Republicans in Texas now control every statewide office, and in 2002 gained control of the state House for the first time in over 100 years. The Texas GOP just held their state convention over the weekend, and though I've not yet seen the platform, apparently, it's more of the same that was in the extremist 2002 edition
. The Austin Statesman reported: At the Texas Republican Convention, God and the GOP are even tighter than the mere one-letter difference might indicate.
There's no official count, but the convention references to God are running about neck and neck with the mentions of home-state hero George W. Bush.
And on the evening of the first day, the Rev. Charles Murphy of Heritage Baptist Church in Missouri City was moved to comment on it.
"I thought when I was over there today I was at church," Murphy said gleefully before offering the invocation at a Texas Christian Coalition dinner on Thursday. "I heard more about God there than I hear at some of the conventions we go to that say they are Christian."
For many delegates at the three-day convention, religion and politics commingle with comfort, purpose and zeal. Delegates on Friday approved a platform that refers to "the myth of the separation of church and state."
...A plank in a section titled "Promoting Individual Freedom and Personal Safety" proclaims the United States a "Christian nation."
...The rewritten "Celebrating Traditional Marriage" section now calls for legislation making it a felony for anyone to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple or for a "civil official" to perform a wedding ceremony for such couples.
Also new this year is a section declaring that the Ten Commandments "are the basis of our basic freedoms and the cornerstone of our Western legal tradition."
At a 7 a.m. Friday prayer rally, thousands of delegates turned the convention floor into a house of prayer.
As delegates prayed and sang, oversized religious images, including Jesus on the cross, were displayed on the hall's giant video screens. Christian clergymen took turns leading the prayers, some with political overtones.
What's increasingly happened within the GOP is that the values which Christians have for their religious beliefs, such as total unquestioning faith, have migrated to their One Party belief-- they have become Fundamental Republicans. Which explains why they find it necessary to weed out those whom are not true believers in the Party. The rise of the Christian fundamentalist groups as a political power has been in the making for decades, and all to often, Democratic candidates have been afraid to call the zealots on their attempts to institute a theocracy in the United States, due to their political clout, but that's changing.
With the religious right making the GOP their home, their issues have becoming firmly polarized within the political stalemate. With their actively targeting Democrats, a force has arisen to oppose them, backing the Democrats. It's probably the least talked about force in politics today, what Greenberg called the Secular Warriors in The Two Americas. And the Secular Warriors are on fire in 2004, rearing to burn down the GOP's house of trifecta power.
According to Greenberg & Carville's Democracy Corps polling, the Secular Warriors make up 15% of the electorate, and are voting alongside Kerry with 69% of the vote, compared with the 58% that Gore garnered in 2000. In fact, that 11% gain represents the only one among all loyal Democratic groups that shows such any notable gain over Gore's numbers for Kerry. It's not yet near the 80% of the Christian right that Bush gets, which accounts for 17% of the electorate, and the group of voters where Rove thought pulled up short in 2000. The Democracy Corps polling actually shows a minor drop amongst these voters, to 76% for Bush in 2004, against Bush's numbers in 2000; but it's going to be the GOTV yields of the Fundamentalists that determines their success, as the strong counter effort is what's giving Kerry the lead right now in the polls.