Texas Liberal

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Harris County Republican Party To Hold Convention At Grace Community Church

The Harris County Republican Party will be holding its 2012 convention at one outlet of the Grace Community Church chain.

From the Harris County Republican Party

“… we will be having our County/SD Convention on Saturday, April 21st at Grace Community Church, 14505 Gulf Freeway, Houston, TX 77034. Please mark your calendars for this date! We will update the website as further details are finalized.”

I imagine that Grace Community Church is a tax-exempt outfit.

Yet the Harris County Republican Party convention will be held at Grace.

The Pastor of Grace is Steven Riggle.

Here is some recent news about Mr. Riggle from the Houston Chronicle—

“Taking advantage of his mega-church pulpit on Sunday morning, Pastor Steve Riggle of Houston’s Grace Community Church advanced his crusade against Mayor Annise Parker’s public support for same-sex marriage by urging Houston’s lesbian mayor to either stand up for traditional marriage “or do the honorable thing and step down.”…Speaking at the congregation’s 10 a.m. service, Riggle promised some 3,000 worshippers “the shortest sermon that has ever been preached in this congregation.” After reading 25 Bible versions of the Genesis account of marriage as a man “leaving his father and mother and being joined to his wife,” Riggle spent the next 50 minutes reading a letter he wrote to Parker last week, summarizing her response and then reading a new letter he has written to the mayor…At the morning service, Riggle also objected to the description of Parker’s partner as “the First Lady of Houston.”

(Top Texas political blogger Perry Dorrell has more on this at Brains & Eggs.)

The issue is not if Mr. Riggle hates gay people. I have no idea what Mr. Riggle feels in his heart. I have no idea how Mr. Riggle sees any issue other than his stated views on gay marriage. The issue is that Mr. Riggle supports policies that would deny free Americans the basic right to get married.

Why is the Harris County Republican Party comfortable holding any event at Grace Community Church? How is the prohibition of gay marriage consistent with keeping government out of people’s lives?

Well…If you are in league with statewide Texas Republicans who enacted in our legislature what some see as state-sponsored rape in the form of the Texas forced sonogram law, and that is going after cancer screenings offered by Planned Parenthood in a state with the highest percentage of uninsured people in the nation, I would wager that Mr. Riggle’s opposition to gay marriage is small beans in the context of public policy that violates women and leads to people’s death.

(Here is information on the services provided by Planned Parenthood of the Gulf Coast. You can also make a donation at this site.)

March 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Annise Parker’s Ongoing Legislative Barrage On Houston’s Homeless—Isn’t The Dignity Of All People Connected?

For the third time in recent months, Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Houston City Council are considering regulations directed at homeless people.

From the Houston Chronicle

“Mayor Annise Parker is asking the council to adopt rules that would require organizations and people who feed the homeless to register with the city, take a food safety class, prepare the food in certified kitchens, serve only at three public parks, and leave those parks as clean as when they entered them…Councilwoman Helena Brown agreed and praised the speakers from groups who serve meals on the streets, telling them she hoped they’ll “have the freedom to do that and you don’t have to stop and say, ‘Wait a minute, I have to go visit City Hall first…”It’s kind of strange and ironic that they want to stop help. We have actually been called to do this, to help those in need,” said Edward J. Sweet Sr., Strait & Narrow’s bishop. “It’s kind of sad that they would want to stop different organizations who are trying to make a change.”…If adopted, the feeding rules would mark the third time in nine months that the council has acted to contain the city’s homelessness problem, which by some estimates has 13,000 people living on the street. Last July, the council expanded the area where it is illegal to sleep on the sidewalk per the city’s so-called civility ordinance. The next month, the council forbade panhandlers from coming within eight feet of patio diners…Parker said in her inaugural address in January that making progress on homelessness would be a priority of her second term. Her administration pitched the rule changes as a way to protect the homeless from food poisoning and allergies, although opponents insist there is no evidence to suggest any health threat from donated food.”

This item will be considered again on March 21. Thanks to Councilpersons Helena Brown and Wanda Adams for delaying this issue so there can be more public attention and debate.

Here is the press release from the Mayor’s office on this issue.  

Is this how Mayor Parker feels she can best meet her inaugural pledge to help the homeless?

The way we help the construction of soccer stadiums and of so-called arthouse movie theaters in Houston, is to give them millions of dollars in taxpayer dollars.

If you feel that these are good projects for Houston, why not also allocate resources to help those most in need in our city? Wouldn’t that be a good investment as well? How does a Sundance movie house merit more concern than do human beings out on the street?

Are we supposed to believe that three council initiatives directed at the homeless in a nine month stretch are about making the lives of the homeless better?

Mayor Parker has quite correctly spoken up in recent weeks about full rights in our society for people who happen to be born gay.

I don’t assume Mayor Parker holds these beliefs for the rights of gay folks because she is a lesbian.

My assumption is that Mayor Parker sees the rights and advancement of all people as connected. This is the underlying logic of any civil rights cause.

Yet Mayor Parker appears to view one segment of our population as meriting an extraordinary series of restrictive ordinances.

Not worthy of government subsidy in the fashion that Mayor Parker rewards multi-million dollar private enterprises with taxpayer dollars, and seemingly outside her conception of who merits full concern as an equal human being in our great City of Houston, the homeless find themselves under legislative and legal assault by Mayor Annise Parker and our Houston City Council.

March 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments