FFRF Action Fund applauds the recent vote to impeach Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — a necessary step toward upholding justice and a potential victory for secular government.
Paxton’s actions during his tenure as attorney general of Texas have consistently demonstrated a disregard for the constitutional rights of all citizens, particularly those who do not adhere to his personal religious beliefs. Since he took office in 2015, Paxton has used his position to promote and advance his own religious agenda. His relentless efforts to inject religion into the public sphere have resulted in marginalizing and excluding those who do not share his particular faith. This not only violates the spirit of religious freedom, but also undermines the fundamental principle of equal treatment under the law.
Paxton has long been engaged in religious bigotry in a variety of ways. After the Obergefell decision legalizing marriage equality, Paxton offered support for rogue clerks who refused to issue a marriage license to same-sex couples. At the same time, he supports enforcing the anti-sodomy laws on Texas’ books if the Supreme Court revisits Lawrence v. Jackson, a prime example of Paxton picking and choosing which laws to enforce based on his religious views.
In perhaps his most grotesque form of religious groveling, Paxton claimed that “God has a plan? in reaction to the massacre of 19 fourth graders and two teachers at the Uvalde elementary school last May. He accepts children dying as a part of his god’s omnibenevolence, but actively fights any tangible action that would regulate guns and actually save lives. This is what undiluted religious dogma looks like.
Over the years, FFRF has led the charge in investigating Paxton’s ethical transgressions. In 2017, FFRF probed connections between Paxton and the First Liberty Institute, an ultraconservative Christian nationalist think tank that aims to advance “traditional values” and bring “the biblical worldview to the forefront of American life and politics.” Paxton had inserted himself into a lawsuit that FFRF filed against a judge who was opening each court session with prayer.
Paxton’s ethical misconduct is finally catching up with him. His indictment on felony fraud charges, allegations of corruption and an extramarital affair have further eroded public trust. His personal legal troubles have distracted from his duty to protect the constitutional rights of all Texans, regardless of their religious or nonreligious affiliation. For far too long, Paxton has operated with impunity, and now it is time he be held accountable for his corruption.
The FFRF Action Fund calls on the Texas Legislature to have a thorough and fair investigation into Paxton’s conduct and to take the necessary steps to ensure that Paxton is held accountable for his actions and his misuse of public office. Ken Paxton has long demonstrated how morally bankrupt and corrupt he is. For more than nine years, he has used his position to advance his Christian nationalist agenda and to help legislators try and turn Texas into an emboldened theocracy. We will continue to monitor developments closely and work to ensure that Paxton’s religious fanaticism is kept in check.
FFRF Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that develops and advocates for legislation, regulations and government programs to preserve the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. It also advocates for the rights and views of nonbelievers, endorses candidates for political office, and publicizes the views of elected officials concerning religious liberty issues.