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Friday, February 29, 2008

Smokey Briggs

Sage Views

By Smokey Briggs

Should West
Texas go XXX?

Garth Brooks once sang a song titled, “Thank God for Unanswered Prayers,” or something close.

That is what came to mind as I read in The Monahans News about the well-intentioned outrage voiced at the recent public hearing regarding XXX businesses possibly operating in Ward County.

According to the article this is an issue that communities from Odessa to El Paso may have to deal with in the near future as XXX business owners look for new locations.

From what I gather, most of the folks attending the meeting want the commissioners to make things as tough as possible on these sinful businesses, or better yet, just deny them access to Ward County.

I agree, but with one caveat – the same rules that the Commissioners apply to these XXX outfits need to be applied to every other business in the county, and I count churches as businesses.

While concern for the morals of our community is admirable, infringing on other people’s rights is not the path to freedom, and is simply immoral.

Freedom is the underlying principle that makes this country different from nearly every other nation in history (while we have lost much, we still have more than most, and we should safeguard our freedom like misers safeguard their gold).

What those opposed to XXX businesses are demanding is that their majority-elected, county government make life intolerable for these outfits in Ward County.

I stress the term “majority-elected.”

It takes 51percent of the vote to elect a county government. Maybe you are comfortable today that your elected officials think like you – but what about the day when they do not?

What about the day when 51percent of your county government thinks strip clubs are great, and Christian churches are a drag on “progress?”

Unfortunately, the principle is no different. Majority rules, right?

And that is why we have principles such as property rights, which are protected by law and from the whim of today’s majority – whether you want to build and altar to God, or the devil, on your property.

Or take it the other direction.

Today it is popular with many Christian congregations to condemn nations such as Iran, which are governed by an Islamic Theocracy.

But the government of Iran does a credible job of protecting its people’s morals by making sure outfits like strip clubs cannot operate. Maybe we should be hailing the Iranians as role model, rather than condemning them? They may not be free, but at least their morals are secure.


In the end it comes down to this: You cannot diminish one person’s freedom without diminishing your own.

The laws you embrace today can, and probably will, be applied against your tomorrow.

You may not like the idea of your county being home to a strip club, but that is the price you pay for living in a nation that tries to call itself free.

People are free to be moral (thank God) and immoral. They have the freedom to choose.

In the Bible, I think it is called free will.

So, in this case, I think I will pray that any prayers to outlaw XXX outfits in West Texas go unanswered.

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