The big news out of Livingston Parish, Louisiana—and how often you can say that?—is state Republican (of course) Representative Valarie Hodges renouncing her once-solid support of Governor Bobby Jindhal’s pet education project, a school voucher program that would use taxpayer money to allow students to attend “private” religious schools in lieu of public schools.

Hodges (who looks like someone’s sweet, peach-cobbler-baking mom, btw), had been super keen on the idea until a Muslim school applied to be part of the program.

That’s when she went all Deuteronomy on school vouchers.

Her freakout after learning that the sacred freedom-of-religion guarantee in the Constitution extends to all religious groups, not just the televised KKKristian kind, led Hodges down the worn path of southern political hyperbole—what we all here in the North call “bald-faced lying.”

Lied Hodges to local media: “There are a thousand Muslin schools that have sprung up recently. I do not support using public funds for teaching Islam anywhere here in Louisiana … We need to insure that [the voucher program] does not open the door to fund radical Islam schools.

“I actually support funding for teaching the fundamentals of America’s Founding Fathers’ religion, which is Christianity, in public schools or private schools.”

Deadpanned the Livingston Parish News: “Hodges mistakenly assumed that ‘religious’ meant ‘Christian.’


Hodges not walking alone down that beach


If you think this sort of “The Muslims are Coming!” Dollar Store dumbfuckery is limited to one crazy, majority-elected lady in some backwater bayou fuckhole who can’t spell her own first name right, you might check out the Religion chapter in Better Off Without ’Em (which comes out August 14).

In that chapter, I recount sitting in a completely unexceptional Wednesday night Baptist service during which a preacher warned an aghast congregation that six new Muslim mosques were being built right here in Mobile, Alabama, for the express purpose of announcing Islam’s victory in its war to conquer America.

The six mosques of Mobile were phantoms (lies), just as Hodges’ “a thousand Muslim schools” in Louisiana are phantoms (lies).


The weird thing? Hodges is absolutely right!


But here’s the really crazy part—I actually agree 100 percent with Representative Hodges and her paranoid southern brethren!

Like her, I don’t think taxpayer money should be used to support or promote a batshit nuts religion like Islam.

That’s a redistribution of wealth that makes Obamacare look downright Reaganesque.

Of course, I don’t think taxpayer money should be used to promote the “private” functions of Born Again radicals, either, any more than it should be funneled to the Mormons (enough money already), Scientologists (not till we see some hard evidence of our alien overlords), Catholics (what, for more Sanduskian cover-ups?) or any other faith-based operation.

It’s called freedom of religion, not free money for religion.


What Better Off Without ’Em really means


This is what a lot of people don’t and probably won’t understand about Better Off Without ’Em—that the phrase cuts both ways, that both sides of the debate actually agree on the fundamental principles, even if for completely different reasons.

That I’m just as sick of the tyranny of morons and assholes and borderline seditionists imperiling the future of “my” country as southerners like Valarie Hodges are sick of the tyranny of morons and assholes and borderline seditionists imperiling the future of “their” country.