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Christopher "Tanoro" Gray is a web programmer and science advocate especially concerned with resource management technologies, biology, and artificial intelligence. He is a student of epistemology and philosophy as well as an Atheist competent in Christian theology.

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Texas GOP Platform
Posted by: Tanoro - Jun 29, 2012 6:43pm

I have a number of issues with the platforms of both the Republican and Democratic parties, but the Texas GOP platform is taking crazy religious asshattery to a whole new, and refreshingly direct, level. I say, "refresingly direct," because I'm not accustomed to the religious nutjobs in politics being this straight forward about their crazy beliefs. I have been hearing about this since Wednesday when the Young Turks and a few other sources I follow began discussing one or two of what they felt were the most insane items listed, but it wasn't until today that Aron Ra posted a generous list of his favorites from the platform and pleaded everyone to speak out. Aron does a good job picking out many more and providing a little commentary, so I'm going to pick from the list my favorites and provide mine as well.

Protection from Extreme Environmentalists – We strongly oppose all efforts of the extreme environmental groups that stymie legitimate business interests. We strongly oppose those efforts that attempt to use the environmental causes to purposefully disrupt and stop those interests within the oil and gas industry. 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.

In other words, you want the government to support you in unscrupulously screwing up our shared environment and you want no immediate accountability for doing so. I love the loaded language being used here. They want "protection" from "extreme environmentalists." Why? The worst thing environmentalists do to you is speak out against you in court, in the state houses, at protests, and on the Internet. That is just SO invasive on your profits, isn't it?

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.

This is more loaded language that deserves a little explanation. Here is the deal. Churches have tax-exempt status, so they're allowed to own property and their employees are allowed to earn wages without anybody paying taxes for any of this. I find this absurd to be sure, because it puts our government in the business of deciding which religions are legitimate. Also, since we tax our doctors so heavily, a group that has done a lot more for society than clergy, the clergy should be near the bottom of the priority list. There is a catch, however. Churches are not permitted to promote political action, which is one of the reasons why Pastor Charles Worley is in hot water, as if being an intolerant bigot wasn't enough. What this item in the platform is intended to do is give churches the right to promote political action (free speech) without having to worry about their profitable tax exempt status going away (amending the IRS Code). This is a bad idea because our government will then be paying our churches for free political endorsement for any action or candidate that the churches favor.

Religious Symbols – We oppose any governmental action to restrict, prohibit, or remove public display of the Decalogue or other religious symbols. Pledge of Allegiance – We support adoption of the Pledge Protection Act. We also urge that the National Motto “In God We Trust” and National Anthem be protected from legislative and judicial attack.

In other words, they want to freely promote their religion anywhere, including in government buildings, and they want no legal actions to oppose them, even if their actions are unconstitutional by Supreme Court decision. The Pledge Protection Act is intended to prevent the government and Supreme Court from having any jurisdiction to hear constitutional challenges that involve the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Why do they care? Because it contains the phrase, "Under God." Again, I want to stress that this is not about who is right under the law. It is all about making their cause the legal exception to every rule so that they can break the law at their convenience and suffer no accountability for it.

Family and Defense of Marriage ― We support the definition of marriage as a God-ordained, legal and moral commitment only between a natural man and a natural woman, which is the foundational unit of a healthy society, and we oppose the assault on marriage by judicial activists. We call on the President and Congress to take immediate action to defend the sanctity of marriage.

This is clearly and transparently intended to prevent gay marriage. Let me be blunt on this one. I'm not gay, but I honestly don't give a damn if my gay neighbors get married. It doesn't effect me one bit and it doesn't effect the people who penned this platform either. There is not one argument a person can make against gay marriage that can't be turned on heterosexual marriage under one condition or another or is factually wrong. This item is here as an expression of hateful bigotry and a commitment to inequality and discrimination. The United States of America has no clear plan for breaking our addiction to foreign oil and setting up an internal, sustainable energy structure. We don't even rank among the top 5 in educational achievement. Our economy is circling the drain. Unemployment is near record-breaking. Debt is high. We've been at almost perpetual war for the past 11 years. But by God, we can't let the gays get married!

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

You don't get much more direct than that. And Christians like to assure us that they're not trying to force their religion on us. Yea, what they're really trying to do is have the government do it.

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. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle, in public policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values.

