God Blessed Texas?

March 09, 2010

Last week's primary elections in Texas offered some interesting religious-political moments. In the Republican gubernatorial primary, Governor Rick Perry avoided a run-off by topping 50 percent against U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and other opponents. Although Hutchison had received support from conservative Christians in the past despite her more moderate positions, conservative Christian lined up behind Perry as they had for his previous races. James Dobson, who has become increasingly political the last few years, publicly endorsed Perry, as did other religious leaders like Phyllis Schlafly, Tony Perkins, David Barton, and Rick Scarborough.

On the Republican primary ballot there were also several "ballot propositions," which were basically just poll questions to see what Republican voters thought about issues (the Democratic ballot included none of these symbolic items). One item asked voters if they supported "Public Acknowledgment of God." The ballot text explained:

The use of the word "God", prayers, and the Ten Commandments should be allowed at public gatherings and public educational institutions, as well as be permitted on government buildings and property.
The ballot item passed with a whopping 95 percent of the vote. Of course, this ballot initiative was not about changing policies but instead was about asking voters to help the Party depict itself as "pro-God."

Finally, on somewhat of a different note, a hero of conservative Christians lost in his reelection bid to the Texas Board of Education. Don McLeroy, who has been involved in controversial fights over science and social studies education standards (see article here for background), lost to a fellow Republican who made the textbook controversies a major part of the campaign. McLeroy has been pushing the efforts of David Barton and others to change how history is taught in Texas. Although he will be replaced from the Board, he will remain on for the next several months for the implementation of the new social studies educational standards. Additionally, Barton's radio co-host, Rick Green, advanced to the run-off election for the Republican nomination for a seat on the Texas Supreme Court.

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