I write in response to Michael Ellis’ recent letter about Joe Straus and “the transgenders.”
Joe Straus may be the most intelligent Republican in Austin. Granted, this may be akin to saying that someone is the thinnest kid at fat camp (and since I used to weigh 349 pounds I’m allowed to make that joke), but hear me out.
First, neither Texas nor the United States is a religious theocracy. I would suggest Michael re-reads the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution if he is unclear on this. And if a religious theocracy is your philosophical bent, a one-way plane trip to Iran or Saudi Arabia is readily available.
I fail to understand why the American political right seeks to shore up their positions by quoting from the Bible. Spoiler alert: if you need to make arguments that are at least 2,000 years old, you should probably re-examine your position.
And given that some Christians cherry-pick which bits and pieces from the Bible they will observe, like some kind of Golden Corral all-you-can-eat buffet, how exactly does it help? I see plenty of Christians with religious tattoos (violating Leviticus 19:28); eating shellfish and pork (Leviticus 11:9-12 and 11:7), and even heretically wearing mixed-blend shirts (Leviticus 19:19 – side note, I bet Leviticus was a real hoot at parties). So, why is it OK for them to do that, but LGBTQ people are verboten?
Some in Texas are yet again trying to push their religious beliefs on the rest of us, and attempting to legislate their morality. In the same way that the attempted abortion restrictions from a few years ago (those ultimately struck down as unconstitutional) were couched instead as “protecting women’s health”, the bathroom discrimination issue has become about “protecting our women and children.” It is a “solution” entirely in search of a problem. Advocates of the proposed law cannot point to a single example of “the transgenders” threatening the safety of a woman or girl in a bathroom. And even if they could, those actions would already be illegal under existing law.
Joe Straus understands that the average Texan doesn’t give a fig about this. He knows that if this were enacted then the state would experience significant financial loss due to boycotts from companies and sporting organizations. This is precisely what happened in North Carolina a couple of years ago, and those changes were mostly rolled back just a few months later once this became apparent. Straus has also said that “I don’t want the suicide of a single Texan on my hands,” which is a surprisingly enlightened opinion for a Texas conservative.
The takeaway here is that Michael Ellis and his ilk are on the wrong side of history. A bathroom bill would do nothing – zero – nada, to protect women and children. It is merely the latest cudgel that some on the extreme right want to use in order to beat down those different than themselves. It should be rejected, and ridiculed. We need only look to the events that transpired in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend to see what can happen when you fail to unequivocally condemn that which is evil and vile. The bathroom bill is evil and vile. It should be left to die.
Simon Nash, Mineral Wells