Someone should remind Sam Brownback of the mess that followed when another governor got cagey about vacation plans.
Recall South Carolina’s Mark Sanford and the “hiking the Appalachian Trail” debacle? In this case, the out-of-state attraction most certainly is not an Argentine mistress.
In June, Brownback accepted Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s invite to Saturday’s day of prayer and fasting in Reliant Stadium.
He was the only governor to do so.
That either made him bold or foolish — depending on your point of view. (I’m voting foolish.)
Now he seems to be hovering in between. Brownback is unwilling to sever himself from, or completely align himself with, the lineup of homophobic zealots involved in the event.
The governor’s office on Wednesday would only confirm that it was the first day Brownback didn’t come in, and that he is on vacation. Whether he will show up at the Houston event (the travel costs will be paid by him) is a mystery. That’s the official word.
Is pandering to a religious conservative base important enough to Brownback that he’ll make an appearance?
Or, will he realize that he can maintain a stand for his faith, his right-leaning views, without impaling himself politically?
In my view, a governor has no business applauding in an audience, or kneeling in prayer, with people who say things like this: “Homosexuality gave us Adolf Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.”
That’s a quote from an American Family Association official, one of the organizing sponsors. Cuckoo.
It’s not unusual for politicians to show their religious sides. Thoughtful ones emphasize interfaith dialogue. This event is worrisome because of the past positions of some people involved, and its Christians-only theme.
Our region will have a strong presence, whether or not Brownback shows up.
Leadership of the International House of Prayer, headquartered in south Kansas City, is heavily involved. One was connected to an ugly situation in Uganda, involving anti-homosexual rallies there. The African nation is so homophobic that its legislature for a time considered the death penalty for gays.
I’m certain that most people, even those who might hold a religious-based opposition to homosexuality, would find that highly offensive.
The governor, like anyone, deserves time off. But as a public figure, Brownback represents all Kansans, even while relaxing. And some of them are gay.
If Brownback is halfway to Houston, he ought to just say so.