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Pastoral malignancy

Know your enemy.

A day before the Texas Legislature ended its special session this week, a session that included a high-profile fight over a “bathroom bill” that appeared almost certainly dead, David Welch had a message for Gov. Greg Abbott: call lawmakers back to Austin. Again.

For years, Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor Council, has worked to pass a bill that would ban local policies that ensured transgender individuals’ right to use restrooms in public schools and government buildings that match their gender identity. The summer special session, which was quickly coming to a close, had been Welch and other social conservatives’ second chance, an overtime round after the bill — denounced by critics as discriminatory and unnecessary — failed during the regular session that ended in May.

But with the Texas House unlikely to vote on a bathroom bill, Welch gathered with some of the most conservative Republicans in that chamber to make a final plea. The bill, they argued without any evidence, would prevent men from entering bathrooms to sexually assault or harass women.

“If this does not pass during this special session, we are asking for, urgently on behalf of all these pastors across the state of Texas, that we do hold a second special session until the job is done,” Welch said at the press event, hosted by Texas Values, a socially conservative group.

Though the group of lawmakers, religious leaders and activists were still coming to terms with their failure to get a bill to Abbott’s desk, for Welch’s Pastor Council, the years-long fight over bathroom restrictions has nonetheless been a galvanizing campaign.

The group, which Welch founded in 2003, has grown from a local organization to a burgeoning statewide apparatus with eyes on someday becoming a nationwide force, one able to mobilize conservative Christians around the country into future political battles. If Abbott doesn’t call lawmakers back for another special session to pass a bathroom bill, the group is likely to shift its attention to the 2018 elections.

“Our role in this process shouldn’t be restricted just because people attend church,” Welch told The Texas Tribune. “Active voting, informed voting, is a legitimate ministry of the church.”

[…]

With primary season approaching, members of the Pastor Council are preparing to take their campaign to the ballot box and unseat Republicans who did not do enough to challenge Straus’ opposition to a “bathroom bill.” Steve Riggle, a pastor to a congregation of more than 20,000 at Grace Community Church in Houston and a member of the Pastor Council, said he and others are talking about “how in the world do we have 90-some Republicans [in the 150-member Texas House] who won’t stand behind what they say they believe.”

“They’re more afraid of Straus than they are of us,” he said. “It’s about time they’re more afraid of us.”

First, let me commend the Trib for noting that the push for the bathroom bill was based on a lie, and for reporting that Welch and his squadron of ideologues are far from a representative voice in the Christian community. Both of these points are often overlooked in reporting about so-called “Christian” conservatives, so kudos to the Trib for getting it right. I would just add that what people like Dave Welch and Steve Riggle believe, and want the Lege and the Congress to legalize, is that they have a right to discriminate against anyone they want, as long as they can claim “religious” reasons for it.

As such, I really hope that Chris Wallace and the rest of the business community absorbs what these bad hombres are saying. I want them to understand that the power dynamic in the Republican Party has greatly shifted, in a way that threatens to leave them on the sidelines. It used to be that the Republican legislative caucus was owned and operated by business interests, with the religious zealots providing votes and logistical support. The zealots are now in charge, or at least they are trying to be. Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton and increasingly Greg Abbott are on their side, and now they want to take out Joe Straus and enforce complete control. Either the business lobby fights back by supporting a mix of non-wacko Republicans in primaries and Democrats in winnable November races, or this is what the agenda for 2019 will look like. I hope you’re paying attention, because there may not be a second chance to get this right. The DMN has more.

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22 Comments

  1. Your sweeping generalizations on the views of Religious Conservatives is just as bad as everything you condemn. It is a constant drum beat of hate that never ceases. You are what you condemn.

  2. neither here nor there says:

    I was one that worked against Hero. I have not changed my opinion on that. I don’t think that transsexuals will use the law to attack women. But, I see it as a privacy issue, women’s privacy should be taken into account.

    However, I did not notice an attack on “Christians”, quote “First, let me commend the Trib for noting that the push for the bathroom bill was based on a lie, and for reporting that Welch and his squadron of ideologues are far from a representative voice in the Christian community.”

