Author Emily Dietle
My focus is on state-church separation & social issues. I'm an avid reader, and feel that one of our most valuable tools is the free movement of information and ideas. | @emilyhasbooks
This post began as a draft intended to highlight a few contradictions in the State Constitution of my birthplace and current home, Texas. Upon the release of the “2012 REPUBLICAN PARTY OF TEXAS Report of Platform Committee and Rules Committee,” I have a bit more to
vent about add.
The 2012 “STATE REPUBLICAN PARTY PLATFORM” opens with a preamble that, amongst ramblings about God this and God that, states, “Throughout the world people dare to dream of freedom and opportunity. The Republican Party of Texas unequivocally defends that dream.” …denies that dream and actively seeks to restrict and control, based on their religiously rooted doctrine and dogma.
1. Strict adherence to the original intent of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. and Texas Constitutions. This item must be read through the mindset of a Texan Republican, one that firmly states that our founding father’s established a Christian nation, and that State’s rights and majority rules.
2. The sanctity of human life, created in the image of God, which should be protected from fertilization to natural death. Otherwise phrased as, “God made it, so we must keep it…no matter what.” This reflects their position that abortion for any reason should be abolished, and that you may not choose when to die, even if you’re suffering from a painful and debilitating terminal illness.
3. Preserving American and Texas Sovereignty and Freedom. Sovereignty. I’m not sure how you can have American and Texas sovereignty, as it entails having “supreme, independent authority over a geographic area.” Conflicting, but “Qe’re the best State eva’ and will secede at our will.”
4. Limiting government power to those items enumerated in the U.S. and Texas Constitutions. This one seems mundane. You must be a citizen, you must be thirty-five to be President, you must be this tall to ride the… To understand the scope of the aim of this principle, we must look to several places. I’ll open with the ‘No Religious Test Clause’ of the United States Constitution, Article VI, paragraph 3 which reads, “… no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Legally, this overrides any State law that may contradict it, according to the 1961 Supreme Court ruling stating that laws requiring “a belief in the existence of God” in order to hold public office violated the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Be forewarned, legalities aren’t the issue here. These are “principles” that the Republican Party of Texas believes in as a platform and “expect our elected leaders to uphold these truths through acknowledgement and action.” What do those truths include? Things like this anti-atheist gem from Article 1, Section 4 of the Texas Constitution:
RELIGIOUS TESTS. No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.
5. Personal Accountability and Responsibility. Oh, aren’t we always hearing this callous bent from Republicans? You lost your job, your home, you don’t have an education, you cannot afford health insurance? “You’re a lazy, irresponsible loser, and you must suffer the penalties of your poor choices!” This vague language has little purpose outside serving as dribble for Republican speech writers.
6. Self-sufficient families, founded on the traditional marriage of a natural man and a natural woman. Self-sufficient families! Sounds great! What does that mean between the lines though? That we must fend for ourselves for food, shelter, health care?
It’s also made quite clear from the use of “natural” man and woman, they not only mean that they’d refuse equality to same-sex couples, but that they will also aim their bigotry at transgendered and intersex persons.
7. Having an educated population, with parents having the freedom of choice for the education of their children. More carrots and candy for voters! This one was written specifically for our large population of Christian homeschooling parents focused on indoctrination. There is one benefit to the mindset in Texas about homeschooling- it protects the rights of parents that seek to keep their children out of the state’s deteriorated education system.
8. Americans having the right to be safe in their homes, on their streets, and in their communities, and the unalienable right to defend themselves. I’m glad to seesomething that we can agree upon. Whether or not the specifics of this includes the right to a fully automatic AK-47 is another issue.
9. A free enterprise society unencumbered by government interference or subsidies. Free enterprise, also known as Capitalism- one of many economic systems that has merits and flaws- in this case: an unfair distribution of wealth and power.
10. Honoring all of those that serve and protect our freedom. This needs to be written into their main principles? It reminds me of the popular version of the Christian ‘Ten Commandments’ wherein it had to be explicitly written out that it was wrong to kill. Of course we’ll honour service personnel, and I’ll honour those that identify as LGBT, too.
11. “The laws of nature and nature’s God” as our Founding Fathers believed. What are the laws of nature? Who or what is “nature’s God?” Many things can be asserted, but using a phrase from the Declaration of Independence to claim to know what our Nation’s founders believed is manipulative.
The first sentence of the Declaration of Independence asserts that when it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve their political bands with another people, they should declare their reasons for separation.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
The part in the middle, the poetry, “and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them” is simply that- poetry. The religious beliefs of Jefferson and other founders have been debated for over two centuries, but whatever they mean by [the laws of] Nature’s God is moot unless used, as often is, as manipulative political drivel.
Why am I telling you this? Other than needing to vent, I want you to spread the word to Texas Republicans, and to anyone that identifies with the Republican party. Just was we suggest Catholics leave the Roman Catholic Church when they no longer agree with the tenets or actions of the organization, so should we urge Republicans to renounce their party affiliation if they disagree with GOP principles. Many voters are ignorant of their party’s platform, and it’s up to those of us with loud mouths to inform them of what that voter registration card actually stands for.