June 30 Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

The Alpine Public Library is scheduled to screen God’s Not Dead: We the People on Sunday, July 3, at 2 p.m. I am totally opposed to this!

This movie is the fifth in a series of unequivocally evangelical films which espouse a Christian-right message that is clearly antithetical to the beliefs of those who do not share these values. The series –– with its cardboard cutout character representations –– is replete with anti-atheist and anti-Muslim sentiments, anti-gay and women beliefs, and anti-anything anti-evangelistic in nature. The five movies of this series -–– all self-proclaimed products of the Christian right –– seek to proselytize beliefs and demonize all those who do not subscribe. As one professed Christian movie critic noted about the first movie in the series, it’s “about as subtle as a stack of Bibles falling on your head.”

To show such a movie at a secular public library is, in my opinion, totally inappropriate and wrong. The movie is not being screened as part of a larger conversation on religion, with debate and the showing of additional films with opposing viewpoints, but as a stand-alone presentation. As such, one cannot help but associate the one-sided beliefs represented in this movie, or its prequels, with the library in a way contrary to that institution’s public status and to the general separation of church and state. I repeat: it is inappropriate and wrong.

Many of you who know me know that I have long-standing ties to the library and have always supported it as best I can. Friends who are equally committed to the library have advised me not to make an issue of this screening, fearing that my remarks might cause additional ramifications to the library (like the withdrawal of donations or volunteer service, on which the library is dependent). Yes, I hear you, and indeed, there may be blowback, but I believe something needs to be said to ensure that this otherwise excellent library finds its way back to the right path. I may be the only voice in the wilderness on this issue, but I intend to be out with a picket sign at the library on Sunday, July 3, from 1:45-2 p.m., immediately before the screening of God’s Not Dead: We the People, to state my point of view. Feel free to join me if you are so inclined.

Just one more thing: months ago, the library had scheduled an outdoor screening of the first movie in this series. I had protested then, but my words fell on completely deaf ears. The movie was never screened because a fluke windstorm prevented the showing. I considered this then, as I do now, an act of God!!!!

David M. Kowal




Since the unbelievable trifecta imposed by our “Supreme” Court last week I’ve watched and read scores of comments by activists, politicians and just ordinary concerned Americans. My favorite was written by Jill Filipovic in The Guardian. She wrote: “The devastating truth is that the current court is made up of a majority of nihilistic rightwing radicals seeking to impose their vision of a heavily armed male-dominated Christian theocracy on the rest of us.”

Wow! But is there truth to that? Well, the only woman among the male-dominated rightwing radicals who voted to overturn Roe was Amy Barrett, who is about as radical as the fringe can stand. Not to be overlooked is the hypocrisy of the majority opinion claiming that abortion should be a states-right decision, not a national one.

Confirming that hypocrisy was the declaration that a 108-year-old common sense gun law in New York should NOT be a states-right prerogative and therefore was declared unconstitutional. The implication of that ruling is that possibly no gun law will pass muster as constitutional. In keeping with the “originalist” bent of the current court, I say let’s make black powder muskets legal and every modern gun illegal (even the ones I own) except for guns of the “well regulated militias.” (Note: “regulated” is the key word here.)

The third of the court’s trifecta was the ruling in Maine which basically eliminates the separation of church and state as written in the Constitution. The overturned law provided for state educational funds for public and nonreligious private schools but not for religious schools. According to NPR, there are 37 state constitutions that ban public funding of religious schools. What’s next for those states, forced funding of religious schools? Okay, which religions? Does anyone really think a MAGA Republican will fund a Muslim school? 

The combination of these three court decisions makes clear that the “rightwing radicals” have indeed thrown the door wide open for the “Christian” theocracy they desire and shows how they use alternating constitutional reasoning to justify their decisions. Considering that the three Trump nominated justices should be in jail for lying under oath during their confirmation hearings (pretending Roe was established law, knowing they would overturn it at their first opportunity) further reinforces public opinion that the current “Supreme” Court is an illegitimate cabal of rightwing radicals.

Those who still claim to believe in our Constitution will have to make a decision come November. They can vote for forced pregnancy, guns without any meaningful regulation and a looming theocratic government, or they can vote for Democrats. Doesn’t seem like a hard choice to me, but I still want to believe in the Constitution that I swore allegiance to when I joined the Navy in 1965.

Fred Gossien



To the City of Marfa,

There are simply no words that can translate our gratitude and love. It is each and every single person in the Marfa community that brought Pride Marfa to life. It is y’all who help us uplift our queer and trans siblings in West Texas. We all feel such a deep sense of love and honor. Thank you. It is only because of you all that we could have pulled off such an incredible weekend. We thank you for aiding us in a celebration of queer love and light in the Far West Texas desert.

Although we owe the joy of Pride Marfa to the community, our sponsors, and partners, we cannot go without thanking some special souls that really made our weekend possible. Thank you to Abbey Boyd and Brenda Bentley, who were early guiding lights in helping us make our block party at the courthouse come to life. Thank you to Gory Smelley, whose incredible work allowed for each and every performer to look, sound and perform absolutely beautifully all weekend long. We would not be able to look back at the history that is the first Pride Marfa without Sarah Vasquez, who stuck by us at every event to capture the magic of each passing moment. We also thank Mary Cantrell and Travis Bubenik, who covered our stories in The Big Bend Sentinel and on Marfa Public Radio. Thank you to Mark and Kaki at Convenience West, Faith at Cactus Liquors, Gene at the Riata Inn, and Harry at Cloudy’s for taking such fabulous care of our awesome performers. A special thanks to Alex Gates of Cochineal, who first gave us the platform to be queer and visible in Marfa –– something we are now inspired to do for others as well.

We had the honor of sharing our weekend festivities with Agave Fest, a huge thank you to Tim Johnson and Caitlin Murray for seeing this as a wonderful opportunity to work together to bring Marfa an unforgettable weekend. Thank you Planet Marfa, The Sentinel and El Cosmico for letting us turn the spaces inside out for all of our dancing and celebrations. Thank you to every single volunteer who helped set up and break down each event –– truly the lifeblood of each and every event. To our donors and partners, it is through your generosity that we were collectively able to spotlight a community that has always existed in West Texas, but has never had such a beautiful opportunity to shine. Lastly, thank you Marfa. Thank you for letting us celebrate. For celebrating with us, for us, for our LGBTQIA+ family, for Marfa, for making this world a more loving place to exist. We love you endlessly.

Lawrence, Chris, Elise, Xavier, Lauren, Paul &Victor.