To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Thursday, July 18, 2024


Sending Your Money To The Pope


That’s what a vote by a non-elected-to-anything board earlier this week could do with some of your Oklahoma tax money because, as my friend Gov. Frank Keating used to tell me, money is fungible. That means it is interchangeable, in one pocket out the other, from a purse to a billfold, to the Pope’s bank account in Rome from yours in Poteau, OK.

Just how the hell could that happen, my friend Billy Joe Bennett over at Ruby’s Cafe in Purcell asked me this morning? When I explained to him it was all about lawmakers and their pawns not keeping their oaths of office, what B.J. said is not printable in this family friendly article. But let me just report it was a bunch of four-letter words mixed in with words like “God” and another one was S%#Thead, and a third one I can’t remember.

You probably get my drift.

So, before the greasy grits and gab deteriorated any further, I explained to Billy Joe that some people in the Legislature, including those who represent him, want to start more private schools and put $250 million of tax money over at the Tax Commission for people to apply for to send their kids to a Catholic Church.

Best estimate is that the first church school, Isidore Something, would knock down about $25 million in its first five years and they would teach the kids all on Zoom – no in person, no school buildings, no particular requirement for teachers to be certified, no security or meals provided because the kids would all be at home.

Well, the more explaining I did, the angrier B.J. and his two buddies got, and they really blew their tops when I advised them this whole plan to give the Pope some of their money was originated by Gov. Kevin Stitt.

And that’s when they asked me to leave the table because they voted for Stitt and knew he wouldn’t be for the Catholics because he told them he was a born-again Christian, just like they are.

Well, to calm things down, I paid for their coffee, left my cold grits to get colder, and headed out the door to go visit the Catholic Church in Purcell to see if I could meet the local priest and some of the nuns I heard would be teachers pretty soon.

No one was there, but a note on the door said to check back with them in 2024 when they said they would be one of the locations for the first-in-America-ever of a religious institution getting public money to teach our kids.

Since I’m from Lexington, located just across the bridge, I know a lot about Purcell and it has wanted to be first in something for a long time and now it will be unless that damn Oklahoma Attorney General, Gentner Drummond, is right and this whole scheme is illegal, unconstitutional and can’t be done, which is why it has never been done since about 1776 when a fellow named James Madison wrote the First Amendment about not mixing up the state and religion.

But, hell, things change and maybe the goobers in our Legislature are right today and Madison was wrong back then. After all, Madison got beat a couple times when he ran for some offices other than president, which he won, and it seems our lawmakers [I shouldn’t have called them goobers] get re-elected most of the time so the people must like their views of the Constitution better than what Madison thought when he wrote it.

Well, that makes me feel better, but I still want to meet those nuns if for no other reason than to see if they still wear those funny outfits. As for getting to know of the local priest, I’ll take a pass on that because I heard growing up that some priests didn’t exactly behave themselves with some of their students in church school.

I’m sure that doesn’t happen anymore, but since this whole Stitt scheme might not even ever happen, why risk it?

P.S. Just so you know, B.J. and his two friends are just figments of my imagination. However, the nuns, pope, priests and the illegal use of your tax money are not. And by the way, Keating is a devout Catholic and tried this same nonsense back 20 years ago when he was governor and I was a senator, but because some of us in the Legislature had heard of the Constitution, we decided we should follow it instead of Frank.

I’m glad we did but I have to admit if I ever get to go to Rome I would like to meet that priest because I doubt he would have become The Pope if he had ever behaved the way a bunch of others did before they got caught.

And our goofy lawmakers worry about alleged pornographic books in public school libraries, mythical teachers molesting kids after school, who’s peeing in which bathrooms, standing or sitting, and other nonexistent problems while at the same time they park $250 million of your tax dollars in the same regulatory environment that created the ongoing EPIC scandal.

Where do you voters find these fools? And more importantly, why do you keep them? I would ask B.J. but remember he doesn’t even exist.

Cal Hobson
Cal Hobson
Cal Hobson, a Lexington Democrat, served in the Oklahoma Legislature from 1978-2006, including one term as Senate President Pro Tempore.