The Theocratic Texas Republican Party Platform

We’ve written a lot about the lunacy of the Texas State Board of Education, both their ignorant, anti-Enlightenment attitudes about science education, and more recently their obsession with theocratic distortions of American history. Our assumption was that these actions were the misguided errors of a few individuals who managed to get themselves elected to little-watched offices.

Now we realize that we were wrong. The madness we’ve been observing is institutional, as can be seen by reviewing the platform of the Texas Republican Party. It’s literally saturated with creationism and theocracy. We assume that the document we found is authentic. If there’s a later version, we assume it doesn’t alter the provisions we quote below. If we’re wrong in these assumptions, we’ll post corrections.

Let’s get right to it. Here’s what we believe to be the 2008 Texas Republican Party Platform (pdf file).

There are many solid, traditionally Republican ideas that we like in this document; but there are, unfortunately, many offensive provisions too. We can’t mention them all, so we’ll focus only on the issues that we usually write about here. Let’s start at page 11, where we find:

Ten Commandments – We oppose any governmental action to restrict, prohibit, or remove public display of the Decalogue or other religious symbols.

On page 12 are three items that aren’t our concerns here, but you may find them interesting:

Homosexuality – 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. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. … We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values

Texas Sodomy Statutes – We oppose the legalization of sodomy. We demand that Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. Constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy.

Pornography – We urge our governmental bodies to enforce laws regarding all forms of pornography. We urge more stringent legislation to prohibit all pornography including virtual pornography and operation of sexually–oriented businesses.

Also on page 12, and continuing onto pages 13 and 14, there are several items relating to abortion and other carnal issues. As with sodomy, those aren’t our issues, so we won’t dwell on them. But on page 14 you may be interested in what the document says about Fetal Tissue Harvesting, Stem Cell Research, Human Cloning, and Gene Manufacturing. Hint: they don’t like any of it.

Moving along, the education section has some interesting provisions. On page 17 we find this:

Traditional Principles in Education – We support school subjects with emphasis on Judeo-Christian principles upon which America was founded and which form the basis of America’s legal, political and economic systems.

Ah yes, our scriptural Constitution, statutes, and free enterprise system. It was obviously scripture that motivated the Founders to rebel against their king, establish a federal republic, dis-establish the church in Virginia, and write a Constitution prohibiting religious qualifications for holding office, allowing secular oaths, and providing that a man-made Constitution was the supreme law of the land.

And then there’s this:

Theories of Origin – We support objective teaching and equal treatment of strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories, including Intelligent Design. We believe theories of life origins and environmental theories should be taught as scientific theory, not scientific law. Teachers and students should be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these theories openly and without fear of retribution or discrimination of any kind.

On page 18 there’s a clear declaration of support for theocracy, with an ironic title:

Safeguarding Our Religious Liberties – We affirm that the public acknowledgment of God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom, prosperity and strength. We pledge our influence toward a return to the original intent of the First Amendment and toward dispelling the myth of separation of church and state.

So there you are, dear reader. Make of it what you will.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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16 responses to “The Theocratic Texas Republican Party Platform

  1. One can only hope that the individual Republican candidates are more Enlightened.

  2. Roger, sadly, they are not for the most part.
    Texas’ Republican governor is a creationist.
    The State Board of Education is dominated by Republican creationists.
    But, Texas is a really strange place. It has one of the premier medical centers in the world in Houston.
    Texas has the NASA Space Center at Clear Lake (near Houston).
    But, in many ways, because of the stranglehold of Xian fundies, Texas is largely a cesspool of ignorance.

  3. This is most interesting:

    “We support objective teaching and equal treatment of strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories, including Intelligent Design.”

    It is definitely derived from another statement, written by anti-evolution actvists, which from what I can tell (I never got a straight answer from grammar experts) is a double entendre, and one I am certain is deliberate.

    The other statement reads something like “..weaknesses of evolution, and of other theories.” So does that mean:

    1. Teach “weaknesses” (actually misrepresentations) of evolution, and just note that “other theories” exist, thus leading students to think the others are the correct ones? or…

    2, Teach the “weaknesses” (actually misrepresentations) of evolution and weaknesses of other “theories,” which if taught correctly show them to be fatally flawed, not just “weak.”

    If anything the Texas language seems to read more like 2 than the one that inspired it. But even though, I would not expect any teacher to teach it that way. The ones sympathetic to the “movement” would censor any critical analysis of any alternative to evolution. And those not sympathetic to the “movement” would simply consider those discredited “theories” (creationism, ID) inappropriate for science class.

    In any case we ought to force those who peddle that nonsense to state unequivocally if they want students to learn the fatal weaknesses of ID/creationism. And watch them squirm their way out of an answer.

