Texas GOP's platform is batshit insane

Wow.  Just wow.  The Republican Party in Texas just released their platform for the coming year.  That’s a lot of stupidity crammed into one document.

The sanctity of human life, created in the image of God, which should be protected from fertilization to natural death.

Which looks pretty interesting (read, “stupid as all hell”) juxtaposed against this.

Capital Punishment – Properly applied capital punishment is legitimate, is an effective deterrent, and should be swift and unencumbered.

Or try this lovely bit of talking out both side of their mouths.  The Texas GOP supports…

Having an educated population…

But opposes…

…the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

You can’t oppose the teaching of critical thinking and claim to want an educated populace!

So after all this double speak they then have the temerity to say…

Germane Contents Requirement – All content of any bill must be germane to the title of the act.

Bear in mind, this is the same party that gave us a host of oxymoronic legislation (emphasis on the moronic) like the Clear Skies Act (which curtailed the power of the EPA).  How stupid do they think the citizenry of Texas is?  Apparently pretty fucking stupid.  The sad thing is, I’ll wager anything that votes in Texas this fall will confirm that the GOP was right.

Some parts of their platform contain, in literally one line, things that would be hilarious were they not so depressing.

The Republican Party of Texas believes in equal opportunity for all citizens without regard to race or gender. To that end, we oppose affirmative action.

What???  Like saying we support trimmed yards, and are therefore opposed to lawn mowers.

This one really made me laugh.

Patriot Act – We urge review and revision of those portions of the USA Patriot Act, and related executive and military orders and directives that erode constitutional rights and essential liberties of citizens.

You were the ones who didn’t give the first shit about the rights of citizens when you were clamoring for it to be passed!  You don’t get to put out a fire you started and call yourselves heroes.

Also, the politicians in Texas seem averse to listening to experts in pretty much any field.  You thought Don McLeroy was the lone weirdo who thought somebody had to stand up to the experts?

We strongly support the immediate repeal of the Endangered Species Act. We strongly oppose the listing of the dune sage brush lizard either as a threatened or an endangered species. We believe the Environmental Protection Agency should be abolished.

Because what has the planet ever done for us?

So far the Texas GOP knows better than biologists in regards to biology and better than climatologists and environmental scientists with regards to the environment.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) ― We demand the immediate repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which we believe to be unconstitutional.

The legal experts say you’re wrong.  But if you don’t give a shit what the experts say, that really won’t do much to dissuade you.  It shouldn’t do much to getting you elected either, but when your state is full of people drunk on the the ignorance of ancient Christianity, I’m willing to bet they’ll gobble it up like chicken fried steak and grits.

Immunizations ― All adult citizens should have the legal right to conscientiously choose which vaccines are administered to themselves or their minor children without penalty for refusing a vaccine. We oppose any effort by any authority to mandate such vaccines or any medical database that would contain personal records of citizens without their consent.

That covers disdain for the medical experts, but it’s in-keeping with the rest of their platform which essentially says that individuals have a right to make things shitty for everyone else if they choose to.

Free Speech for the Clergy – We urge amendment of the Internal Revenue Code to allow a religious organization to address issues without fear of losing its tax-exempt status. We call for repeal of requirements that religious organizations send the government any personal information about their contributors.

And why not?  Churches and pastors have totally demonstrated they can be trusted financially.

And what’s this horseshit on clergy not having free speech?  They can say whatever they want.  Of course, if you don’t want to pay taxes, you must stay politically neutral.  If you want to play politics you’re perfectly free to do so – you just have to pay taxes like everybody else.  You don’t get to avoid paying taxes because fuck you we’re the church.  Aren’t the GOP supposed to oppose free loaders?

The Republican Party of Texas supports the historic concept, established by our nations’ founders, of limited civil government jurisdiction under the natural laws of God

Which god?

Legislature and the U.S. Congress to enact legislation prohibiting any judicial jurisdiction from allowing any substitute or parallel system of Law, specifically foreign Law (including Sharia Law), which is not in accordance with the U.S. or Texas Constitutions.

