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That Old-Time Religion

The Steeple People are at it again.

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We Know Where He’s Going: Texas Republican state senator Charles Perry of Lubbock introduced SB 17: where is he going to spend eternity?

Yall, we need to talk about the Steeple People. Not the regular followers of the teachings of Christ—you know, the ones who admit to being sinners but try daily to improve their own behavior and not just everyone else’s. Nope, I’m talking about those Super Deluxe Brand Christians, who practice the religion of Tsk! Tsk!

Darlin’, they are making me shake so bad that I could thread a sewing machine while it’s running.

Texas Republican state senator (cringing already, aren’t you?) Charles Perry of Lubbock has introduced Senate Bill 17, the “God Doesn’t Approve of You” bill. If this bill ever becomes law, when you go to see a doctor or call a plumber, or if a schoolteacher doesn’t “approve” of your child, those state license holders can simply say, “God doesn’t want me to provide you with this service,” and there would be, effectively, no recourse for you.

I am a woman of faith. Even so, there are times I ask myself: Where are the lions when we really need them?

“It’s not about the here-and-now,” Senator Perry said. “It’s about where we’re all going to spend our eternity.” Honey, we know where you’re going, and we’d advise you to bring a bucket and pray for rain.

Last month, vice president Mike Pence was speaking at Liberty University (a place so horrid that your clothes wrinkle when you drive by it) and told that virtuously virgin student body that it’s going to get harder and harder to practice their religious beliefs.

Well, Lord, that would be an answered prayer.

Pence said, “Some of the loudest voices for tolerance today have little tolerance for traditional Christian beliefs. Be ready.” Yes, gimme that old-time religion that says I can refuse to treat gay people if they get sick, own all the slaves I want, force wimmen to just shuddup, and marry my first cousin—because, hey, a little close family bonding doesn’t seem all that wrong.   

Christians are not being persecuted in America. Every national religious holiday we have is for Christians. The National Cathedral is Christian. Any town in Texas has more churches than dance halls (and I’m not saying that’s a good thing). No U.S. president has been anything other than Christian (present company excepted, although lots of his supporters think he is).

We’re not asking the Super Deluxe Brand Christians to give up their 20 pieces of silver. All we’re asking is that they be nice to people and take a bath every so often.

Also, let me be crystal-clear about one very important fact: God and Mr. Rogers love us just the way we are.

Now that I have that hissy-fit out of my system, there’s more nonsense you should know about:

Don’t mess with Texas, y’all, because Texas is messed up enough already. We have an entire state legislature in Austin filled with dumpster possums.

Republicans in the Texas Legislature are cognizant of the high probability that even their gerry-mandered districts aren’t going to get them elected in 2020. So in an overabundance of overstupidity, they have come up with some ideas. (All of these ideas have the weight and trajectory of a turkey feather in a strong breeze, but honey, that ain’t stopping them from summoning all the intellectual stature of a toad frog and leaping over the Constitution of the United States of Damn America.)

Here’s their first idea: they have introduced a bill that would make it illegal for anyone to drive more than three elderly, disabled, or poor people to the polls to vote. This would effectively stop retirement homes and churches from toting people to the polls in vans and busses.

That means that the bus my 92-year-old momma takes from her retirement apartment to go vote would be illegal, but that same bus taking them to the casino is just fine. Hell, y’all, Momma says voting is a social event and they always stop for lunch at Luby’s cafeteria afterwards. We couldn’t get them to vote by mail because they all just love that carrot salad at Luby’s.

The bill would also eliminate Souls to the Polls, where black churches load up their busses and head to the polls on the last Sunday of early voting.

Candidates and community organizers could no longer drive rented busses through poor neighborhoods (many of which lack public transit) to be sure everyone who wants to exercise their right to vote can get to the polls.

The Texas legislators who introduced this bill are just mean and racist and don’t love Jesus, so I do not want to hear any more crap about how Christian they are.

It’s June, my loves—my birthday month. Please feel free to celebrate in any way you feel is irresponsible and highly irregular. Preferably with a little glitter.

This article appears in the June 2019 edition of OutSmart magazine.

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Susan Bankston

Susan Bankston lives in Richmond, Texas, where she writes about her hairdresser at The World’s Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc., at juanitajean.com.

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