  4. As a proud Texan, I really cringe at any stereotyping of Texas as a “cultural wasteland” or a bunch of “ignorant yocals” or a “cesspool” of any kind. Yes, there are many in the religious right here, but there are plenty of fiscal conservatives and democrats here as well. I am left leaning, pro-science, pro-choice, pro-education, pro-gay rights, etc. even though I was born and raised here. Our large cities are quite diverse and our universities are top notch. Unfortunately, Texas is a really, really big place, and the number of religious, rural, or uneducated people here is quite large. Hence, religious right idiots do get elected here.

  5. LRA says: “Texas is a really, really big place, and the number of religious, rural, or uneducated people here is quite large. Hence, religious right idiots do get elected here.”

    Yes, we’ve noticed. And we don’t blame you.

  6. Curdge, could you please explain how the Republicans are the party of Small Government (except where your personal life is involved, or where a potentially controversial science is involved, or where your personal religion is not the accepted one, or anything else where personal liberty really counts…)

  7. Albanaeon says: “Curdge, could you please explain how the Republicans are the party of Small Government …”

    Obviously, they’re not, at least not any more. There used to be a libertarian faction of the GOP, but I don’t know what happened to them.

  8. Albanaeon says: “Curdge, could you please explain how the Republicans are the party of Small Government …”

    Don’t forget an exemption for big government programs too. 2000-2006 proved that Republicans like big government just as much as Dems… they just prefer that the tax dollars for big gov’t are funneled through corporations rather than direct gov’t programs (i.e prescription drug benefit, student loan subsidies to banks, etc).

  9. Why do these advocates of rock-ribbed self-reliance need the machinery of government to prop up their beliefs?

  10. Amadan: “Why do these advocates of rock-ribbed self-reliance need the machinery of government to prop up their beliefs?”

    You answered your own question. Talk is cheap, but when they need to put their money where their mouths are, they are not “advocates of rock-ribbed self-reliance.” What could be more “far left” than whining for taxpayers to pay to teach Johnny pseudoscience that he could learn on his own time, and to demand that he get credit for wrong ansewers that make him geel good?

  11. Curmudgeon: “There used to be a libertarian faction of the GOP, but I don’t know what happened to them.”

    He’s not quite libertarian, but Newt caught your interest a few months ago. Haven’t heard much from him lately.

    IMO what the party needs is some fiercely pro-science candidates. But how can they get elected when ~70% of the public (~50% that doubts evolution and another ~20% that thinks it’s fair to teach “both sides” in science class) imply that 99+% of biologists – those who have the most to gain by falsifying evolution – are wrong?

    I’m no fan of any “kind” of politician, but it seems that the big problem is not with them, but with the voters. And even with them it makes no sense to concentrate on the most hopeless ~25% (hard line fundamentalists who will never change), when our priority is to dispel all sorts of misconceptions about science (including its interaction with religion & philosophy) that plague most of the other 75%.

  12. it seems that the big problem is not with them, but with the voters. And even with them it makes no sense to concentrate on the most hopeless ~25% (hard line fundamentalists who will never change)

    25% of the population is a lot of votes. As Curmy has mentioned before, this is the result of a devil’s bargain wherein the GOP of the 50s chose to alter their platform in order to pick up former southern democrats who opposed civil rights. That southern group remains the anti-intellectual, religiously fundamental part of the party.

    Also, Party platform statements resemble legislation in being a something-for-everyone mishmash. The goal is to give at least a symbolic nod to every sub-group. The Dems do it too, but IMO their outer edge yahoos are less controlling on the party because the Democratic party is less effective at enforcing platform orthodoxy in their candidates.

  13. “Theories of Origin – We support objective teaching and equal treatment of strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories, including Intelligent Design.”

    Since when is ID considered “scientific?” Science doesn’t generally depend on “and then a miracle happened!”

  14. techreseller

    Those of us of the libertarian bent left the Republican Party for the Libertarian Party. Those of us who believe in evidence, small government, liberty, avoiding entanglements with foreign governments and in having the government just leave us alone, are no longer welcome in the Republican Party. Sad isn’t it?

    But you cannot argue with Xian fundies. Anytime you assume logical thought you just plain lose with those people.

  15. Why are you saying “As with sodomy, those aren’t our issues”.

    The government has absolutely no business whatsoever telling consenting adults/couples what sort of sex they can have. The whole thing is crazy. Are the police going to come by with a ruler and measure how close different pieces of the anatomy can be to each other.

    Puritan crazy.

  16. Are you guys SERIOUS???? SERIOUSLY……
    Lets just go back to the moral stone age….