Lance Saves Christmas

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He’s at it again. “Our” representative, Lance Gooden, has kicked the 2014 Primary campaign into high gear by sending us a mailer on December 19th & 20th. This one was disguised as a Christmas card. The “Christmas” card states:

When atheists attacked the Athens, Texas nativity display, Representative Lance Gooden worked to pass a bill that allows Texas public schools to display nativity scenes and other religious symbols on school grounds. The bill also allows teachers to educate students about the history of Christmas and its significance to Christians. This is an important victory in our ongoing fight for religious freedom against liberal activists who oppose our traditional values and way of life. (emphasis mine)

I will always give credit where it is due, and I commend all representatives and senators who voted for this bill, including Gooden. But some context is desperately needed here. If all you knew was what you read on the mailer, you would be inclined to believe that Gooden led the way & was instrumental in getting House Bill 308 passed.

Yet the record shows that he was not the author, co-author, sponsor, or even co-sponsor of 308. The bill was set up to be automatically approved & passed because it was uncontested. All Lance had to do was be present on the floor of the House of Representatives on May 8, 2013 to recorded as a “yea.” And he calls that “work.”

The bill was designed to protect students and staff in public schools who want to participate in “winter celebrations” from lawsuit hungry, atheist malcontents.

Most of 308 simply reiterates current federal law, which is already intrusive and unconstitutional. 308 gives schools the right to “display on school property scenes or symbols associated with traditional winter celebrations . . . such as a nativity scene . . . if the display includes a scene or symbol of more than one religion or one religion and at least one secular scene.” Instead of passing a bill nullifying this outrageous federal overreach, the legislature passed its own version in order to uphold religious liberty, if you want to call it that. The Constitution says that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. How far we have fallen!

It should also be noted that the protest in Athens concerned a nativity scene located on the lawn of the Henderson County Courthouse, and had nothing to do with schools. I would like to know why 308 didn’t include all state & local government properties in Texas. Perhaps “our” representative knows.

Voters should know that Gooden’s opponent, Dr. Stuart Spitzer, attended the 2011 protest in support of religious freedom, but “our” representative was not there. Must have been busy or something.

Bills placed on the Local & Consent Calendar are considered to be noncontroversial, and generally pass by huge margins. 308 would have passed easily whether Gooden voted for it or not, though the mailer suggests otherwise.

On March 4th, vote for Stuart Spitzer. Unlike Gooden, he lives and works in our District, and his votes will reflect his (and our) values and principles. He will not need to take credit where it is not due because he will represent us . . . instead of himself.

Jan Shedd
Kaufman County Tea Party
12.28.13