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The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party

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Texas Republican Party Platform

"The Republican Party of Texas affirms
the United States of America is a Christian Nation ..."
State of Texas GOP Platform, 2004

In this section:
Comments, Articles, Updates


The Texas Republican Party Platform can be read as a blueprint for Bush administration policies, and reflects the values of Dominion Theology.

Dominionists believe the federal government should recede into the background. This would be achieved through massive tax cuts. Then the Church would assume responsibliltly for welfare and education. Tax cuts, Faith-based initiatives and school vouchers are the cornerstone of Bush administration domestic policies and recommended in the Texas GOP Platform. These policies are putting the U.S. on the path toward becoming what the Platform calls a "Christian" nation.


Tax Cuts, p. 17 - "The Party urges the IRS be abolished," and the following taxes eliminated: "income tax, inheritance tax, gift tax, capital gains, corporate income tax, payroll tax and property tax."

Tax cuts are accompanied by Downsizing the Federal Government on p. 19 -

We support the abolition of ... the Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms, the position of Surgeon General, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Departments of Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Education, Commerce and Labor. We also call for the de-funding or abolition of the National Endowment for the Arts, and Public Broadcasting System.

Deregulation - Adherents of Dominion Theology support deregulation of industry. They use terms such as "unfettered" or "unhampered" by regulation. The first three agencies listed in the above paragraph are all regulatory agencies. The Texas GOP Platform calls for business to be "unencumbered by excessive government regulation." (p.1, preamble)

Biblical Law - Dominion theology calls for a government based on Biblical Law, relying on the Ten Commandments as its guiding source. Therefore, posting of the Ten Commandments in public buildings has great symbolic value.

On p.7 of the Platform: Ten Commandments - "We ... oppose any governmental action to restrict prohibit, or remove public display of the [Ten Commandments]..."

The Platform goes on to say "or any other religious symbols." The words "any other" probably mean "any other Christian symbols," for the religious right does not accept religions that aren't monotheistic. The Family Research Council, the most powerful lobbying organization of the religious right, spoke strongly against religious pluralism when a Hindu priest offered an invocation for Congress. They wrote:

"(W)hile it is true that the United States of America was founded on the sacred principle of religious freedom for all, that liberty was never intended to exalt other religions to the level that Christianity holds in our country's heritage."

"Our Founders expected that Christianity -- and no other religion -- would receive support from the government as long as that support did not violate peoples' consciences and their right to worship. They would have found utterly incredible the idea that all religions, including paganism, be treated with equal deference."

The "wall" of separation between church and state would need to come down to establish Biblical Law. On p.8, Free Exercise of Religion:

"Our party pledges to exert its influence to ...  dispel the "myth" of the separation of church and state."

The Bush administration has been consistently nominating federal court judges who would support Biblical Law and don't believe in a separatioin of church and state.

The authors of this Platform want all Texas Republicans to demonstrate they agree with it.

On p.5, candidates are advised to read and sign off on the platform as a condition for receiving financial support from the Texas State Republican Party:

Any candidate running as a Republican for any public office should be required to complete and return to the County Republican Party Platform questionnaire indicating whether the candidate agrees, disagrees or is undecided on each plank of the current platform. We strongly urge the Executive Campaign Committee to consider candidates' support of the Party platform when granting financial or other support.

Religious "Freedom"


P.4: Free Speech for Clergy - Clergy should not risk losing tax-empt status for political activity (See the Houses of Worship Political Speech Protection Act); (New York Times, A Bill Eases Vote Curb on Churches By David Kirkpatrick, June 8, 2004)

p.8: "We reclaim freedom of religious expression in public on government property, and freedom from governmental interference."

 p.8, Christian Nation: "The Republican Party of Texas affirms the United States of America is a Christian Nation ..."

p. 8: Faith-Based opportunites should be increased. Until that time, "Faith-based Initiatives as proposed by President George W. Bush and currently implemented, should continue to be funded by federal monies. (In other words, the Church should assume responsibility for welfare and education. These programs would be funded through tithing -- collecting 10% of church members' income -- and through community, and business contributions. Until the churches have taken over welfare, the government would fund these programs.)

