Gov. Abbott Joins Religious-Right Gathering in Austin

by Jose Medina

The Texas Renewal Project event scheduled for later this month will have another notable speaker: Gov. Greg Abbott.

We already wrote about this event, but the addition of the state’s top elected official appears to be new, according to an email invitation that went out late last week.

Abbott will join former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, at a hotel in Austin for a “pastors briefing” designed to turn clergy into politicians.

To gain a little more insight on what these Renewal Project trainings are all about, and why you should care about the politicization of congregations, take a look at how the chief organizer of the trainings, David Lane, opened a similar training in Charleston, S.C., earlier this year:

“Fifty-five million babies dead. Red ink as far as the eye can see. Homosexuals praying at the inauguration. … Lord, have mercy.”

Yeah, heaven forbid that a gay person would have the audacity to pray. Lane added this in an interview:

“My No. 1 ask is, can you register 100 percent in your pews? No. 2, can you preach biblical values and make sure people connect the dots? They don’t understand. They don’t know how to ascertain the facts and understand the issues of the day as God talks about them. … No. 3, make sure they go vote those biblical values every single time.”

As we wrote earlier, this new training program is part of a long-term movement to mobilize right-wing pastors and their congregations as key parts of a partisan political machine — a machine clearly designed to benefit Republican electoral candidates backed by religious-right groups.