In the early 60s, I entered Texas Christian University as a freshman, and learned that this Christian Church-subsidized institution in Fort Worth, Texas required six hours -- two semesters -- of Judeo-Christian religion, the Old Testament first semester; the New, the next. While I found that I enjoyed these courses and in fact took another six hours of comparative religion the following year, it began to dawn on me that this was a place for the privileged. Only on scholarships (many for sports) did one see a brown or a black face, from Mexico or Uganda. (Actually, I am not certain if there was one African or African-American those years, but I had a Mexican roommate.) But my major pursuit (and my double major, along with English) was journalism, and it was as a journalist that I discovered the prejudices of the Christians.
The year that I won Sigma Delta Chi awards for best news story and best feature only to find that they were somewhat begrudgingly given to this particular honoree, I covered an event that the local media, cabal-like, refused to cover by "gentleman's" agreement, civil rights was such a burr under those Cowtown saddles. It seems that African-Americans were barred from sitting anywhere in movie theatres but in the balconies. (At that time almost all Fort Worth cinemas were ocated downtown.) My father had taught me that the Bill of Rights did not say, "all men but not all women and certainly no blacks, browns, gays, or lesbians, were created equal." And I must suppose that had he been a religious nut, Dad would have added that Jesus' table is an awfully big one: it has room for everyone. (As we all know, Jesus is just a myth, but such innocuous interpretation of N.T. scripture shouldn't upset any sane atheist.)
When my piece on the N.A.A.C.P. picketing of the movie theatres ran in the campus weekly, The Skiff, it was the only report in the city (perhaps in the state) about the people picketing, why they wanted to sit where all the white folks sat, and so forth. Although this news story was put on the front page of our student newspaper, the Fort Worth Star Telegram and the Fort Worth Press both refused to run it anywhere in their pages. They must have thought they could get away with it, the City Fathers and Media Men. But there it was, along with my pictures, on the front page of the student paper. I could envision City Hall taking a collective shit. A couple of years later, when the student advisor visited the "Startlegram" (as some wags had it) with post-graduate placement on his lips, the managing editor told him in no uncertain terms, "We don't have time to fuck with an angry young man." What an honor!
Rand Paul is Paul Rivere. This is the age of his mentality, his thinking on things. And I don't mean to insult Mr. Revere. Paul wants to turn back the clock. Down there in his blue-grassed Kentucky, with the Teabaggers consulting on his agenda, Paul would jettison the same Jim Crow laws that would prohibit Fort Worth movie theatres from forcing African-Americans back into balconies, just as they infamously allowed lunch counters in Southern cracker diners and drug stores to forbid seats to blacks. Rand Paul's ideas are not antediluvian; they're just regressive. Pick your century. As it turns out, he is a very religious man, too. And with that I have a problem.
Mr. Paul says that Christianity is "the basis of our society." These are the same folks who, In Texas, took Thomas Jefferson out of history books because the Founding Father was more interested in freedom from religion than freedom of religion. Rand Paul is a theocrat. Or at least a crypto-theocrat. He is downright scary. These people want to rewrite our laws to reflect not only Mosaic-canonical prohibitions but the dogmatic accretions as well: abortion, gay rights, the environment, and so forth. Rand Paul is a social conservative rerunning the race of 2000 and, to a lesser extent, the race of 2004. Rand Paul is a dangerous lunatic.