Until such time as such unconstitutional spending programs are repealed, we believe that the faith-based initiative as proposed by President George W. Bush, and currently implemented, should continue to receive federal monies. (emphasis mine -- unconstitutional spending programs must refer to current social and educational programs. jb)

From America's Providential History, a popular text book in Christian schools and the Christian homeschool movement, "Scripture makes it clear that God is the provider, not the state, and that needy individuals are to be cared for by private acts of charity." (p.187)

The Environment, (p.2)

The Platform espouses the absolute right of property owners which puts them in league with the Constitution in Exile movement described by the New York Times.

p.2 #17: "We reaffirm belief in the fundamental constitutional right of an individual to use property without governmental interference."

p.2 #10: "We oppose conservation easements on our natural resources administered by organizations unaccountable to tax payers and voters." (That means land trusts and conservation groups would be declared unconstitutional.)

p. 2 #18: "We oppose the Endangered Species Act."

p.2 #7: "We believe that groundwater is an absolute, vested right of the landowner."

P. 2 #13: "We oppose passage of any international treaty that overrides United States sovereignty including the Kyoto agreement and Biodiversity Treaty."

Gun Control (pp. 7-8)

pp. 7 and 8: Opposes all forms of gun control including law suits against gun manufacturers.

"We reject the establishment of any mechanism to process, license, record, register or monitor the ownership of guns."

As the ban on assault weapons is due to expire in September, 2004, police departments all over the country are prodding Congress and the President to renew the ban. House Majority Tom DeLay has said that he wouldn't bring a bill to renew the ban to a vote in Congress, and the President is remaining silent on the subject. (New York Times, July 17, 2004)

The Family (pp 9-12)

p.9:Child Abuse - "The Party recognises that the family is a sovereign sphere of authority over which the state has no right to intervene unless the parent or guardian has committed criminal abuse." (Emphasis mine)

p.12 affirms the rights of parents.

p.9 Supports the Unborn Victims of Violence Act

p.10: Celebrating Traditional Marriage calls for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and opposes the legalization of "sodomy" ie homosexuality.   

p.11 - Right to Life includes suspending use of RU 486 and commends President Bush for "banning the government funding of human embryo stem cell harvesting."

pp.14 -17: Education

p.14: Supports school vouchers.

p.15: "We call for the abolition of the U.S. Department of Education and the prohibition of the transfer of any of its functions to any other federal agency."

When the Rev. Jerry Falwell was just creating the Moral Majority, he envisioned the future of this country:

"I hope to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we don't have public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them." (America Can Be Saved!, Sword of the Lord Publishers, Murfreesboro, Tenn. 1979, p. 52-53.)

p.15: Supports abstinence only sex education which is strongly supported by the Bush administration.

p.15:"The Party urges Congress to repeal government-sponsored programs that deal with early childhood development, and phase them out as soon as possible." (Programs like Headstart have been facing heavy cuts).

P.16: Multiculturism - "We favor strengthening our common American identity and loyalty over the ideology of multiculturism that emphasizes the differences between racial and ethnic groups."

p.17: "The Party supports the termination of bilingual education programs..."

p.17: supports teaching of intelligent design (a form of creationism) and teaching evolution as merely a theory rather than scientific fact.

p.17: prohibits reproductive health care services in high schools.

The Economy (pp, 13, 17-19)

Preamble, p.1 - "We believe that the future of our country depends upon a strong and vibrant public sector unencumbered by excessive government regulation." ("Excessive government regulation" refers to protections for the environment, for workers, for consummers, and for investors.)

p.13  " ... gradually phase out Social Security tax for a system of "private pensions.."

p. 19 - Make President Bush's tax cuts permanent.

p.19: Privatize government services such as high-speed rail, sports stadiums, or space exploration.

p.19: Downsizing the Federal Government - "Abolish the Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms, the position of Surgeon General, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Departments of Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Education, Commerce and Labor. We also call for the de-funding or abolition of the National Endowment for the Arts, and Public Broadcasting System."

