The religious right strategically uses religion and religious language, combined with patriotic symbols, to push a political agenda that has little connection to the values of mainstream people of faith. It is, in short, a political rather than religious movement. The Texas Freedom Network has monitored the religious right in Texas since 1995.

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So-called “maverick” Republican presidential candidate John McCain skewered religious-right leaders in 2000 as “agents of intolerance.” Yet he has spent the past year groveling for support from religious-right pooh-bahs like the Rev. Rod Parsley of Ohio and the Rev. John Hagee of San Antonio. Of course, McCain was finally forced to repudiate Parsley and Hagee because of their hateful diatribes against Muslims, Jews and Roman Catholics. But when McCain floated the possibility that he might choose a vice presidential nominee who supports abortion rights, religious-right leaders made it crystal clear that they would find such a decision unacceptable. So his surprise choice today of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for the GOP vice presidential nomination looks like a total surrender to the religious right.

First, Palin is an opponent of gay marriage and a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion, according to the Washington Post:

On her campaign Web site, she described herself as a “conservative Republican” who believes firmly in free market capitalism, as well as a “lifetime member of the NRA” with a strong commitment to gun rights. She also said she opposes abortion and believes that “marriage should only be… Read More

We told you earlier this week how Gov. Rick Perry has employed a disturbing mix of faith and militancy in a note to conservative evangelical pastors. Gov. Perry wrote the note in an invitation for pastors to attend a Texas Restoration Project event in Austin next month. The governor isn’t the only person linked to the Texas Restoration Project who dips into the rhetorical well of militant Christianity. Another prominent speaker at the far-right group’s events has been the Rev. Rod Parsley of Ohio, who has said the mission of a Christian United States is to destroy Islam. Republican presidential candidate John McCain welcomed Parsley’s support earlier this year, calling him a “spiritual guide.” But Parsley’s rhetoric has been so incendiary that McCain was finally forced to distance himself from the Ohio pastor. For a taste of that red-hot rhetoric, see the video clip below. (McCain’s repudiation of Parsley came later.) [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCy2yMarPqI&hl=en&fs=1] You can read more about Parsley here and here and about his connection with the Texas Restoration Project in a Texas Freedom Network Education Fund report here. Gov. Perry, who claimed in his invitation to pastors that…… Read More

Oh, Kansas. Why must you share our suffering so?

As Texans with our own dysfunctional and often wacky State Board of Education, it’s easy for us to sympathize with Kansans, who are facing elections to their own tenuously sane state board this year.

Unfortunately, Kansans won’t have many of the moderates currently leading the board to re-elect, as they are stepping down — and far-right politicians and interest groups are ravenous to regain control by picking up the moderates’ seats.

Out of the five seats up for election this year (the board is composed of ten members total), two races have candidates who are explicitly far to the right of the mainstream: Republicans Dennis Hedke, Alan Detrich and Robert Meissner (who’s a dentist; what’s with dentists on state boards of education?). Hedke is involved with the conservative Americans for Prosperity’s tour touting “global warming alarmism.” Meissner is . . . well, let’s just let him speak for himself:

“As stated in the past, if the science community can come to a consensus as to the scientific credibility of alternative theories as to origin, then I would… Read More

The rest of the nation seems to be having second thoughts about the religious right’s radical agenda, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at the Texas Republican Party platform adopted earlier this month. Religious extremists who control the party are doubling down, pushing a platform that’s as radical as any in the past. The Texas Freedom Network has analyzed the party platform here.

Here’s a taste of what Texas would look like under the GOP platform:… Read More

Oh, this should be fun. The Texas Republican Party Convention is this weekend in Houston, and already social conservatives are pushing the party to take official positions that are sure to alienate mainstream folks. One delegate argued that the party platform should include a plank calling for the removal of naked people in paintings and sculptures in the National Gallery of Art and other public places in the nation’s capital. “You don’t have nude art on your front porch,” he said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “You possibly don’t have nude art in your living rooms. So why is it important to have that in the common places of Washington, D.C.?” In an unusual example of moderation, the party platform committee voted against that plank.

Another delegate has argued against a plank calling affirmative action “simply racism disguised as social value.” That kind of language, he said, would alienate African Americans and keep them from joining the GOP. (Gee. You think?) The platform commitee disagreed, keeping the language in the platform for now.

The platform, which the state party is set to adopt today, is likely to include support for teaching… Read More

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