    Personally I think Churches should stay out of politics. They can’t even get Jesus’s message across and they want to handle things that are unto Caesar.

    Men are always telling the people what they should think for instance,

    “But by His enigmatic response, did Jesus really mean for His followers to provide financial support (willingly or unwillingly) to Tiberius Caesar — a man, who, in his personal life, was a pedophile, a sexual deviant, and a murderer and who, as emperor, claimed to be a god and oppressed and enslaved millions of people, including Jesus’ own? The answer, of course, is: the traditional, pro-tax interpretation of the Tribute Episode is simply wrong. Jesus never meant for His answer to be interpreted as an endorsement of Caesar’s tribute or any taxes.”

    How would the person writing know what was in Jesus mind? How could one even began to think that they could think like the son of God?

  3. Thank You For Your Honesty says:

    My how I wish there were a recent high profile example of the perfidy of drawing equivalencies between those who hate and those who condemn and oppose hatred….

    One wonders whether anyone who makes such an argument is willfully ignorant, painfully dim, or just shares the prejudices of those they defend, though I suspect those are not mutually exclusive maladies of intellect and character.

    Good on the Trib for their reporting and good on Kuff for his analysis.

  4. Robbie Westmoreland says:

    Apparently people who want Chaz Bono and Elliot Fletcher and Ian Harvie to have to use the women’s restroom when they’re in government buildings in Texas are really concerned about the privacy of women? Also rapists will totally stay out of restrooms if we tell them it’s illegal for them to go there?

    And the only real prejudice is identifying bigots when they spew their bigotry publicly.
    The conservative Christians I know don’t have much in common with Dave Welch. As Kuffner points out, “Welch and his squadron of ideologues are far from a representative voice in the Christian community.” How dare you mention that the outspoken bigots aren’t the totality of the religion, Kuffner? Throwing shade on this of all weeks.

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    @Thank You:

    “My how I wish there were a recent high profile example of the perfidy of drawing equivalencies between those who hate and those who condemn and oppose hatred….”

    I don’t know why you would wish something like that, but do let us know if you find it in the future. For the last 2 years, all I have seen is the violent alt-left doing what they do, damage property, assault people, murder cops, and attempt to kill half of Congress. Why, just as late as last night, there they were in AZ, attacking police officers. They can’t even claim Trump’s people were behaving badly, too (moral equivalence?) because Trump’s people were inside the building, supporting America.

  6. neither here nor there says:

    Robbie are you guilty of the same thing that the right wing does, it is all or nothing.

    Chaz has had a sex change, he is a man based on how he looks, his birth certificate does say female ( I am assuming that). The other guy, Elliot, not sure if he has a full sex change. I had to look them both up as I had no idea who they were.

    Using your logic some men have used the transgender laws to assault women (That is a fact), therefore, all laws that allow transgender men in women facilities are bad.

    Bad you are right they probably don’t care what the women think, it is about them.

  7. neither here nor there says:

    But you …

  8. C.L. says:

    Who gives a rats ass what bathroom someone chooses to use ? How is this even a thing ?

  9. Flypusher says:

    No matter how long and how hard you push those false equivalences, they aren’t going to magically come true.

  10. Ross says:

    So, Neither, you want someone who looks like a woman to use the men’s room, because that’s what their birth certificate says? Are you ok with them bring assaulted in the men’s room? I assume you have no issue with that dort of assault, given your apparent disgust with transgendered folks.

  11. C.L. says:

    @Ross… I’m at a loss. Have you ever heard of a man beating up (what he thought was) a woman, just because he-she walked into a men’s room to utilize the commode ? The couple of times in my 50+ years I’ve seen (what I thought was) a woman in the men’s room, the only reaction I’ve seen from the men already in there was one of amusement.

  12. neither here nor there says:

    No Ross, that is not what I said. Chaz based on what I read is now a man in all appearances and should use the men’s bathroom. Assuming he is okay with that, if he wants to go into the women’s bathroom than he should not have had a sex change.

