Less than a year. That’s how long Cathie Adams, former head of the far-right group Texas Eagle Forum, lasted as chair of the Texas Republican Party. At their state convention in Dallas on Saturday, Republicans replaced Adams with Houston attorney Steve Munisteri.

The State Republican Executive Committee elected Adams as party chair last October. At the time, we noted just how extreme Adams’ political positions are. She has questioned the personal faith of political opponents, such as former Texas Gov. Ann Richards and President Obama. She has suggested that the United Nations was bringing us to the biblical “end times.” She advocates positions that threaten religious freedom and mixes anti-science and peculiar anti-government paranoia on issues involving education, the environment and public health. Adams was also an unhinged anti-Clinton fanatic in the 1990s and is rabidly and venomously anti-gay.

Of course, we shouldn’t assume too much here about whether her replacement is any better. Much of Munisteri’s campaign for party chair focused on concerns such as party financial problems and other administrative issues involving Adams’ short term as chair. Adams’ divisive stands on “culture war” issues… Read More

UPDATE: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is reporting that immigration is likely to be a key point of contention in the Texas GOP's platform debate this weekend. Other platform proposals are expected from "birthers" who don't believe President Obama is a natural-born U.S. citizen and people who want Republicans to support the Constitution against threats by "Sharia law adherents living in the United States of America and the rest of the world." ... Will Texas Republicans this weekend succeed in loosening the grip that the religious right and other extremist factions have over their state party? We'll find out when the Texas GOP holds its 2010 convention Friday and Saturday (June 11-12) at the Dallas Convention Center, but our guess is traditional conservatives and moderates will be disappointed once again. The 2008 state Republican platform -- as with other platforms since the religious right took control of the Texas GOP in the early 1990s -- was a classic exercise in political extremism. Here's just a taste of what the 2008 platform had to say: Separation of church and state is a “myth.” Public schools should emphasize instruction on Judeo-Christian principles. Government should repeal laws, such as Motor…… Read More

UPDATE: Now we find out that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is coming to the Texas GOP convention in June. See more at the end of this post. Don McLeroy lost his chairmanship of the State Board of Education last year because he was more interested in promoting his own narrow ideological views than facts and sound scholarship in Texas classrooms. The College Station dentist insisted that "somebody's gotta stand up to experts" when he promoted creationist arguments in new science standards last year. He argued that science should be redefined to include the supernatural and endorsed a book that calls parents "monsters" if they teach their children about evolution. Then during the debate over social studies curriculum standards, McLeroy suggested women and minorities owe thanks to men and the "majority" for granting them their rights, argued that Joseph McCarthy has been "vindicated" and defended the appointment of absurdly unqualified political activists as social studies "experts" to help guide the revision of curriculum standards. One might think that Republicans would be wary of embracing someone with such extreme views. But apparently not Texas Republicans. Read More

The political jousting between Bill White and Rick Perry over the Texas State Board of Education's controversial revision of social studies curriculum standards is legitimate in the electoral arena. It's certainly preferable to dragging political agendas into our children's classrooms, which the state board has been doing during the curriculum revision. But what the Republican Party of Texas did this week is shameful. Read More

It looks like Texas State Board of Education members Don McLeroy, R-College Station, and Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, don’t mind speaking to Republican organizations that discourage — intentionally or not — non-Christians from becoming members. McLeroy and Dunbar will be joining other far-right speakers at an education “conference” hosted by Golden Corridor Republican Women in the Dallas area April 24.

The Golden Corridor group covers Dallas, Collin and Denton counties in North Texas. Check out the group’s logo, which includes a Christian cross positioned over an American flag and an outline of Texas:

Of course, we defend the right of all Americans and private associations to show their faith as they see fit. But we imagine Jews and other non-Christians might not feel very welcome joining a party organization that seems exclusively for Christians. For that matter, we suspect mainstream Christians might feel a bit out of place as well. In any case, Golden Corridor is yet another example of how the Republican Party of Texas is increasingly an exclusionary organization that welcomes primarily conservative Protestant fundamentalists (and others who don’t mind having their personal faith slighted or ignored).

The conference’s audience… Read More