Texas Outlaw Writers Newsletter: GOP Jesus Edition
The political stunts continue as red state governors ship migrants across the country like political cargo. Evidently, Abbott is trading out migrants from Texas to DeSantis in Florida so that he can score some political points with his faux Christian base.
Historic parallels as these "reverse freedom rides" recall the transportation of southern blacks to northern cities in 1962. Southern racist governors sent a few busloads of blacks to known white enclaves like Cape Cod and Hyannis in an attempt to embarrass liberal, northern politicians.
The Queen is to be buried today after days of Brits waiting hours in miles-long lines to pay their respects. Biden plans to attend the ceremony. There will be a long pause in press coverage before Charles' coronation... evidently, he's officially king, but won't get his crown for months, perhaps in 2023. What's the over-under on how long before Big Ears abdicates? He's already laying off staff in an effort to "slim down" the monarchy. He doesn't appear to be thrilled about having to punch a clock and start keeping king hours. How long before he locks in a pension, claims some royal residence as his own, and then hands it off to Lil' Will? Poor Chuck, the pompous, privileged dullard can barely use a fountain pen before having a royal episode.
I would give more of a news roundup for the week but luckily Roger Gray included all sorts of updates and commentary in his post. We've got a packed issue this week with not one, but two new guest contributors. And they're great and experienced writers to have with us. Heck, I even had a piece to contribute... so get started...and pace yourselves...
There IS some important stuff for Roger to review, and so much of the news these days is going to affect the upcoming midterm elections. Energy for the upcoming Texas winter, the firestorm over abortion, changing Texas demographics and of course, a black Little Mermaid. We know, and we're concerned about the mermaid thing as well.
The ugly fight against immigrants continues, unabated.
You've heard of the Jefferson Bible, right? You know Tom Jefferson, the good Christian founding father? Well, mostly Christian. OK, more deist than "traditional" Christian. Overall, Tommy J. believed rational thought should guide one's views of religion. He was an Enlightenment guy. As such, he decided to slice up the New Testament, quite literally, with a razor blade. He cut and pasted the Gospels, leaving only the "simple teachings" of Jesus while removing the miracles, mysteries, and superstitions. He didn't care for the resurrection story and redacted it, too. He thought his version would be a bit more simpatico with a world built on reason.
He left in most of the words of Jesus. “The doctrines which flowed from the lips of Jesus Himself are within the comprehension of a child." -T.J.
Like some of the words from Matthew 25:
“...‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ ... ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."
To view current GOP rage over immigration and the current actions taken against immigrants - the bussing, the chartered planes, the railroad cattle cars (can they be far behind?) - makes it apparent that today's GOP, too, has their own Bible. Very different than Jefferson's, the opposite really. The mysteries, the miracles - all back in (and taken literally.) The actual teachings... mostly gone. The Greatest Commandment ("Love your neighbor as yourself") is gone. Republican Jesus, it seems, has gone Old Testament on us, and he may be packing.
Jim Moore has covered issues along the southern border for decades. He doesn't see a lot of Republican concern for the Least of These.
[note: this story is available as an online audio read, the player is at the top of the story.]
Not one, but two new contributors to the TOW Newsletter!
Recently retired, Larry Weidman had a long career as a producer with NBC News. NBC posted him in Germany, Italy and Israel, in addition to many, many decades in Texas. He has a love of history and a real fondness for poring over news media archives to get a sense of the historic record.
His great-great-great grandfather arrived at the San Jacinto Battlefield the day after the battle. Larry likes to think that he would have gotten there before the charge and reported the Breaking News of Santa Ana's surrender... LIVE!
That eminent philosopher “Unknown” is said to have said: "Words are seeds that do more than blow around. They land in our hearts and not the ground. Be careful what you plant and careful what you say. You might have to eat what you planted one day." Larry has eaten his share of words, but he’s also read a few which have grown in fertile ground. Seems that there are a lot of folks that would like to plow those words under, bury them for good.
Rob D'Amico hangs out in the ghost town of Shafter, TX, near an old abandoned silver mine somewhere in the desert between Marfa and Mexico. (He takes this Outlaw stuff seriously!) A journalist that loves long-form investigative work, Rob wanted to find a place where he could publish some shorter pieces, and we are glad to have him. Several of us knew him through his podcast, "Witnessed: Borderlands." The series was released in the summer of 2021. It's "the tall-but-true tale of a charismatic outlaw, an iconic small-town sheriff, and the record-setting drug bust that ensnared them both. Set in the rugged Texas borderlands, Rob transports listeners back to U.S. side of the border for the opening salvo of the War on Drugs … where so much dirty money was swirling across the Rio Grande that even the most incorruptible citizens would be tempted."
As he rode around West Texas gathering information and interviews for "...Borderlands," it took Rob a while to get acclimated to the place and the peole that called it home. He found that it was easy to make wrong assumptions about rural communities in the middle of the desert. And more than once he was pleasantly surprised by what he did find.
Ooooh,ooooh, pick me! I've got a piece this week!
So speaking of deadlines... I was hoping to get this out before the recent CNN documentary "No Ordinary Life" aired. In fairness, I thought it would repeat several times. Consider the post an epilogue and not a preview.
"No Ordinary Life" explores the trailblazing work of female news videographers on the front lines of war, who captured some of the most vivid images of conflict and revolution across the globe only after overcoming hurdles owing to gender discrimination..."
I (along with several of the Outlaws) worked with one of the featured female photojournalists years ago when we were all at the CBS affiliate in Houston. As I started getting information for this post, everyone wanted to talk about her. Lots of Houston media folks had a story about Margaret Moth. She was talented, funny, whip-smart, and (the one word that practically everyone used to describe her,) fearless. The headline for her career is that she was shot while covering the war in Bosnia. But there was a helluva lot more to Margaret Moth than a bullet.
A couple of quick "must reads."
In line with Jim's "Least of These" post, be sure and check out the Pew survey on the decline of Christianity in the U.S. By 2070 if the current rate continues, less than half of American swill consider themselves Christian.
A great review of the new book about how Jack Welch of GE fame "broke" capitalism (and how it can be fixed.) Check it out.
I want to see this movie. "Vengeance," a movie set in West Texas...B.J. Novak (of "The Office" fame) wrote it and plays the lead... he travels to rural W. Texas (Pecos) to attend the funeral of an old hookup that died under mysterious circumstances. Oh, and rather than have the town hang out in a dark old wooden floored bar or a diner full of formica tables... they hand out at Whataburger. So they got that going for 'em.
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