Nothing against Texas. Great state. Not to be messed with. But: unless I’m mistaken, Texas politics seem to have a higher-than-average crazy quotient. Consider this (highly unscientific) sample of recent tidings from the Lone Star state.
• Just yesterday the State Senate passed a measures allowing people to go around with concealed weapons on university campuses and another making it just fine for current and former legislators, elected officials and some state employees to pack heat virtually everywhere.
• Texas lawmakers recently passed a law requiring doctors to perform a sonogram before conducting an abortion and to provide the woman with the opportunity to see the results and hear the fetal heartbeat. The doctor is also required to describe what the sonogram shows.
• Late last year the conservative U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit sanctioned a former high school cheerleader because she brought a lawsuit claiming she shouldn’t be required to cheer for her alleged rapist, a star on the football and basketball teams. The court called her suit ‘far-fetched and frivolous.’
• Gov. Perry issued an official proclamation drawing on his constitutional authority designating three April days as Days of Prayer for Rain. It read, in part: ‘I urge Texans of all faiths and traditions to offer prayers on that day for the healing of our land, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of our normal and robust way of life.’
• In May, with the end of the legislative session looming, and important issues unresolved, business in the Texas legislature ground to a halt courtesy of a fight over a law regulating ‘puppy mills.’
• In April, Texas lawmakers began considering whether to ban state courts from considering foreign religious or cultural laws, such as Islamic Shariah law. Said Rep. Leo Berman, sponsor of an anti-Sharia bill, ‘We all know what Shariah law does to women — women must wear burqas, women are subject to humiliation and into controlled marriages under Shariah law. We want to prevent it from ever happening in Texas.’
• Last December, a reporter from the Texas Observer obtained an email exchange between two Republican state legislators about efforts to oust the (Jewish) House Speaker. ‘We elected a house with Christian, conservative values,’ one wrote. ‘We now want a true Christian, conservative running it.’ Confronted with the email, one of the men pushed back: ‘I got into politics to put Christian conservatives into office. They’re the people that do the best jobs over all.’