    Actually the bathroom is not much of a problem, the showers and other facilities is where the problem would probably occur. I am sure that most 15 year old boys would not object to having some good looking person that looked like a girl showering next to them. I would expect that boys being boys they will be boys.

    But I don’t know why everyone always brings up assaults. Who is going to be assaulted the transgender or the other? I mention assaults because Robbie did. I stated that men have used the laws to enter women facilities and they have assaulted women, that is a fact. Does it happen often no, but it does happen. But if you are the woman that is assaulted that is one time too many.

    By the way most gay and transgender persons who are assaulted are minorities. That is also a fact. That is based on percentages, actual numbers not necessarily because there are more none minorities in this country.

  13. Bill Daniels says:

    I agree with C.L. Why is this a thing? These unfortunates handled themselves discreetly, and there was no problem. Then they were taken on as the latest cause celebre by the always active, activist left and now we have this…HERO’s and potty bills. It is all embarrassing to me as a Texan

  14. Ross says:

    The laws proposed require use of the restroom that’s the same as their birth certificate. If the transgendered are to be law abiding, they have to go to a bathroom where their outward appearance is wrong. That can lead to assault if the others in the room object. Are you all now arguing for lawbreaking?

  15. C.L. says:

    @ Bill…. Patrick and Abbott weren’t elected based on their looks, their base put them in office because that’s the agenda they wanted pursuing.

  16. Bill Daniels says:

    Fly,

    People watch Antifa, BLM, Occupy, and other alt-left violence on the news nightly, then they vote Trump. Don’t be surprised when Jeff Flake in AS gets primaried.

    Just plain folks who usually aren’t interested in politics are mad. They have had enough. They don’t like it when football players won’t stand for the national anthem. They don’t like seeing cities erupt in violence. Most important, though, is the fact that they are tired of being told how to think.

    C’ville was 2 sides behaving badly with a police stand down, culminating in a white supremacist running down some people. You think middle America watched the violence on both sides and agrees with the narrative that the alt-left there that day was NOT violent? The alt-left did NOT have weapons?

    The video speaks for itself, and it backs Trump.

  17. Bill Daniels says:

    @C.L.:

    Dan Patrick is beholden to the Steve Hotze fringe of the Pub. machine, but I wouldn’t say the same about Abbott. Abbott strikes me more like a typical Chamber of Commerce Pub.

    For what it’s worth, I voted (L) in both races. Abbott is meh, but I really cannot wait to see Dan get booted out.

  18. Flypusher says:

    I gave you the data on political violence in a previous thread Bill. From the Cato institute. As the saying goes, you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. To say that the LW groups you mention are as bad as the RW groups is to willfully turn a blind eye to the data. I have zero illusions about persuading the willfully ignorant. My goal is to relentlessly and strongly call out every bit of BS, every false equivalance, every alternative fact I see. Silence is acquiescence.

    They may well primary Flake, who is about as principled as conservatives get these days, and set up the Dems to take that seat. It would serve them right.

    I also wonder what the Venn diagram overlap is between people who need fainting couches over a National Anthem protest, and people happy to cheer on the domestic abusers and PED cheats. I’m betting it’s big. People choose the stupidest hills to die on, on both sides.

  19. neither here nor there says:

    Ross, I know what the law stated, I was not in agreement with that part of what the birth certificate stated.

  20. Bill Daniels says:

    Fly,

    First, the metric used in the article you mentioned (I had to look it up myself, thanks for not giving a cite) is deaths, not the totality of property crime, assaults, and deaths, which would be much more useful, don’t you think? How many buildings has the right burned down? A few churches back in the 60’s? BLM has that beat in one night. Second, talk about a red herring, Trump’s comments were specifically in response to the Battle of Charlottesville, not about a running summary of bad acts, and by whom. In your own study, the most deaths by far came at the hands of true believer Muslims, which are your people. The left claims the Muslims, so why not own their violence?

    Why didn’t Trump address that? A: Because he was addressing what had just happened. And what had just happened was, both sides behaved badly, and for once, it wasn’t the Muslims, but other alt-left groups doing their part to be violent.