We want god in government!  Just…not that god.  Y’know…we want our god.

Further, we urge Congress to withhold Supreme Court jurisdiction in cases involving abortion, religious freedom, and the Bill of Rights.

We support a system of check and balances…just not when our interests might get checked.

The rest of their platform is practically giving the Constitution a hand job (which it deserves), but when it comes to something like Article 3 (the one establishing the powers/responsibility of SCOTUS), the Constitution suddenly gets kicked to the curb without so much as a good night kiss.  They treat the document like creationists treat science: it’s a great tool when it agrees with them, but fit for being pissed on when it doesn’t.

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

Because fuck the Bill of Rights.  The Texas GOP’s document is borderline worshipful of “the Founding Fathers” insofar as their corpses can be used as ventriloquism dummies for their platform.  When it comes down to the ideas of the Founding Fathers that conflict with the Texas GOP, their respect for our founders evaporates like a stain of breath on a mirror.

Flag Desecration – Any form of desecration of the American Flag is an act of disregard for our nation and its people and penalties should be established for such.

“The Founding Fathers were swell!” they exclaim while taking two-flush monster shit all over free speech!”

Family Values ― We support the affirmation of traditional Judeo-Christian family values and oppose the continued assault on those values.

Those values are transparently moronic in the 21st century.  They should be opposed.  You don’t like it?  Defend them.  Don’t just whine that they’re being challenged.

Because mind-meltingly idiotic traditions exist (see Sharia Law), “tradition” doesn’t earn you squat if our priority is avoiding mind-meltingly idiotic policies.  This is especially true when you want to dictate how others live their lives.  You’d better have a damn good reason such as, “this causes harm to other human beings and society” that you can back up with evidence.  You don’t just get to say, “These are our traditions, so you have to live by them.”  The least you deserve for that position is a massive, “fuck you!” from the rest of us.

I have some traditions you probably don’t like.  You shouldn’t have to construct your life around my traditions.  Likewise us for yours.

Homosexuality ― We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. 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.

What a bunch of petty children chained to a religion that has made them proud of their hate.  You want to talk about something as harmless as loving someone else of the same gender tearing at the fabric of society in a document that flips the bird at experts in every field, drips with xenophobia, and creates classes of secondary citizens for the LGBT and non-religious?  Seriously?

They seem to think the solution is for everybody to be like them.  I say the way to produce a healthier society is to send anybody with enough brain damage to cheer for this platform down to Texas and let them secede from the union.

Pornography ― We encourage the enforcement of laws regarding all forms of pornography, because pornography is detrimental to the fabric of society.

Well, since conservatives are the biggest consumers of porn in America, I can only assume that conservatives a group of moral degenerates who are a threat to society.  Arrest them.

Conservatives condemning the evils of porn is like Catholics condemning child rape.  It’s a smoke screen for something they really don’t give a shit about as confessed by their actions.

Sex Education – We recognize parental responsibility and authority regarding sex education. We believe that parents must be given an opportunity to review the material prior to giving their consent. We oppose any sex education other than abstinence until marriage.

There’s the opposition to the psychological/sociological experts who have confirmed time and time again that abstinence-only education augments the spread of STIs and results in more teen pregnancies.

What it boils down to is that for these people religion > reality.  That’s damned stupid and damned dangerous.

If you thought all of this so far was stabbing-yourself-in-the-head-with-a-screwdriver nuts, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.  Let’s talk about the GOP’s stance on education now.  Remember earlier when they opposed the teaching of critical thinking skills?  Strap in because it gets worse.

Here is the very first sentence in the “Educating Our Children” section…

American Identity Patriotism and Loyalty – We believe the current teaching of a multicultural curriculum is divisive.

And the very next sentence is…

We favor strengthening our common American identity and loyalty instead of political correctness that nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups.

Multiculturalism is divisive.  We can fix it by focusing on ourselves and ditching political correctness which, we’re to believe, is not divisive.