See my comment above about discrimination against gays and hold this item in mind for later.

Right To Life – All innocent human life must be respected and safeguarded from fertilization to natural death;

As Aron pointed out, this one is sort of funny, considering the GOP is notoriously in favor of the death penalty, especially in Texas. That said, they're not really talking about natural death. They mean natural death unless they're the ones who want you dead. I might feel a little better that they are at least willing to give someone a fair trial in court, but then I read about the Pledge Protection Act again and remind myself that legal procedures are not their cup of tea.

Morning After Pill – We oppose sale and use of the dangerous “Morning After Pill.”

I find this one interesting. The morning after pill is an emergency contraceptive that works by disrupting ovulation, preventing fertilization from taking place and, thus, preventing pregnancy from occurring. Anti-choice activists, like those who wrote this platform, believe the pill destroys the embryo after fertilization by blocking implantation, which was a conclusion held by science from past decades recently overturned by more recent research. Still, I am certain that the Texas GOP is not up on their science like I am, so I am going to suggest an alteration to the "Right To Life" item above. It should read, "Right To Life – All innocent human life must be respected and safeguarded from ejaculation to natural death or execution - whichever comes first;"

Controversial Theories – We support objective teaching and equal treatment of all sides of scientific theories. We believe theories such as life origins and environmental change should be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced. 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.

In other words, you want non-scientists to decide which topics are scientifically controversial and have the layman's non-science taught in science class alongside, or in place of, the real science. I wonder which controversary they have in mind.

Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose 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.

This one is so incredible, I can barely fit it into my head. How much more obvious does it have to get? They want to impose their opinions as fact on everyone else and they deliberately want children to remain too inept to muster an intellectual defense against their deceptive claptrap! I am suddenly reminded of how Adolf Hitler gained the cooperation of an entire Catholic/Lutheran population in Germany and convinced them that killing the Jews was a good idea. He made sure no one would speak out critically!

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.

Abstinence is a lost cause. It doesn't work. Populations who stick to abstinence almost consistently have the highest rate of repeat teen pregnancy. What people like this don't understand is why. When you introduce kids openly, honestly, and within a controlled environment, you provide an opportunity to share what you know and answer questions. As a result, kids make better decisions. The Texas GOP would rather not discuss at all, not allow kids to ask questions about it, and they wonder why kids make the wrong decisions when they discover sex in an uncontrolled environment. No wait, they don't wonder why. They just plug their ears, sing "la la la," and pretend it didn't happen while their kid pays the price for it.

Judeo-Christian Nation – As America is a nation under God founded on Judeo-Christian principles, we affirm the constitutional right of all individuals to worship in the religion of their choice.

So long as you're worshipping the same God, right? What if you're a Buddhist? What if you're a Pagan? What if you're an Atheist? No, you have to worship the Christian God. That's why we're affirming this as a nation founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs. This Christian Nation argument reminds me of how dogs mark their territory. They just pee on everything in sight and when everything smells like they do, it's a Christian nation.

Safeguarding Our Religious Liberties – We affirm that the public acknowledgement 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. We urge the Legislature to increase the ability of faith-based institutions and other organizations to assist the needy and to reduce regulation of such organizations.

Assist the needy? The International Body of Christ church in Dallas spent part of $40 million on a 75,000 gallon fish tank! I have serious doubts they are raising those fish to feed the needy. Face it. Churches squander their funds. They don't even deserve tax exempt status at this point, much less threaten church/state separation.

Equality of All Citizens – We deplore all discrimination. We also deplore forced sensitivity training and urge repeal of any mandate requiring it. We urge immediate repeal of the Hate Crimes Law. Until the Hate Crimes Law is totally repealed, we urge the Legislature to immediately remove the education curriculum mandate and the sexual orientation category in said Law.

Wait! Back up. "We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin." So what you really mean is, "We deplore all discrimination, except our own, because only we are allowed to discriminate."

Unborn Victims of Violence – We believe a person who injures or kills an unborn child should be subject to criminal and civil litigation.

Oh, I see. Unborn children are sacred, but it's ok to kill 11-year-old girls so long as you do so out of faith, right? Give it up. You're not pro-life. You're very much pro-death.

This blog is an editorial and contains only the opinions of the author. The author claims no expertise on most topics of discussion and this blog is not to be cited as an alternative for properly vetted journalism or scientific sources.

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