    You want a Nazi comparison? The leftists in Germany were running wild, just like we see here now. The German people finally had enough and elected a fairly fringe party that promised to restore law and order, and a violence weary Germany said yes to the Nazis. Here’s a hint: Joe Sixpack is tired of seeing lawlessness on the nightly news.

    If you want to be intellectually honest with yourself, find a comparison of left vs. right violence for, say the last 10-20 years, then get back with me.

    Here’s an analogy for you. We are discussing the big game. You are quoting states for both teams during their respective histories, and I’m specifically talking about what happened during the big game itself, then you are playing gotcha about things I wasn’t talking about.

  21. Flypusher says:

    “First, the metric used in the article you mentioned (I had to look it up myself, thanks for not giving a cite) is deaths, not the totality of property crime, assaults, and deaths, which would be much more useful, don’t you think? How many buildings has the right burned down? A few churches back in the 60’s? BLM has that beat in one night. ”

    How soon you forget the OK City bombing, the bombing at the Atlanta Olympics, and a number of abortion clinic bombings, for starters. Also not every person who destroys something in a riot is part of an organized group and acting out of political motives. You’re putting your thumbs on the scales when you’re trying to lump common criminals into this “alt-left”.

    “Second, talk about a red herring, Trump’s comments were specifically in response to the Battle of Charlottesville, not about a running summary of bad acts, and by whom.”

    Smacks of retconning to me. Trump invoked this “alt-left” and said it was just as bad as the alt-right. There’s been no hard evidence produced so far to support that alleged narrow claim.

    “In your own study, the most deaths by far came at the hands of true believer Muslims, which are your people. The left claims the Muslims, so why not own their violence?”

    You have a lot of gall to accuse me of intellectual dishonesty, and then cough that rancid hair all into the forum. Since when has anyone on the left claimed solidarity with the likes of al Qaeda, or the Taliban, or ISIS? Those groups are ultra-conservative religious fundamentalists. Their ideas are anathema to liberals. The left is happy to stand up for the moderate Muslims who aren’t supporting terrorists and just want to go about their business. But they all look alike to you, don’t they?

    “Why didn’t Trump address that? A: Because he was addressing what had just happened. And what had just happened was, both sides behaved badly, and for once, it wasn’t the Muslims, but other alt-left groups doing their part to be violent.”

    Muslim terrorism was included in that study for context.

    “You want a Nazi comparison? The leftists in Germany were running wild, just like we see here now. The German people finally had enough and elected a fairly fringe party that promised to restore law and order, and a violence weary Germany said yes to the Nazis. Here’s a hint: Joe Sixpack is tired of seeing lawlessness on the nightly news.”

    So defending Trump is small potatoes, and now you want to defend Hitler? What a dishonest and extremely selective reading of history. You left out the SA and the mobs of Brownshirts. You don’t mention why “Reichstag fire” has a very specific political connotation. Here’s a hint- Joe Sixpack is in danger of repeating history because he’s refusing to learn it.

    “If you want to be intellectually honest with yourself, find a comparison of left vs. right violence for, say the last 10-20 years, then get back with me.”

    So you’re so sure that this different time line would favor your argument, but you expect me to do your homework for you. Forget it. You claim it, you provide the evidence for it.

    “Here’s an analogy for you. We are discussing the big game. You are quoting states for both teams during their respective histories, and I’m specifically talking about what happened during the big game itself, then you are playing gotcha about things I wasn’t talking about.”

    Here’s my analogy, although actually it’s more a direct observation. We have an ignorant, foolish, dishonest, and pathologically narcissist man in the White House who is too easily swayed by flattery. The David Dukes out there know this, and are happy to stroke his ego. What matters most to Trump is who praises him, he won’t distance himself from the KKK/ alt-right because of that, and his post-Charlottesville comments were just classic Trump-style bullshit flinging in an attempt to evade, distract, and confuse.

  22. Bill Daniels says:

    Fly:

    Here’s a CNN “focus group” that seems to disagree with your narrative.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DECs5qE4yvQ&feature=youtu.be

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