Oklahoma state Rep. Doug Cox, a physician who has delivered more than 800 babies, is frustrated with his Republican colleagues who want legislation limiting women’s access to both abortion and contraception. In a column in The Oklahoman newspaper, Cox asks with dismay:
“What happened to the Republican Party that I joined? The party where conservative presidential candidate Barry Goldwater felt women should have the right to control their own destiny? The party where President Ronald Reagan said a poor person showing up in the emergency room deserved needed treatment regardless of ability to pay? What happened to the Republican Party that felt government should not overregulate people until (as we say in Oklahoma) ‘you have walked a mile in their moccasins’?
What happened to the Republican Party that felt that the government has no business being in an exam room, standing between me and my patient? Where did the party go that felt some decisions in a woman’s life should be made not by legislators and government, but rather by the women, her conscience, her doctor and her God?”
We couldn’t agree more. We’ve watched politicians launch a war on women’s health and access to birth control in Texas as well. They also insist that they have a right to decide how and whom people should love. If you’re also fed up with politicians who won’t mind their own business, sign on to our “Cupid or Stupid” campaign to get politicians out of the personal lives of Texans.
One thought on “Republican Lawmaker in Oklahoma Wants Politicians Out of Private Lives; What About GOP Lawmakers in Texas?”
This was the specific recent point I made to the local school board in the Tennessee town where I grew up about 60 years ago. A local Southern Baptist megachurch had an informal, clandestine agreement that their “youth paster” could come over to the school at lunch time, make his rounds at the various cafeteria tables, and do a little proselytizing with the kids one-on-one. Other religion-based abuses of the First Amendment were also going on in parallel.
The Nashville ACLU got wind of it from some objecting parents and filed a federal lawsuit against the school system—and man did they ever have the evidential goods on the school system. I wrote a long letter to the school superintendent and every member of the school board, urging them to settle out of court with the ACLU. It was a wonderful letter, a true Charles “classic.” Here are a couple of paragraphs from the middle of the letter:
“Why is it important to avoid such activities in our public schools? In the 13 British colonies that existed prior to 1776, colonial history clearly records the fact that government-based church officials killed, tortured, and otherwise persecuted their fellow Christians because of differing religious beliefs. This sad but true history was heavily on the mind of Thomas Jefferson when he wrote from Paris, France, to the framers of the constitution and asked them to consider adding 10 more amendments to the new constitution to specify the rights of the American people. Historical records make it clear that the framers of the constitution wrote the First Amendment specifically to establish a wall to separate government from religion in the United States. The American government was to be totally neutral with regard to religion, neither officially supporting it nor officially denouncing it. In other words, government was going to stay out of the religion business and let religion be a matter left solely to the American people, their families, and the houses of worship that they establish and support voluntarily with their contributions. How many times do we hear it in other contexts today? We hear it from Republican conservatives all of the time. I bet you know the words by heart, “I want the government to keep its nose out of my private business!” These alleged activities in your school system were nothing less than an official attempt to inject the nose of county government into the private religious business of the students, parents, and religious institutions of Sumner County.”
“Bringing this down to the personal level, I really do not want a Southern Baptist public school teacher pumping the tenets of her particular brand of Christianity into the heads of my United Methodist children in science or history class. If a pastor from a conservative evangelical church wants to come into the school cafeteria and proselytize my children over a chili dog, I would really prefer to have the school principal stop him at the front door and keep him away from my children. His mere presence there is saying, in effect, “The religious teachings your kids are getting down at your church are wrong, and I am here in your school today to correct some of that.” In all honesty, what gives you or any other school administrator/teacher the right to interfere in this way with the religious education my children get down at our church? Government schools need to get their noses out of the religious business of parents, families, and churches because they do not belong there. The First Amendment exists to protect all of us from such unwanted intrusions.”
The school system settled out of court with the ACLU and plaintiff parents. As part of the settlement agreement, the federal judge slapped the school administration and teachers in so many specific “do this one more time and you will be going to prison” chains that local Christian fundamentalists will never be able to get anything done in that school system again. The school house doors had might as well be bank vault doors with a sign saying: “No Adult Fundies Allowed.”
I would like to also note that I checked with a number of average Christian citizens in the area and found that they too were opposed to the illegal religious activities that were occurring in the local schools. The takeaway message here for Christian fundamentalists in Texas and elsewhere is that such opposition is not necessarily forged by atheists as they would like to imagine. Christians of other denominations (including myself) deeply resent Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals coming into our public schools and trying to change the religion of our children at lunch in the cafeteria. I want city and county governments (as respresented by their public schools) to keep their noses out of the private religious business of my family members at school.