Students should pledge allegiance to the American and Texas flags daily to instill patriotism.

Piss on that!  Loyalty is earned, not imposed.  It was evil of the biblical god just like it’s evil of earthly tyrants.

Non-US citizens should not be eligible for state or federal grants, or loans.

Doesn’t matter how brilliant they are, if they’re foreigners we don’t want ‘em.  Clearly the Texas GOP is concerned about divisiveness among cultures…

Parental School Choice – We encourage the Governor and the Texas Legislature to enact child-centered school funding options which fund the student, not schools or districts, to allow maximum freedom of choice in public, private, or parochial education for all children.

No.  You don’t get government dollars to send your kid to a school.

Until such time as all texts are required to be approved by the SBOE, each ISD that uses non-SBOE approved instructional materials must verify them as factually and historically correct.

This is actually a great idea, as it would ordinarily nix creationism and revisionist history bullshit (both of which are supported in the Texas GOP’s platform).  But, in Texas, who would get to determine if those textbooks were factually/historically accurate?  The experts who have spent their entire lives in dedication to an academic discipline and who are checked and re-checked by other experts?  No, silly!  The people vetting those books are the population, most of which had their last contact with academics in high school.

…the ISD board must hold a public hearing on such materials, protect citizen’s right of petition and require compliance with TEC and legislative intent.

I’m just done.  I can’t even continue to the second half of this thing (yes, this blog covers only through page 13/22, and it doesn’t even come close to hitting on everything I could’ve hit on).

There are two exceptions.  The first, on page 16, with regards to government agencies.

We support abolishing all federal agencies whose activities are not specifically enumerated in the Constitution; including the Departments of Education and Energy.

You want to abolish the department of education?  That’s a priority you have for making our country better?  Jesus Fucking Christ.

In dealing with US’s military involvement in Israel it says:

Our policy is based on God’s biblical promise to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel and we further invite other nations and organizations to enjoy the benefits of that promise.

This is theocratic.  It’s sectarian.  It’s illegal.  Policies that elevate a single religion above all others, enshrining it as a legislative priority in a nation populated by people of many religions, are an affront to the very concept of America as a safe haven for people of all cultures.  It is a concept the Texas GOP would gleefully burn away while touting their love for the Founding Fathers of this nation.

This document is an insult to the citizens of Texas.  It is an indictment on each and every one of them accusing them of being a group of hateful, egotistical morons.  Unfortunately, these are accusations to which most Texans, come the fall and with the help of faith, will enthusiastically plead guilty.


About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • unbound

    “How stupid do they think the citizenry of Texas is?”

    The citizenry of Texas keeps voting for the GOP. The GOP doesn’t think they are stupid, they know they are stupid.

    While it is more brazen than normal, nothing in that platform document is new at all. This has been known to anyone with even a partially functioning brain for more than a decade. Yet they keep voting GOP.

    • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

      Not only voting for them, giving them a supermajority in the state legislature. Democrats in the GOP statehouse are a pretty rare thing.

  • iknklast

    Great post. I did my Ph.D. in Texas (yes, it was a real school; most of the people there were totally aghast at things like this). When I began applying for teaching jobs, I continually encountered search committees who told me the reason they felt it necessary to ask if I would teach evolution in my Biology classes is that I did all my higher education in Oklahoma and Texas. I would put my college experience up against most (non-Ivy league) colleges; but the perception of outsiders is a lot more important than people realize. It’s things like this that cause serious academics around the country to doubt the quality of an education received in the Bible Belt.

    Perhaps as more and more employers begin to balk at hiring the students that come out of schools in these states, they’ll get the picture…or perhaps not. They’ll just feel like martyrs for Christ. Meanwhile, it’s the next generation that would suffer, so I guess I won’t wish that on anyone.

  • http://writtenaftermidnight.wordpress.com jaime

    I actually agree with the vaccination thing. I’m in the minority of people who can’t have them for medical reasons, but when I was a baby, and my mom reported my allergic reactions to her doctor, he didn’t take it very seriously. My current doctor confirmed that I very likely would have died if my mother didn’t insist on refusing more vaccinations.

