Texas state flag

Texas GOP votes in favor of alarming Christian nationalist platform 


The Texas GOP voted at its convention last weekend to weaponize Christianity through a proposed party platform that openly inserts Christianity into government institutions. 

The convention concluded on Saturday after adopting a platform that would forge a coordinated attack against secular education, abortion, LGBTQIA-plus citizens and the separation between state and church. The proposed 50-page platform is expected to be finalized.

Planks overtly promoting the insertion of religion into government include:

  • Putting prayer, the bible and the Ten Commandments into schools, courthouses and government buildings, in order to “support affirmation of God.” 
  • Urging the Legislature to require “instruction on the Bible, servant leadership and Christian self-governance.”
  • Supporting chaplain proselytizing in public schools, including giving “guidance from a traditional biblical perspective based on Judeo-Christian principles with the informed consent of a parent.” Texas passed a law last year to allow school districts to hire chaplains.
  • Teaching “challengeable scientific theories,” e.g., undercutting evolution and climate change science.
  • Repealing the Johnson Amendment, which bars tax-exempt nonprofits, including churches, from using tax-free donations for electioneering.
  • Barring regulation or control of churches by any level of government, such as exempting them from public health orders. 

Yet another proposed plank wants high school U.S. history classes to specifically focus on founding documents, strangely including Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists, in which he famously coined the phrase “a wall of separation between church and state.” Friendly Atheist blogger Hemant Mehta speculates that “its inclusion isn’t weird at all when you consider how [David] Barton has twisted its meaning to his audiences over the years.”

Science classes under the GOP platform would require teachers and students to discuss the “strengths and weaknesses” of theories on “the complexity of life origins and the changing climate throughout geologic history.” This is a thinly veiled attempt to cast doubt on the scientific facts of evolution and climate change. Another proposed plank intends to “Defund Political Correctness” by requiring higher education institutions to “reject diversity as understood by the Left.” This would gut diversity-equity-inclusion initiatives and “the discriminatory trend of so-called social justice and multicultural diversity.” 

Abortion is a clear target in the GOP platform. From professing that “abortion is not health care it is homicide” to “life begins at fertilization,” the GOP seemingly adopts every anti-abortion precept. A proposed plank would require Texas students to “learn about the humanity of the preborn child” by teaching “life-affirming definitions of life,” fetal development milestones, a live ultrasound and anti-abortion propaganda videos such as “Baby Olivia,” which depicts a manipulated, sped-up fetal development timeline and an inaccurate range of fetal movement. 

Another proposed plank supports legislation perpetuating the myth that “preborn children” are “at risk of being aborted because of their sex, race, disability or age of gestation” because of abortions sought after learning of fetal anomalies that can lead to severe physical and mental disabilities, miscarriage or stillbirth. The platform seeks to eliminate all public funding for Planned Parenthood, bar “selling body parts of aborted children” (which does not happen) and, of course, abolish all abortion. Plank 35 demands “equal protection for the preborn” (that means fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses), a way of treating abortion as a homicide. This potentially calls for those having abortions to be punished as murderers.

Traditional ideas of marriage, as “between one man and one woman,”appear alongside assertions that there are “only two genders: biological male and biological female which are immutable and cannot be changed.” One proposed plank states, “We affirm God’s biblical design for marriage and family … which has proven to be the foundation for all great nations in Western Civilization.” The platform even wants to imprudently revoke no-fault divorce and “promote the maintenance of the traditional family” by requiring counseling before divorce, which will ultimately endanger women in abusive relationships. 

Proposed planks insist that “homosexuality is an abnormal lifestyle choice” and that gender-affirming care for minors is “child abuse.” The platform opposes “transgender normalizing curriculum, library materials, and pronoun use” and would prohibit school staff from “engaging in sexualized drag activities, crossdressing or transgenderism.” Same-sex parenting is explicitly opposed, events like “Drag Queen Story Hour” are described as “predatory sexual behaviors,” legislation protecting businesses that discriminate against LGBTQIA-plus individuals are prioritized and gender-affirming treatments for minors are demonized. 

All sex education, including lessons on sexual health, sexual choice or identity, would be banned under the GOP’s plan, with only instruction allowed regarding programs on sexual risk avoidance and abstinence outside of marriage. A proposed plank even declares that it would “support the passage of a law even more comprehensive than the Florida law that prohibits instruction in sexual orientation and gender identity in government schools and libraries.” The plank is titled “Prohibiting Grooming of Minors,” which perpetuates the defamation that the LGBTQIA-plus community is pushing harmful and inappropriate content onto children and teens.

One of the platform’s most consequential planks seeks to require that candidates for statewide office carry a majority of the state’s 254 counties to win elections, a model similar to the U.S. electoral college. Texas Republicans routinely win in rural counties, with Democrats showing up in the more urban, populous counties and South Texas counties. This could lock Democrats out of statewide offices in the Lone Star State. The proposal seemingly would violate the Voting Rights Act, which is fine with the platform developers because they also call to repeal the Voting Rights Act itself! 

“The Texas Republican Party platforms have always been extreme,” says FFRF Action Fund President Annie Laurie Gaylor, “but unfortunately now we have to consider it an arbiter of national goals of the GOP. These planks are profoundly un-American.”

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.