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The Texas Showdown

By June 26, 2013 5 Comments

11:45PM 6/25

I’m sitting on edge watching the Texas senate showdown. There are 15 minutes left and Senator Davis has been filibustering for over 12 hours. She has been on her feet with no water, no leaning on the podium, no bathroom breaks, and constant talking to the point of SB-5, a state proposed law that would highly regulate a woman’s choices during her pregnancy.

By April of 2013 states had already proposed 694 provisions related to a woman’s body, how she gets pregnant, or how she chooses to end that pregnancy.

How many state proposed provisions in 2013 have been about men’s bodies? Zero.


11:50PM 6/25
Senator Leticia Van De Putte (D-San Antonio), having returned from funeral services for her deceased father, was informed she would not be recognized because the Senate had moved onto a new motion (there was a lot of amending, appealing, and calling order – reminded me of Synod).

Her response: 


Drop mic! 

Which then lead to this sound of democracy for the next 10 minutes:

In walk the troopers which commences the arresting of protestors.

12:00 AM 6/26

Cheers erupt. We made the deadline! Senator Davis’ efforts are paid off because they can’t take a vote after session.

Oh wait. That’s not how patriarchy works. Patriarchy (in this case, sin) bends the rules. Though they aren’t, by law, allowed to take a vote after midnight they still do and SB5 passes. In the words of @HugoSchwyzer on twitter last night: Patriarchy is when you can break the law in front of a room full of protesting women, and they’re the ones who get arrested.

Interesting to note this picture that shows the senate officially changing the date from 6/25 to 6/26 when the decision was made (again, after the midnight deadline).


2:19 AM 6/26

Here I am processing and trying to figure out what just happened to democracy in America. I’m processing and wondering where God is in this? If you are a conservative then perhaps you are saying God is reflected in the passing of SB5. You are probably cheering on more restrictions of women’s bodies during pregnancy. If you are liberal then you might be saying God was the one holding up Senator Davis for 13 hours yesterday and God was in every person who raised his or her voice in the senate chambers.

I’m coming off of watching RCA General Synod online where I am reminded that I am a political junky. It felt natural to close the Synod live stream and turn on the Texas senate live stream. I get excited about people raising their voices and passionately telling us why they believe what they do and why we should vote in line with their thinking. I get excited about democracy.

Where was God, to me? Sustaining each and every person, even the ones I disagreed with.

Am I disappointed about the vote in Texas tonight? Yes. I don’t know if I am more disappointed, or equally so, in the way rules were thrown out the window tonight. Patriarchy got the last word in. Democracy was not honored.

I am hoping for a brighter day from SCOTUS tomorrow. So while I lament and while I hope, I know God is right there in the midst of both of those feelings. I am an activist because my hope is in Jesus. I am a progressive activist because of how I read the Gospels. The Christ I know leads me to care about the issues I care about in the way I care about them.

It’s way past my bedtime and I still need to honor some quiet time with God.

Grace and Peace, sisters and brothers in Christ. 

8:02 AM 6/26

I wake up to the good news from Senator Wendy Davis:

Thanks to the powerful voices of thousands of Texans, #SB5 is dead. An incredible victory for Texas women and those who love them.

This is democrcy. This is what happens when women raise their voices and ensure they are heard. 

This is why it’s crucial for activists to know the rules better than others. We know the rules in order to subvert & transform.

Here’s a brief recap from CNN:

SB5 is dead and now I wait to hear from SCOTUS. What a 48 hours it has been in American politics and in our courtroom!


Joy and Peace of Christ to all.






Jes Kast

The Reverend Jes Kast is an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament and serves West End Collegiate Church as their Associate Pastor.


  • SSB says:

    Thank you for taking the time to post on this topic, and to frame it theologically for readers. As a transplant to TX and a PCUSA clergywoman it was been rough at times to serve in my new home state. The Bible belt feels a bit like the wilderness for Reformed thought and ministry. But, it is home, and I am proud of the many women and men who are working for justice, civility, and democracy here.

  • Andrew says:

    Another Texan here, wishing I could write as cogently as you! But a couple of concerns: I 'amen' your point that common grace is the condition of possibility for political process, but I worry about the suggestion that 'common grace' should incline us to confidence in democratic procedural justice or that the working of the procedure in and of itself beckons a shout of praise. After all, common grace has a telos, and so only when the process issues forth in the better stewardship of life are we beholding a trophy of common grace. A related point: I also worry that narrating this event in terms of male-female conflict is (ironically) blind to much common grace and risks engendering an embattled identity for women and false guilt for pro-life men. Many things problematize your claim that gender conflict is at the root of the abortion debate: the recent polls showing that a greater % of women than men are pro-life, or the list that could be made of recent laws that regulate men's bodies, etc. But the main point I want to register is that I think we must be very careful to reflect in our political commentary that God calls us in Christ to work from and towards his peaceable kingdom that is, praise God, 'at hand'.

  • Keith says:

    Interesting how you want to reflect theologically on what happened in the Texas legistlature, but you leave no room for people to object to abortion on a theological level.

    It seems as though you define abortion restrictions as merely male intrusions on a woman's freedom. Many of us oppose abortion not because we view women as objects whose rights we wish to trample, but rather because we feel that it is the sinful termination of a God created life.

  • Peter says:

    I am curious as to why you believe abortion is a good thing. It all comes down to one question: What is the unborn? If it is human, then there is no adequate justification for abortion. If it is not a human, then abortion should be legal across the board. So my question to you is, why don't you belive that a child in the womb is human? What are your reasons to support abortion?

  • Jes says:

    Grace and Peace of Christ, Peter —

    Please don't misunderstand me, I believe in empowering women to have control over their own bodies. I don't believe in legislation restricting women's choices with their bodies. That's what my post is about.


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