    On the other hand, this is only one instance, and there are plenty of people who ignore sound medical advice for religious reasons, or because they don’t trust their doctors. A lot of people do die from preventable causes, which just shouldn’t happen. What do think is a responsible way of protecting against both extremes?

    • hotshoe

      No, Jaime, that’s why you actually need mandatory vaccination policies – to protect YOU personally from dying of measles when some other asshole, who could safely have been vaccinated, gets a case of measles and then infects you, who could not have been safely vaccinated. Mandatory vaccination policies have appropriate medical exceptions; what they don’t have is exceptions for kookery.

      There might be a question of which vaccinations you can’t have – depending on your specific allergies, you may be able to tolerate certain ones, or not – but that’s an answer which has to come from a trained medical person, not just from an uneducated parent no matter how concerned. It’s a medical issue! It’s not supposed to be a political issue. It’s a travesty that these rightwing assholes are making it a political issue.

      What this platform is is a license for batshit parents (whose children have absolutely no medical reason to refuse vaccination) to commit manslaughter by letting their sick kids infect someone else who has no protection (like you, who has medical reason to refuse vaccination). By preventing the state from even collecting records of who is vaccinated and not, this platform not only adds to your personal risk, it makes it impossible for your heirs to identify then sue the guilty parents if they let your kid kill you by infecting you.

      • danielsinnott

        +1 to hotshoe

  • Randomfactor

    This is practically the last gasp of the GOP in a state which is turning blue(r) demographically.

    They will join us, or die.

    • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

      If you mean the increasing number of Latinos who are coming to the state when you say “turning blue(er),” I suppose you have a point, but I think that’s like saying that jumping gets you closer to the moon at the moment. The GOP owns the Texas state legislature with a veto-proof majority (not that Perry would veto anything coming from them). It’s a sad state of affairs and I feel really bad for the sane people stuck there.

      Then again, I live in Florida, so…

  • Tom

    That last picture is pretty neat. Is there a youtube clip of it?

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      Not that I know of. :(

      • Jake (The Biblical Snake)

        But do you happen know what movie/show it’s from?

        P.S. my fiance is running the merch tables at Skepticon and we are getting suuuuuuuper excited. -Jake

        • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

          I don’t. :(

          So pumped about SK5. Have we met? If not, thanks for helping out and I’ll look forward to meeting you. :)

          • Jake (The Biblical Snake)

            We have met, although briefly. We were at the Freethought Festival in Madison, WI (we’re from Northern Illinois) and we talked about trying to start some SSA chapters in our city at both of the colleges and as many of the 17 high schools as we could. As it stands, we’re busy planning to launch a skeptical organization to serve as a hub for secular activities in Illinois outside of Chicago. -Jake

        • kaboobie

          It’s from The Newsroom, the new Aaron Sorkin show which premiered on HBO last Sunday. That speech came near the beginning (basically the character’s “I’m as mad as Hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore” moment) and was a highlight. Unfortunately, both my husband and I found it pretty much unwatchable. It made all the same mistakes as Studio 60, plus several new ones.

          • a miasma of incandescent plasma

            I really liked the premiere episode. Maybe it was from the epic-ness of this one scene or the hope that I have for what the show’s trying to bring back. It’s in my “give it a try” folder of DVR.

  • baal

    So. many. lies. Reality simply cannot bend no matter how big the lie or often it’s repeated.

    There are so many things wrong it’s hard to pick. Here’s one,
    “Capital Punishment … is an effective deterrent.” Um, no it is not. Worse, its application in the US clearly puts innocent people (mostly black men) to death. Nearly the entire rest of the world has this one figured out. The State should not be in the killing prisoners business.

