Through the tutelage of my mother I obtained and possess a deep abiding faith in the teachings of Christianity. I also consider myself a diligent student of self-government and the democratic process. Having spent 33 years in elected office, and even more working as a consultant in the legislative process, I have a close and in-depth view of how many politicians conduct themselves publicly and privately.
It makes me almost sick to my stomach to see some politicians use religion strictly for political purposes. A current example is our newly elected Attorney General who has confessed to violating laws amounting to a third degree felony, and when called on about his misconduct, he fled immediately to the sanctuary of churches. He appears to be seeking aid and comfort by publicly announcing his faith, leading congregations in prayer and filing frivolous lawsuits on behalf of the State purportedly to protect religious liberty. What can you call it other than pure hypocrisy?
In the sixth chapter of Matthew, Jesus reminded us that our conversations with the Almighty should be in private, and not held publicly — as the Pharisees and hypocrites would do, praying loudly in the Synagogue mainly to capture the attention of man to demonstrate their religiosity. How is this much different from the politicians who encourage and purportedly defend wanting to have prayer in school and at football games, and who try to make themselves heroes by defending the practice in court?
While in office, I was more than once approached by persons condemning me for not supporting the practice of having teachers announce when students should bow their heads and pray in school. They generally lamented the fact that Christianity was being attacked and that we were becoming a godless state and nation. Generally, I would respond to these people by asking whether or not they chose to have a daily prayer session in their home. Most had no favorable answer to this question other than a few who weakly claimed to say the blessing regularly at mealtimes. It seems to me we should concentrate on praying in home before we start telling other people when and where prayer should be had.
If they could, some of our politicians — like Ted Cruz or Ray Huckaby — would have America’s government patterned after the likes of ISIS or Saudi Arabia, where the government punishes you for failure to adopt the beliefs of the rulers. We would be much like those entities should we give in to the temptation of enforcing religious practices favored by the majority at the time. We could have jail sentences for buying contraceptives, working on Sunday or purchasing or consuming alcohol.
Some of the most flagrant hypocrisy demonstrated by our elected leaders has to do with the issue of abortion. Again, abortion is personally repugnant to me — but I do not believe that the issue of when life begins in the womb has been scientifically settled, but is a matter of faith with most people. We get in trouble with government every time we give into the urge to enforce religious beliefs by government edict. The hypocrisy of most of this is that many are very passionate about protecting the unborn such as our Governor, recently elected, who goes to great lengths to put roadblocks to legal abortions in the name of protecting the unborn. On the other hand, he does not lift a finger to try to help the half million children in Texas who are sick and dying because of Republicans’ obstinate refusal to accept the funds to cover these children with adequate medical care. It seems to me a true Christian would be as concerned about those children who have already been born as with those yet unborn.
If one is truly concerned about stopping women from aborting unwanted children, why not make contraception easier and more available? Why not streamline the procedure and encourage through tax incentives if necessary the adoption of unwanted children throughout this state.
It is my fervent belief that ever since the Old Testament, God has not appointed man-made judges to judge my religious conduct here on earth. It is also my belief that if politicians would concentrate on living religious their beliefs rather than using religion to get themselves elected or using government to impose their beliefs on others, we would all have a better country, state and community.