entering the verification words and numbers is a pain in the ass, but I hope you will not let the spammers cause you not to comment.

I still very much look forward to hearing from you.

Jack Scott

Anyone can comment on what I write in this blog. Regretfully, the recent amount of spam in my email account as required that I reinstate the word verification process for comments which I personally hate.

But at the same time I have loosened the comment moderation process so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will no longer need to wait for your comment to be moderated. I'm hoping this will tempt you to take the trouble to comment.

The truth is I want respectful comments both from those who agree with me and those who do not. All I as is that you keep comments to the point, clean and non-threatenting.

I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Jack Scott