    As to vaccinations – they must be mandatory. I’m a-ok with single individuals having an appeal but it must be their burden. It’s a travesty that people have to have their children die due to the antivaxers. I knew a little boy who died due to an pod of antivaxers who weren’t inoculated against whooping cough. Vaccines are the best way to prevent the spread of certain diseases and herd immunity is the way they work to extinguish transmission. They don’t work like a suit of armor for the person who gets the vaccine. It’s more like a wall around a city and if one person or group of people create a hole in the wall, everyone else gets sick.

    For clarity in one line – the science has been done ad naseum. vaccines are safer than the disease risk they protect you from.

    tl;dr – your right to not get a vaccine is limited by my right to not get sick from your choice.

    • http://writtenaftermidnight.wordpress.com jaime

      Could you please clarify what you mean by: “I’m a-ok with single individuals having an appeal but it must be their burden.”?

      • baal

        I’m thinking the burden to opt-out must be more than a trivial “i refuse” to the school. I think it at least needs a burden equivalent of getting a doctors note or form from a local unit of government. I understand that this is unfair to poor and disenfranchised but 1) vaccines are that important 2) I’m already horrified that the State doesn’t provide more assistance to them to carry out other State functions. This isn’t out of line with other public issues.

    • hotshoe

      You and I both recognize this is a travesty.

      Honestly, I swear I hadn’t read your post before I posted my reply to jaime, even though I noticed yours was already in the thread.

      Vaccination is a social justice issue in my eyes. Anyone who refuses to vaccinate their children without specific medical reason is perpetuating injustice on those who cannot defend themselves: the babies too young to get vaccinated, those people like jaime who have certain allergies, the poor and dispossessed, especially immigrants, who desperately want to remain healthy but can’t afford the shots or can’t get access to a public health clinic. And then of course the regressives use anti-vax sentiment as one of the excuses to defund public health clinics, making the injustice worse.

      • http://writtenaftermidnight.wordpress.com jaime

        Just to be clear, I agree that vaccinations are crucial. What I was trying to address is the language often used by either side. Being someone who has little knowledge of how exceptions to policy are formed, it concerns me when I see blanket statements. What I’d like to know, is what do you think is a good legalese way of incorporating medical exceptions into a mandatory policy statement?

        • hotshoe

          Why don’t you look up how it’s phrased in any sensible state which already has such a policy ?

        • hotshoe

          jaime, are you aware that all 50 states (and DC) currently have mandatory vaccination policies for schoolchildren, with medical exemptions in their existing laws ? And that this has been true for decades ? (Although they also have the weakness in twenty states of allowing exemptions merely for “religious” or “philosophical” objections.)

          Is there a reason why you suddenly worry that these medical exemptions are not sufficient ? They’ve been working just fine for forty or fifty years. They protected you when you were a child. Why are you worrying now ?

          Rational people are worried that bugfuck states like Texas are trying to send us back to 19th century public health when no child was safe from whooping cough or measles as epidemics swept through town. This new ReThug platform will be a huge step backward. A guaranteed disaster for the innocent babies who get infected before they’re old enough to get immunized by parents who do care and aren’t batshit crazy like their Texas neighbors.

          • http://writtenaftermidnight.wordpress.com jaime

            I actually wasn’t aware of the common policy. I had an alternative education, so I have little to know knowledge of how public or even private schools navigate health policy. That’s the main reason I was asking. Just to reiterate: I do believe that vaccinations are crucial. I don’t think you have the right to endanger public health on a whim, just like you have the right to drink, but not to drive under the influence.

            What I was getting at before (badly) was that my doctor as a child was negligent; not just by my parent’s opinion, by by another doctor’s. This was a problem because we lived in a rural area and didn’t have reasonable access to an alternative care-giver for years. I’ve seen similar problems for other rural families, especially for commonplace procedures where exceptions are rare. A note documenting medical exceptions is perfectly reasonable, but how do you prevent similar negligence if the doctor can veto the parent?

            I’m not endorsing parents refusing to give their kids needed treatment for whatever reason, that’s despicable and should be illegal.

      • hotshoe

        Umm, just to clarify, my reply just above is to baal (not jaime).
        Nested thread replies, ugh. Sorry.

