Resolved: Texas Doesn’t Care about the Constitution

Moses State Rep. Phil Stephenson, R-Wharton

In week full of religious liberty skirmishes at the Texas Capitol, we would be remiss if we did not flag the most ridiculous church-state proposal we’ve seen this session: HCR 58 by state Rep. Phil Stephenson, R-Wharton — a publicity stunt masquerading as a House Concurrent Resolution. The resolution concludes:

RESOLVED, That the 83rd Legislature of the State of Texas hereby support prayers, including the use of the word “God,” at public gatherings as well as displays of the Ten Commandments in public educational institutions and other government buildings.

In other words, Rep. Stephenson is asking his fellow legislators to join him in promoting divisive and unconstitutional practices.

There are plenty of problems with this resolution — its embrace of  a flawed, David Barton-esque version of US History, a clear hostility toward any Texan who doesn’t share Rep. Stephenson’s mono-theistic faith, promoting nakedly partisan talking points from the Texas GOP platform. But we’ll limit our criticism to the obvious. The resolution calls for activities already ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States. As recently as 2005 (in McCreary County, Ky. v. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky), the court ruled that displays of the Ten Commandments of the type described in this resolution violate the Constitution. The reason is obvious — such displays advance a religious purpose; they promote a particular religion.

While a concurrent resolution like this does not carry any statutory force, it could still be legal problematic in its effect. Language like this could encourage schools or other governmental institutions to post religious displays that violate Constitutional protections for religious freedom. And result in costly litigation.

HCR 58 was considered by the House State Affairs Committee earlier this afternoon. We’ll have a report from the hearing soon.

21 thoughts on “Resolved: Texas Doesn’t Care about the Constitution

  1. All part of making Jesus Texas’s official God, don’tcha know. You’ll be told just what kind of Jesus later. On a need-to-pray basis.

  2. In a state where slavery is now going to be taught asf “unpaid internship” which provides career training and extensive networking opportunities, this does not surprise me.f

  3. I heard Stephenson’s testimony. He called the 10 commandments a cornerstone of religious and secular law, etc. (secular, really?) Rep. Scott Sanford also for the bill testified blah blah blah George Washington therefore we are Christian nation. . . nobody else testified for this dog. Left pending after 5 minutes. The one question asked was why Democrats aren’t included and the chairman seem to agree that this section was a bad move,” WHEREAS, The overwhelming majority of voters in the 2010 Republican Party Primary Election voted in favor of the public acknowledgement of God, and the 2012 platform of the Republican Party of Texas affirms “that the public acknowledgement of God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom, prosperity, and strength”. I think Stephenson was being humored by the committee. He came across as a pretty dim fellow.

  4. If they spent half the time fixing the state’s real problems rather than BS like this, Texas might be a fairly decent place to live.

  5. With all our problems, both statewide and nationwide, this is what our congresscritters waste time on. Phil Stephenson needs to go back to school and take a course on the Constitution.

  6. Apparently, this Stephenson idiot has neglected to read Article I of the Texas Constitution. It’s even clearer on religious freedom than the US Constitution, and, incidentally, does state that Texas is subject only to the US Constitution. I certainly see where there is room for improvement in the Texas Constitution, since there’s a lot of religion slipped into it. But it does patently state that individual conscience is paramount.

  7. We’re fighting a problem stemming from this sort of belligerence in Rowlett. It will only embolden the city council and mayor to shove their religious beliefs down everyone’s throats even harder.

  8. Another law maker who doesn’t represent other’s Consitutional Rights of Separation of Church and State, what a surprise. But this just mirrors further evolutions such as, the decision to make others pay the bills of others is going to be enforced because Medicaid won’t be expanded, which is for the people, when Senator Cornyn has heavy monetiary ties pharmaceutical companies, Wall Street Dewhurst wants to go for charter schools which takes money from public schools to private where that money has no control/oversight, Senator Tom Cruz millionaire is blocking gun passage which is for the people where there is absolutely no promise or thought of the government taking our guns, and a governor who has not accountability either in regards to how he uses the people’s money. What else could anyone expect; NO REPRESENTATION AND obviously consistent with what is NOT right or proper as to appears to be a flouting of the law or morality in regards to why they were sent to represent the people. Texas law makers can do anything they please, inspite of….

    1. Well, the religious right are just cutting off their noses despite their faces as well as everyone elses that the islam sharia law crowd is going to have access to tax payer dollars as well to fund their sic religiosity.

      They want their little kiddies to get the best education but know one else.

      They do not give a sh**. Their selfish greedy whores & bastards!!!!

  9. This will not happen without a fight. But really? They cut educational funds left and right and worry about this garbage!? Yea teaching our children myths is really going to help their education. What bothers me with this, is I see the same people on my Facebook that was screaming how unconstitutional it is to mess with guns support this unconstitutional act. Are Americans really that stupid? Looks like it sadly

    1. I believe the reality is that the corporations that will controll education that our legislators have proposed have poured piles of cash into their campaign funds. They have cut funds to education to give an illusion of failure so that they can promote their benefactors programs as viable alternatives. This same scenario has played out in several of the republican controlled states and will continue as long as constituents contine to vote thes morons into office. Wish we could institute an intelligence test as a requisite for public office.

      1. @ Bill, Truth is stranger than fiction.

        It is funny that you would say “I believe the reality is that the corporations that will controll education that our legislators have proposed have poured piles of cash into their campaign funds”

        I knew someone that worked for standard oil years ago. He worked in the copy machine room where the checks would get printed off.
        He said that a $200,000.00 check every week was sent to the catholic church.

        I kid you not….