The radical wisdom of Rep. David Simpson, the evangelical Christian from Longview

Screen shot 2015-06-30 at 4.04.27 PM

Rep. David Simpson

Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, yesterday (Monday, June 29) called for a special legislative session “in light of the Supreme Court’s lawless and unconstitutional redefinition of marriage,” according to a statement released by his state senate campaign.

“I cannot and I will not sit idly by while unelected judges redefine the sacred institution of marriage and force our county and state officials to violate their most cherished beliefs,” he said. (No matter the decision was 5-4.)

But unlike Texas Eagle Forum’s Cathie Adams and other belligerently anti-LGBT crusaders who called for a special session this month barring recognition of same-sex unions, Simpson took a different approach. He wants government out of the equation.

“In its place, the process of issuing a certificate of marriage will be performed by any willing clergy member consistent with their conscience and in respect for our culture and our heritage,” he said, sticking to his deeply held conservative Christian convictions. But your marriage isn’t his issue: because if a couple doesn’t want to have a religious ceremony, a notary just needs to sign a certificate authorizing their marriage.

“Marriage is a divinely instituted tradition as old as humanity. Government marriage is just another government program and a modern failure. Government has cheapened it, redefined it, and parceled it out for profit,” he said. “As a Christian, I call on every Texan to reject this aberration and contact the governor to take swift action to end it.”

(His statement on the ruling itself, however, can be found here.)

I realize many of my colleagues may disagree with me on this, but it’s not that bad of an idea. I recognize Simpson’s ideology – very, very libertarian – and its flaws – libertarian Republicans oppose government regulation, including government-recognized employment protections. (Notice, however, that doesn’t mean opposition to private policies.)

However, I want to strictly speak in terms of marriage here, and the representative’s wisdom.

Of course, with marriage brings benefits (and federal tax incentives). And counties would lose some serious revenue if they no longer issued licenses, which mean a decline in services.

But to me, Simpson seems to be saying this: should the government capitalize upon our unions, or should they be cherished and sacred, free from interference? (Alternatively, and no disrespect to the representative’s faith, he’s saying “this is noneofya damned business!”)

Bucking the trend

You may have heard of Simpson this past session for making a similar argument on a different topic: weed.

“I don’t believe when God made marijuana he made a mistake that government needs to fix,” he wrote in op-ed in the Texas Tribune in March. “In the name of protecting the public, certain substances have been declared evil and contraband.”

In early May, seemingly out of nowhere, his bill decriminalizing marijuana statewide passed in committee. It was surprising that legislation by Simpson, who has bucked his party’s leadership even before he entered the Capitol in 2011.

First elected in 2010 in an upset over long time Rep. Tommy Merritt, an ally of Speaker Joe Straus, he has vocally opposed the speaker, who is disliked by numerous Tea Party Republicans. Simpson last cycle was one of the “Turner 19” who voted for Rep. Scott Turner, R-Frisco, for speaker over Straus. During the 83rd legislative session, Simpson even ran against Straus, though he ultimately withdrew his candidacy before the vote.

But over time, like some of his other rebellious but conscientious fellow Tea Party, he has gained his colleagues’ respect for being so gosh darn nice.

To be fair, Simpson has never been a LGBT ally. He won’t politically be on the front lines in the battle for legal recognition. He’s consistently been a darling of the religious right restricting women’s reproductive freedoms (which is none too surprising) but he wasn’t the face of the movement this session.

The government may mean different things to us, and Simpson and I likely disagree on the government’s role in addressing various inequities. In his genuine pursuit of individual freedom, the guy also makes a compelling point – even if you don’t agree with it. And that seems to be his point.

—  James Russell

“Wise Kids” kicks of Q Cinema’s spring series

Q Cinema’s spring multi-day festival is just around the corner, but you can get a taste of queer cinema with The Wise Kids, February’s monthly screening in Fort Worth, in Wednesday.

The coming-of-age comedy-drama — about three Church kids confronting one’s homosexuality — was an award-winner at the gay OutFest film festival last year. It’s a savvy look at Christianity confronting the real world. Tickets are $10. The screening is at Four Day Weekend Theatre at 312 Houston St. in Cowtown, starting at 8 p.m.

The other films and dates in the spring series are:

• Tomboy on March 28

Kawa on April 25.

