A couple of days ago, I saw a story on ABC News about Christian cheerleaders. Yes, they cheerlead for God. And they do it in a godly way: They wear short cheerleader skirts, but, the story assured us, they don't wear anything vulgar or obscene -- no bare midriffs. On TV, the reference to bare midriffs was accompanied by footage of that evil minx Britney Spears. The suggestion was that she invented vulgarity, obscenity, and the bare midriff sometime around 1999, singlehandedly leading America's youth down a primrose path to hell.
Well, now I learn that the Texas legislature may be about to crack down on Spearsesque cheerleading:
By a 65-56 vote, the House gave preliminary approval to a bill sponsored by Rep. Al Edwards, D-Houston, curbing "sexually suggestive" routines by cheerleaders, drill teams or other public school performance groups....
Edwards likened the perceived salaciousness of cheerleading routines to risque television programs and Internet pornography sites. He also suggested that inappropriate cheerleading routines contribute to a social atmosphere that encourages teen pregnancy, poor scholastic performance, criminality and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases....
The bill does not have a sponsor in the Senate yet, said Edwards, whose legislation has garnered him national attention, including appearances on NBC's Today show and Fox's O'Reilly Factor.
Al Edwards, alas, is a Democrat. He's also a bit of a nut:
In 1989, [Edwards] proposed allowing the state to amputate the fingers of drug dealers.
And in 1991, he introduced a bill calling for a statewide vote on allowing corporal punishment of inmates in state prisons, saying that such disciplinary measures as flogging would help rehabilitate prisoners.
The bill, by the way, is backed by the Texas Eagle Forum, the state branch of Phyllis Schlafly's national organization.
The news agency AFP understands why this is all a bit unfair to Britney Spears:
AUSTIN, United States (AFP) - Legislators in Texas, famed for its Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, considered legislation to ban 'sexually suggestive' performances in schools.
The law would ban dance routines by school cheerleaders at sports events that one politician said was like something out of a strip club.
Exposed midriffs and ever shorter shorts and skirts have particularly outraged some legislators....
Oh, yeah, them -- the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. They've been around literally since before Britney was born, dressing like this --
--but surely they're not part of the problem, are they?
Incidentally, if you go to the Cowboy cheerleaders' Web site, you learn that they conducts camps for girls as young as 5 and sponsor a contest for girls as young as 6.
That couldn't be influencing impressionable young minds, could it?