        • baal

          I am aware and thought it bore repeating anyway. I don’t think we disagree.

  • Alverant

    And of course all those special rights for religion will vanish the instant a non-christian religion asks for equal treatment.

  • Bob Jase

    This is what one can expect from a nation/state founded by slave-owning traitors like Bowie and illegal immigrants like Crockett.

    • San Ban

      Rubbish! The founders of the state are not the reason the current politicians are pursuing stupid and destructive policies today. The circumstances of the founding may have some residual influence, but it’s pretty much all down to the politicians and voters of our time. Let’s not engage in essentialism on these skeptical boards.

  • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

    I’ve been meaning to respond to this, but I feel like it’s worth it to wait until other states adopt similar policies. Because it’s not going to be just Texas. The Carolinas will likely adopt similar, almost certainly Tennessee and Mississippi, Alabama will catch parts of it as well as Kansas, Nebraska, and Arkansas. Oklahoma will probably also take up parts of this, though they have a few conservatives in their legislature that actually think that “small government” means not adopting sweeping anti-abortion legislation.

    Most depressingly, I suspect that the GOP here in my beloved Florida will adopt similar planks, especially on education. Anti-environmental policy is bad enough in the land of beaches and the Everglades, but our governor has been pushing for voucher schemes for a while. They may not be as direct about the religious language or the desire to have stupid kids, but money that’s being spent on education in this state is money not being filtered to Rick Scott’s bank account, so there will be more drastic cuts called for.

    Otherwise, I don’t know about a lot of other states picking these things up. There’s precedent for Arizona or Indiana, but it’s hard to tell. Either way, this is just the beginning.

  • http://offseasontv.blogspot.com BrianX

    You know, when shitbags write shitbaggy things like this, we really need to make a HUGE show of telling them what shitbags they’re being. And we need to start reclaiming our national symbols. (That’s why I like my USA Soccer sweatshirt — the logo is a snake wrapped around a soccer ball. The symbolism is cool, but even better, we can feel pretty safe in saying that most teabaggers don’t like soccer, so it’s nice and head-splodey.)

  • http://skepticalimerick.blogspot.com/ Rich Stage

    If you’ve bid intelligence adieu,
    and think that our progress is through
    let your mind decay
    just kneel down and pray:
    “Today I will learn nothing new!”

    • PhilMay

      Great Limerick. Do you mind if I post it on other sites (giving you proper credit)?

  • Brea Plum

    Not so minor correction: chicken fried steak is eaten with mashed potatoes and cream gravy. Grits are served with pork chops for breakfast.

    Big different.

    • Brea Plum

      Indeed, and even bigger difference when I use words correctly.

  • chasbo

    Missing from this year’s platform is the statement from the 2002 Platform (and maybe other years as well):

    “The Republican Party of Texas reaffirms the United States of America is a Christian nation, which was founded on fundamental Judeo-Christian principles based on the Holy Bible.”

    They pretty much say the same thing in this platform, but not as explicitly. Wonder why?

  • PhilMay

    “They seem to think the solution is for everybody to be like them. I say the way to produce a healthier society is to send anybody with enough brain damage to cheer for this platform down to Texas and let them secede from the union.”

    Now just a damn minute J.T.! Matt, Tracie, Jen and the rest of the gang at The Atheist Experience have their hands full dealing with the home grown morons. You have to deal with the knuckleheads in your own states.

    This blog is one of my favorite J.T. rants. Keep up the good work.

  • PhilMay

    From Texas GOP Platform:

    “Empowering Local Entities Concerning Religious Meetings – We support the right of local entities to determine their own policies regarding religious clubs and meetings on all properties owned by the same without interference.”

    Is this directed at SSA type activities?

  • http://www.improbablejoe.blogspot.com Improbable Joe

    The money they would spend to arrest, prosecute, and imprison each person who “desecrates” a flag would feed, house, and educate a poor kid for the same amount of time. So fuck them for their warped priorities.