Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Mark Keough, Christian pastor teapot crackpot, now a Texas legislator!
I haven't been back to The Woodlands for several years and I'm not aware as to how things have changed or to what extent they have changed. But it appears that time has brought not more light but more darkness.
The Woodlands is a specially-created town built in large part by big oil. In general, it has been a haven for the well-to-do and powerful or those who want to be well-to-do and powerful. It has grown immensely over the years, spreading out for miles in an area just north of Houston. In my experience, many of those living in The Woodlands had a special sense of self; a sense they were just a little bit better than those living elsewhere; a sense of entitlement because of their money and their power.
These days money and power are mainly the provinces of Republicans. And The Woodlands is no exception. That's the way it's always been in The Woodlands. Mostly rich or well-off Republicans running the show.
What brought all of this reminiscing about was an article I read at Crooks and Liars by Juanita Jean. It is titled "Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition." It deals with a recently-elected Texas legislator named Mark Keough who also happens to be "senior" pastor of The Woodlands Bible Church.
I don't know Mark Keough, and so far as I can recall, he wasn't around The Woodlands when I was there. Neither was his church, The Woodlands Bible Church. Mark Keough, who attended a couple of fundamentalist seminaries where they teach the fundamentalist notion of Biblical inerrancy, and who has spent much of his life pushing luxury automobiles, somehow got the notion that he should be in politics so he could help convert the world to his Jesus. I say "his" Jesus, because the Jesus in which he believes is not the Jesus of the Gospels.
The Jesus of the Gospels said, "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's." In other words, Jesus told his disciples to do the work of God in the world, which was always about healing the sick, helping the poor, and visiting those in prison, among other things. He didn't tell them to take over the government so that they could run the government according to their own beliefs.
Jesus didn't speak much about "belief" or "faith" at all. That business of salvation by faith alone comes from St. Paul, not Jesus. And even Paul noted that "faith without works is dead." But Jesus spoke about doing. Do unto others! Take care of one another. Feed the hungry. Nor did Jesus speak of defending oneself or seeking revenge. In fact, he noted that God will be the judge and exact whatever revenge is necessary.
Mr. Keough has gotten himself elected to the House District 15 seat in the Texas Legislature. According to Ms. Jean, "He has decided to deliver his legislative plans and updates from the pulpit."
These plans include "bills ranging from offering statewide victim-offender mediation for punishments to reduce recidivism, eliminating gun-free zones, such as schools and churches, as well as shutting down 'sanctuary cities,' referring to municipalities that do not use local funds to enforce federal immigration laws."
And here's more of what Keough, a teapot crackpot, is all about:
"He has been involved in the Texas home school dialogue in its early stages and is an advocate of home school education. [Note that though he doesn't believe in public schools, he will have input into the mission and message of Texas public schools].
"Politically Mark calls himself a 'constitutional conservative'. [Oh, stop laughing!] He is an advocate of small business, free markets, fiscal responsibility, pro life, pro traditional marriage and family and small Government [sic]. He holds to the values of one national language (English), secure borders, (no amnesty or entitlements in either health care of education for illegal aliens) and to the preservation of the American Culture [sic] based upon its historical Judeo Christian Foundation [sic]."
But there's more! "Mark being a life time member of the NRA for over 20 years, he is a second amendment advocate and both he and his wife and two of his children possess Concealed Hand gun Licenses [sic].
"He is an avid hunter, fisherman and sporting clay enthusiast. He has hunted the American game as well as taken trophy plains game from South Africa Lipopo province."
[Please note that whoever wrote the above four paragraphs does not have a very good command of the English language. He or she was probably home-schooled!]
Jes like Jesus! You remember that fellow from 'bout 2,000 years ago, wandering around Palestine in his sandals and dirty old robe. He was always out in the desert hunting something. And he carried that big bad-ass saber under his robe in case some bad guy jumped him and he went on and on talkin' 'bout small business, and free markets and fiscal responsibility! You bet yer ass, he did. And he always bitched about abortions and traditional marriage and he thought the guv'mint of Rome was jest too damn big! I'm sure you recall Jesus railing about the fact that the people spoke Aramaic 'stead of Hebrew! He wanted one national language and preached about that when he failed to feed the hungry folks on the hill! One thing, though, Jesus didn't care much about was that Judeo-Christian stuff. The Judeo was OK, but hey, he was pretty much an orthodox Jew. And finally, Jesus didn't like foreigners who thought they ought to live within his borders. You remember a couple stories about them damn Samaritans, those dirty pesky illegals. Didn't he want the Romans to send 'em all back to wherever they came from? You sure as hell shouldn't try to help them.
Oh, wait, it was the other way around. Those illegals, Jesus thought, deserved the same treatment as his fellow countrymen.
Yes, I'm mocking the teapot crackpot, but where Keough really goes off the rails is in his belief that his election was a "divine appointment."
"We do believe that, as an extension of The Woodlands Bible Church, that this is almost as if it was a ministry as well. I approached it from that perspective. It sounds crazy, because you ask, 'where is the separation of church and state?' You tell me. Where is separation of church and state? It's not there. Somebody is determining the values of this culture and they are determining the values of those who hold public office, that are determining the future of your children, grandchildren and you. If the people in this position, as pastors and as Christian leaders, refuse to say anything, who is going to determine the perspective by which everybody lives, breathes and acts? The secularists, the humanists, the socialists? These are not empty words. This is what's taking place."
So the Texas legislature has another kook who disregards our history and Constitution, who would have us believe the nonsense that the United States of America always has been and remains a "Christian" nation, who lies about the Constitution and who intends that his service as a legislator be an "extension of The Woodlands Bible Church" the purpose of which will be to "determine the perspective by which everybody lives, breathes and acts..."
Talk about an ego-maniacal pulpit politico! Texas is full of them, unfortunately. Keough will, if he hasn't already done so, take an oath of office which involves a commitment to serve all the people of the State of Texas, no matter their race, religion or sexual orientation. And if he follows custom, he'll do so by placing his hand on a Bible.
But he's a damn liar, for the ministry of The Woodlands Bible Church is to convert everyone to faith in their particular Jesus. Thus, Mr. Keough has served notice that his first and most important job as a legislator will be not to the serve the people of Texas but to convert the people of Texas to his unfortunate religious persuasion.
And by so-doing, along with issuing political statements from the pulpit, he has violated the laws and the Constitution of the United States of America.
One thing for sure, the IRS ought to be all over his righteous behind and the tax-exempt status of his church should be revoked immediately.