As if Texas wasn’t already considered bat-shit crazy for our gunplay, seedy politics, and overall redneckery, now the Church of Scientology has our lunatic governor’s ear. A couple of days ago, Greg Abbott wielded his veto stamp like a Glock and cleansed the state of Senate Bill 359, a law that would have given doctors more power to detain mentally ill and potentially dangerous patients.
Scientologists don’t believe in mental illness. Otherwise, they’d all be locked up. They also have a long history of dodging taxes and abusing, bullying, and harassing anyone who opposes them, shaping laws to fit their bizarre worldview by dipping into their Scrooge McDuck-like lakes of cash. And in Texas, money talks –– even if the people handing it over think that a crude lie detector can exorcise your childhood traumas.
During committee hearings in both chambers, a range of mental health advocates, medical groups, and law enforcement officials testified in favor of the legislation. The bill sailed through the House and Senate with little debate and only a handful of negative votes.
Intended to provide a window of protection for doctors who sometimes find themselves choosing between illegally holding mentally ill patients and letting them leave with the real possibility that they might be a danger to themselves or the community, the legislation would have allowed hospitals to retain patients for up to four hours, allowing law enforcement to arrive and evaluate the situation.
But led by church lobbyist Lee Spiller, the Scientologists shouted down the law. In e-mails obtained by the Texas Tribune, Spiller wrote to first lady Cecilia Abbott, asking her to “please pass on my warmest regards and sincere thanks for upholding individual liberties and restoring my faith in our constitutional form of government.
“I have not forgotten about your last message,” he added. “Please consider yourself invited to our office, and any event we hold, anytime.”
He then asked to set up an “informal coffee … with a few close friends.”
So the first lady is having coffee with a group of people who believe an alien overlord named Xenu dropped frozen aliens from all over the galaxy into volcanoes on Earth before their souls eventually found their ways into the bodies of early humans. And now doctors have to release mentally unstable patients, even when doctors think those patients will do harm to themselves or others. Make sense? It doesn’t have to. We’re in Texas.