• For Heaven’s Sake, Not Near A Church

    Earlier today, a leading Tulsa paper issued a stern condemnation of State Senator Ralph Shortey:

    Shortly thereafter, Mr. Shortey resigned as State Senator:


    And to think, some people say the mainstream press doesn’t really matter anymore.

    In all seriousness, though, Ralph Shortey remains in a spot of legal trouble over an encounter allegedly arranged on Kik, which took place at a Super 8 motel in Moore, supposedly only 936 feet away from First Christian Church—as the crow flies (actually a half mile walk). Why does the distance to church even matter? Presumably this is because sexual predators are thought to turn hover around schools and churches looking for children to victimize. Hence, Oklahoma §21-1031(D):

    Any person violating any of the provisions of Section 1028, 1029 or 1030 of this title within one thousand (1,000) feet of a school or church shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for not more than five (5) years or by fines…

    Given that churches and schools excel at compelling compliance with adult authority, it makes a certain sort of sense to target those facilities for enhanced legal protection, though it is rather hard to imagine anyone bent upon sex crime taking the trouble to check their maps app for all the churches and schools which might be lurking nearby. Even a state lawmaker—presumably someone familiar with state law—might well forget to do so.

    Less easily explained is an obscure Oklahoma law prohibiting tattooing near a church:

    The State Department of Health shall not grant or issue a license to a body piercing or tattoo operator if the place of business of the body piercing or tattoo operator is within one thousand (1,000) feet of a church, school, or playground…

    Try as I may, no plausibly rational basis springs to mind here. My best guess is that churches, schools, and playgrounds are apt to have one particular feature in common, a certain sort of busybody inclined towards moral panic:

    These are, incidentally, just the sort of people who helped put Ralph Shortey’s preferred presidential candidate over the top. At this point, I could crudely grab for an opening, groping my way to the subject of how so many men with formal power and social influence seem to believe they can get away with sex crimes because of said power and influence, but that might be too much of an unwarranted reach. Better to just let it go.



    Category: Current EventsPolitics

    Article by: Damion Reinhardt

    Former fundie finds freethought fairly fab.