Quotes to note: church, state and plastic bags

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Blurring the line between church and state
Gov. Rick Perry led a crowd of more than 30,000 people in prayer Saturday in Houston during “The Response.” Together, attendees prayed for America, which Perry described as “in crisis,” according to The Washington Post.

“He is a wise, wise God, and he’s wise enough not to be affiliated with any political party.”
— Perry said at the event, according to The Washington Post.

“I don’t think [the event] would have the same effect without the leadership of an elected official.”
— Jorge Hernandez, a McAllen resident who attended “The Response,” according to the Post.

“The governor of Texas should not be initiating a Christians-only prayer.”
— Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, according to the Post.

“The scale of this event is new, but the essence of this is familiar to anyone who has followed him. He’s never hesitated to invoke faith in public and for public purposes.”
— James Henson, director of UT’s Texas Politics Project, according to The New York Times.

“Governor Perry isn’t concerned with criticisms that have been made against ‘The Response.’ ... His faith is a part of who he is and plays an important role in the principles he defends and the decisions that have defined his leadership.”
— Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier, according to The New York Times.

Pushing for a ban on plastic bags
The Austin City Council unanimously voted Thursday to continue researching a ban on plastic bags at retail and grocery stores. City staffers will begin writing the ban, which will be presented to the City Council in November.

“I think there will be a cost benefit and a benefit to the environment of going down this road and coming up with a reasonable ordinance.”
— Mayor Lee Leffingwell told the Austin American-Statesman on July 24, one day before he and two other City Council members officially proposed the plastic bag ban.

“In India they banned plastic bags, and you can spend up to five years in jail if caught with one. We’re basically criminalizing trash.”
— Austin resident Jenn Studebaker at a press conference held by the Austin Zero Waste Alliance on Thursday, according to The Daily Texan. Studebaker opposes the plastic bag ban.

“To earn the green reputation we have [in this] city, we need to take a leadership role. We’re not living up to our reputation, and we need to take more action.”
— Stacy Guidry, program assistant for Texas Campaign for the Environment, a grassroots environmental advocacy organization, according to ABC News.

“If you’re trying to collect money from people to fix something, you need an enemy. You need a symbol. The plastic bag has become the symbol. [Environmental activists] have gone to extreme measures to distort facts and create their symbol.”
— Pete Grande, president of California-based plastic bag manufacturer Command Packaging, on the negative attention on plastic bags, according to ABC News.