2016 Elections: This Year’s Extremist Candidate for the Texas State Board of Education

The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) has a regrettable — but reliable — history of mixing the culture wars with public education. And, it seems, almost every election cycle — eight of the 15 SBOE seats are up for election this year — at least one candidate promises to make things even worse. This year is not different.

Mary Lou BrunerMeet Mary Lou Bruner. If you keep an eye on the SBOE like we do here at TFN, you might have seen her at a hearing here or two railing against Muslims. Bruner is running for the SBOE District 9 seat as a Republican to replace fellow Republican Thomas Ratliff, a moderate who has tried to put an end to the circus atmosphere at the board and is not running for re-election.

Bruner, a former teacher, is not shy about sharing her views on social media. And while one of Bruner’s opponents, Hank Hering, has a concerning statement on his website that appears to dismiss the constitutional separation between church and state (“Restore principles and policies originally established by strong Judeo-Christian beliefs put in place by our Founders”), his public statements do not approach Bruner’s level of outrageousness.

From Bruner’s postings we know that if she wins the March 1 Republican primary — her opponents are Hering and Lufkin Independent School Board President Keven Ellis — and again in the November general, the board will have a member who, among other things, calls evolution a plot to promote godlessness, says slavery did not become an issue until the Civil War was well underway, and subscribes to a variety of fringe conspiracy theories — including a claim that President Obama once financed a drug habit by working as a prostitute.

Here is just some of what Bruner believes.

Views on Science
Bruner has said evolution “is a religious philosophy with propaganda supporting the religion of Atheism,” and that scientists have ignored and hidden evidence that humans and dinosaurs walked the planet at the same time (screenshot). And this is what she wrote about the extinction of dinosaurs (screenshot):

“When the flood waters subsided and rushed to the oceans there was no vegetation on the earth because the earth had been covered with water. … The dinosaurs on [Noah’s ark] may have been babies and not able to reproduce. … After the flood, the few remaining Behemoths and Leviathans may have become extinct because there was not enough vegetation on earth for them to survive to reproductive age.”

Unsurprisingly, Bruner doesn’t believe the overwhelming evidence in support of human-caused climate change (screenshot):

“Climate change has nothing to do with weather or climate; it is all about system change from capitalism (free enterprise) to Socialism-Communism. The Climate Change HOAX was Karl Marx’s idea. It took some time to ‘condition’ the people so they would believe such a ridiculous HOAX.”

Views on History
Bruner thinks slavery was a minor issue in the Civil War. In July 2014 she wrote that historians were biased against the southern states and rewrote history books once everyone alive during the Civil War had died (screenshot). She also thinks there’s no need for Black History Month, Mexican-American History Month or any other formally recognition of the historical contributions of minorities to the United States (screenshot).

Bruner also appears to back a Donal Trump-like plan to ban Islam from the United States (screenshot):

”Islam is not a religion. Islam is an inhumane totalitarian political ideology with radical religious rules and laws and barbaric punishments for breaking the religious rules.”

Conspiracy Theories
Why does President Obama support LGBT equality? That’s because the president is gay himself, Bruner says (screenshot):

“Obama has a soft spot for homosexuals because of the years he spent as a male prostitute in his twenties. That is how he paid for his drugs. He has admitted he was addicted to drugs when he was young, and he is sympathetic with homosexuals; but he hasn’t come out of the closet about his own homosexual/bisexual background.”

Bruner knows who really killed President John F. Kennedy (screenshot):

“Many people believe the Democrat Party had JFK killed because the socialists and Communists in the party did not want a conservative president. Remember who followed JFK as president — (LBJ). the exact opposite of Kennedy — a socialist and an unethical politician. It does seem like this might have been the master plan: They sneaked the bad guy (LBJ) into the administration on the coat-tail of a good guy (JFK). Then they got rid of the good guy; in the end, they got a socialist president which is what they originally wanted.”

Bruner also thinks the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, is part of the United Nation’s Agenda 21 conspiracy to “do away” with 200 million people from the United States (screenshot). And she echoes what some far-right activists have said: that all terrorists and mass-murderers are liberals and Democrats (screenshot).

You probably get the picture.

Bruner’s views on a variety of topics are too numerous to list here. If the above is any indication, her election would have the board often making headlines for all the wrong reasons … again.