Quickies: Antibiotics from soil bacteria, can an atheist hold office in Texas, and Neil deGrasse Tyson’s new talk show


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. Yes, that law is in the Texas constitution but it is no longer enforced, if it were to be enforced and then challenged it would be found unconstitutional even with our current conservative court. But, to get rid of it would require a constitutional amendment that would never pass in Texas at this time.

    All kinds of goofy laws remain on the books after they are no longer enforced (anti-adultery laws, for example, are still on the books in ~20 states) and even in Texas the anti-sodomy laws that Lawrence v Texas struck down is still there.

    This is a non-issue that we need to stop worrying about, we’ve got much bigger fish to fry.

    1. Well put. The moment a candidate is barred from taking office, or from the ballot, because of one of these laws, we should raise hell and support a legal challenge, which would definitely be successful. Until then, these laws are exactly as meaningful as the ones you read about in lists of “crazy laws,” like “it’s illegal to walk your dog in front of a barber shop after 4 pm on a Tuesday in Nowheresville, IN.” North Carolina has a ban on atheists holding public office on the books as well, and it hasn’t stopped an out atheist from serving on Asheville’s city council, despite his political opponents’ attempts to make an issue of it. All the story from Texas reveals is that one candidate either has a pathetically weak grasp on the nature of law, or is willing to cynically misrepresent the law to her constituency to score political points.

    2. “even in Texas the anti-sodomy laws that Lawrence v Texas struck down is still there”

      You don’t believe that stopped Texas from passing laws designed specifically to hurt homosexuals, do you?

      While I agree with the “this is not important” sentiment, the idea that Texas is merely ignoring unconstitutional laws that are leftovers from a meaner past is wrong. Texas is still passing laws like this.

      Example: in 2009, long after Lawrence v Texas, Texas decided to amend the penal code regarding under aged sex with minors. They kept the close in age exception of 3 years, but excluded the close in age defense if the relationship is homosexual (sec 21.11, if you don’t believe me). This brazen violation of equal protection aimed squarely at persecuting teenage homosexuals was passed in 2009, 6 years after Lawrence v Texas.

      Now, I suspect any District attorney worth his salt is not going to try and prosecute in a 18 yo/ 16 yo homosexual relationship because he knows full well any conviction won’t survive a court challenge, but my point is Texas legislators are still passing laws against people certain segments of the conservative Christian population hate. This is not a relic of the past. This is today.

      1. I agree completely, in fact anti-gay legislation is an example of the bigger fish I was talking about. I used Lawrence v Texas as an example from Texas as the actual unconstitutional law remains in place but unenforced, I wasn’t suggesting that it’s proponents weren’t looking for a way to replace it.

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