Since the religious right took control of the Texas Republican Party back in the early 1990s, writing the state GOP’s platform has been an exercise in promoting extremism every two years. This year wasn’t any different. A Texas Freedom Network analysis shows how the 2012 Texas Republican Party turns back the clock by seeking to erase long-established protections for religious freedom, civil and voting rights, women’s health and public education.

Click here for our analysis of the party’s platform, but following is a sampling of the extremism promoted by Texas Republicans at their convention this month in Fort Worth. That platform:… Read More

Both the Democratic and Republican parties of Texas will meet in convention this week. Ever since the religious right’s takeover of the Texas Republican Party in the 1990s, the state GOP platform has been almost a manifesto for extremism. The 2010 platform, for example, calls separation of church and state a “myth”; insists on abstinence-only programs that promote ignorance in sex education classes; opposes minimum wage laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Endangered Species Act and Social Security; and actually calls for the creation of a state militia to protect Texas sovereignty.

But it reserves some of its harshest language for designating gay people as even worse than second-class citizens in Texas. In fact, the platform doesn’t just oppose laws that bar anti-gay discrimination. Language promoting discrimination is enshrined in the document — including support for sodomy laws that criminalize private, consensual relationships between same-sex partners and calling on Congress to bar federal courts from protecting the rights of those couples. And it says this:

We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases.… Read More

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is upset about President Obama's comments that a Supreme Court decision to overturn the health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, would represent “unprecedented, extraordinary” judicial activism. Senator McConnell said today that the president is trying to "intimidate" the Supreme Court: “With his words, he was no longer trying to embarrass the Court after a decision; rather, he tried to intimidate it before a decision has been made. And that should be intolerable to all of us.” Oh, cry me a river. Senator McConnell is ignoring the right's decades-long assault on an independent judiciary. Last year, for example, Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested that judges who make decisions he think represent judicial activism should be arrested. Gingrich has also said that judges who engage in what he calls "judicial supremacy" should be impeached. Texas Gov. Rick Perry also attacks what he considers judicial activism and argues that judges can be held "accountable" by ending lifetime tenure. He even calls the Supreme Court "nine oligarchs in robes." Read More

How did we miss this?

In an open letter to his fellow Republicans last December, Texas GOP king-maker — and anti-gay, religious right zealot — Steve Hotze lays out an argument for why his party should refrain from demonizing Latinos — basically because “Hispanic culture in America is Christian, pro-family, pro-life” and (by the way) Republicans need their votes to win future elections.

Ok. Even if his motives aren’t entirely altruistic, we can at least respect Hotze’s effort to promote tolerance and multiculturalism, right? Not so fast.

“Gentlemen, it seems that the real problem we face is the Muslim immigration invasion of America. The Hispanics are our natural allies against the Democrats and Muslims.”

Wow. If you absolutely have to direct your hatred and xenophobia at someone, for God’s sake, make it the Muslims. They don’t vote in nearly the number as Latinos do.

The underlying bigotry always comes through, doesn’t it?… Read More

Texas Eagle Forum and the Denton County Republican Party are promoting a conference this month that will ask attendees whether Texas should secede from the United States. The Blackstone Blitz Workshop on the Constitution is set for Jan. 15 at a Baptist church in Lewisville just outside Dallas. Among the topics: * How can we employ the worldview approach to understanding and reviving the Constitution? * Who is the Constitution’s worst enemy? * How can we effectively fight this enemy? * What are the primary Judeo-Christian principles we must define and defend? * Is there any validity to Humanists’ call for “relativism,” separation,” pluralism/diversity,” “tolerance,” etc.? * Can Americans do anything to curb the courts – replace judicial supremacy with constitutional supremacy? * Can Texas secede? If so, should we? The conference is a project of the Abilene (Texas)-based Blackstone Institute, an openly militant promoter of the "culture wars" whose mission "is to declare and defend the Judeo-Christian worldview of the Constitution, law, philosophy, and theology with programs that inform and inspire." "America is engulfed in the all-consuming flames of a Culture War from which no one and no area of American life can escape," the website declares. It goes on to insist: "The Constitution's principles and purposes are defined and prioritized by the Judeo-Christian value system." Read More

Texas Civil Rights Project

As we pass the deadline by which Gov. Abbott can sign bills into law, we're excited to release our video "How to defeat at bad bill," about our experience w/ @MOVE_texas taking down SB9 & stopping the attempts by the State to hurt voting rights in Texas! #txlege #VotingRights pic.twitter.com/ads0…