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Published on May 28, 2024
Texas GOP Convention Advocates Christian Conservatism, Contemplates Election Policy OverhaulSource: Wikipedia/Dan Patrick

At the Texas GOP convention last week, delegates called for a deep embrace of Christianity and conservative values amid political strategies that some critics say are about power consolidation more than governance. Steve Hotze, a prominent figure at the event, championed the cause of spiritual warfare against "demonic, Satanic forces" on the left, according to a Texas Tribune report. Hotze, known for his anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ+ stances, found validation in the convention's direction, saying, "People that aren’t in Christ have wicked, evil hearts," and stressing the importance of picking a side in this battle.

New policies adopted by delegates could tighten the GOP's grip on Texas' elections by imposing rules to exclude censured candidates and judges from primary ballots for two years, efforts which may encounter legal hurdles. The proposed platform also suggests a requirement that statewide office candidates win a majority of Texas counties, potentially marginalizing densely populated urban centers that lean Democrat, a move, that, may fundamentally reshape the state's political landscape.

The convention's proposed education platforms were equally contentious, calling for public schools to teach the Bible, which would infuse Christianity into public life in a manner that blurs the line between church and state. High-profile Republicans, like Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, fueled the fire with remarks painting their political adversaries as existential threats to the country's core values, "They want to take God out of the country, and they want the government to be God," Patrick warned.

Elected officials encouraged pastors and congregations to increase their political involvement as a bulwark against perceived threats to children and Christian values. Legislators like Rep. Nate Schatzline emphasized the spiritual nature of their battle, saying at a luncheon event, "We are in a spiritual battle. This isn't a political one," a stark declaration that underscores the intense blending of faith and partisanship.

Fringe news outlets had a strong presence at the convention, with figures like Bob Harvey, a member of the "Grumpy Old Men's Club," advocating for avenues like the Gateway Pundit and Breitbart News to escape the "infiltration" by RINOs at mainstream conservative media. Harvey told the Texas Tribune that such sources help people uncover a deep-state plot against Donald Trump and the "agenda of the left" to indoctrinate kids through various institutions.

Amidst this charged atmosphere, the party passed measures to ensure that future chairs and vice chairs of the Texas GOP are "biological" men or women, reflecting a broader wave of policies aimed at resisting transgender acceptance. The proposed platform also includes language that equates gender-transition care with child abuse and calls for legislation akin to Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law.