President Bush's 2,000 page budget proposal could make the above recommendations a reality.

The proposal, spelled out in three short sentences, would give the
president the power to appoint an eight-member panel called the
"Sunset Commission," which would systematically review federal
programs every ten years and decide whether they should be eliminated. (Rolling Stone, April 21, 2005)

The Platform espouses the absolute right of property owners which puts them in league with the Constitution in Exile movement described in the New York Times, April 17, 2005.

The United Nations

p.26: "The Party believes it is in the best interest of the citizens of the United States that we immediately rescind our membership, as well as financial and military contributions to, the United Nations... The Party urges Congress to evict the United Nations from U.S. soil."

Does President Bush's recess appointment of John Bolton to the United Nations reflect this antagonism? In an interview with Juan Williams on National Public Radio in 2000:

Bolton: "If I were redoing the Security Council today, I'd have one permanent member because that's the real reflection of the distribution of power in the world."

"And that one member would be, John Bolton?" Mr. Williams queried.

"The United States," Mr. Bolton replied. more

From the Boston Globe:

Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, has long ridiculed the United Nations, international law, and multi--lateralism. In 1998, speaking of the risk of losing a vote in the UN, Bolton declared that ''This will simply provide further evidence [as] to why nothing more should be paid to the UN system."

Comments, Articles, Updates

It's here! The 2006 Texas Republican Party Platform is on the web.

Update: Anatomy of Power, Texas and The Religious Right in 2006, A Report from the Texas Freedom Network Fund

GOP buttons on their shirts and faith on their sleeves: Republican convention draws religious conservatives, Dallas Morning News, June 4, 2006

Texas GOP platform language, Houston Chronicle, June 2, 2004

Many Republicans will say that the Texas GOP Platform does not speak for the true Republican Party. Of course there are many notable moderate Republicans, and they were the ones in public view as speakers at the Republican Convention in August, 2004. There are also a handful of moderates in the Senate who have sometimes opposed President Bush's policies or judicial nominations. But the party as a whole has not distanced itself from Texas Platform, nor has it repudiated the document. From the Boston Globe, July 12, 2004, The GOP's Christian Nation:

Some conservatives in the media have not merely refused to criticize the "Christian nation" plank but rallied to its defense. Interviewing Texas Republican Party chairwoman Tina Berkiser, the Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly described the plank as "largely symbolic" response to secularist activists and judges who would throw God out of the public square. On another Fox News show, "Hannity & Colmes," guest host Mike Gallagher suggested that objections to the plank stemmed from anti-Christian "bigotry."

From Chris Bowers, MYDD:

The Texas Republican Party produced George Bush, Karl Rove and Tom DeLay. It is, arguably, ground zero for both the most energetic grassroots activism of the Republican Party nationwide, and for influence over the Republican Party as a whole. More often than not over the past two years, considering who the Texas Republican Party has produced, it has felt as though we are almost specifically fighting against the Texas Republican Party for control of the national agenda, rather than the Republican National Committee.

On "Unfettered Capitalism" (ie no government regulation)

The Washington Post has published a three-part series analyzing the devastating impact of Bush administration deregulatory policies on the environment and public health. The first article from the Post is called Bush Forces a Shift In Regulatory Thrust, OSHA Made More Business-Friendly, August 15, 2004. The second article, August 16, 'Data Quality' Law Is Nemesis Of Regulation talks about the health threat of a law to deregulate chemicals. The third article, August 17, Appalachia Is Paying Price for White House Rule Change explains how Bush administration rule changes are devastating the environment.

White House, GOP Leaders Plan All-Out Assault on Federal Protections, Greenwatch Today, June 23, 2006

The Texas GOP Platformed Warned Us! Talk To Action, June 24, 2006



Last updated: June-2006