For more information, visit QCinema.org.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Gays war against Christianity, says prominent ‘culture war’ Knight

Robert Knight will once again tell us who we are, what we want, and why we do what we do:

Like other terms that swiftly achieve common usage, “sexual orientation” is rarely examined. Yet “sexual orientation” is more than a neutral term that can be used to describe anyone’s sexual inclinations. It is a radical challenge to the beliefs of all major Robert-Knightreligious faiths because it attacks the notion that sexual behavior has moral dimensions. It especially challenges Christianity.

The underlying concept of “sexual orientation” is that all sexual behavior is equally valid and equally valuable to society. There are no good choices or bad choices, just desires. “Sexual orientation” laws are the legal embodiment of the old ’60s slogan, “If it feels good, do it.” However, the orthodox Christian view is that people who embrace sinful behavior as an identity are to be challenged like any other sinner, and they should be assisted in resisting temptation and overcoming it. They are to be encouraged to repent and avail themselves of the healing power of Jesus Christ. “Empowering” a particular sin serves only to trap sinners and encourages them to continue practicing their sinful behavior. That is why “supporting “gay rights” based on the relativist notion of “sexual orientation” is the opposite of Christian compassion, however well meant.

Over the past 90 years, a steady campaign has unfolded to overthrow Christian morality and replace it with an amorality that says desires in and of themselves validate behavior. It has been advanced largely by hijacking the rubric and moral capital of the black civil rights movement and attempting to apply such rhetoric to gain support for same-sex behavior. The political Left has long been at war against sexual morals for strategic reasons.“

Robert H. Knight, How the Concept of “Sexual Orientation” Threatens Religious Liberty, 4 Liberty University Law Review
[ADF Alert]

Uhm, Mr. Knight: “Sexual orientation” is not a mere term. It’s not political rhetoric. Sexual orientation is science. Is research. Is truth about the human condition’s full spectrum.

Sexual orientation isn’t an “If it feels good, do it” notion. Instead, it is an “If it *is* you, live it” reality. So it’s one thing to choose religious beliefs that both see and bring problems to certain people on the basis of their relational cores (a.k.a. sexual orientations). But these anti-[certain citizens] theological convictions must deal with the world as it actually exists, not vice versa. And of course civil government must deal with this actuality free from church interference.

Does supporting rights based on scientifically-recognized sexual orientation free from some people’s personal faith (and in ways that fully match pro-gay people’s faith beliefs) constitute an attempt “to overthrow Christian morality and replace it with an amorality that says desires in and of themselves validate behavior“? Of course not! The truth is that folks like Robert Knight have, for decades, been using their own cherry-picked sense of what is and is not kosher under Christian moral code (incidentally: non-kosher food is totally fine) to replace America’s actual range of citizenship with only a limited span, all of whom agree to sidle whole hog onto the religious right’s own myopic vision. The anti-LGBT throngs’ constant message: That everyone else must deny their own feelings, beliefs, and learned interpretations of constitutional law, so as to allow “pro-family” values an unfettered reign. Which for LGBT people always boils down to either living a fake life or losing fair and equal citizenship. Which for both LGBT people and allies means a denial of their own morality (or even the possibility that such people could have moral compasses).

So who’s really been on the strategic path in this country? Is it (1) those who’ve fostered better understanding of the world’s diverse people and connected dots about how and why all humans can and should coexist civilly and peacefully; or (2) the crowd that’s undertaken a complex, highly financed, extremely (even admirably) tactical, decidedly code word-laden “culture war” against supposed undesirables? Because from where we sit, we see one side that would give anything to stop fighting and simply live, and another, highly-motivated crew that refuses to let that easy reality come to pass. We see a war that we never wanted or declared, but are now conscience-bound to fight.




Good As You

—  David Taffet

Today In Loving Christianity

Just added to the YouTube channel of Pastor Donald Spitz, whose Army Of God ministry usually spends its time defending the murderers of abortion providers. Clip labels:

Criminalize Homosexuality, Homosexual activist, Scott Lively, Abiding Truth Ministries, Pink Swastika, Donald Spitz, sodomite, Jesus Christ, Holy Bible, gay, queer, faggot, sexual deviant, lesbian, moffie, pink, Christianity, inspirational.

Joe. My. God.

—  David Taffet