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Atheist Experience
Should the GOP be a Church?

Here are a few excerpts from the 2006 Texas Republican Party Platform: 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 as a nation. We pledge to exert our influence toward a return to the original intent of the First Amendment and dispel the myth of the separation of church and state.

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

Religious Freedom in Public Schools –We urge school administrators and officials to inform Texas school students specifically of their First Amendment rights to pray and engage in religious speech, individually or in groups, on school property without government interference. We support and strongly urge Congress to pass a Religious Freedom Amendment, which provides: "Neither the United States nor any State shall prohibit student–sponsored prayer in public schools, nor compose any official student prayer or compel joining therein." We urge the Texas Legislature to pass legislation which ends censorship of the discussion of the role of religion in our founding documents, and encourage reading and discussing those documents in our public schools.

Theories of Origin – We support the objective teaching and equal treatment of scientific strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories, including Intelligent Design. We believe theories of life origins and environmental theories should be taught as scientific theory not scientific law; that social studies and other curriculum should not be based on any one theory.

Homosexuality - We believe that the practice of sodomy tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. 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.

Texas Sodomy Statutes - We oppose the legalization of sodomy. We demand that Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. Constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy.

I was skeptical of this--it just sounded too extreme to be true. But I went online and looked it up just using a random phrase cut and pasted from your post. I got three pages of criticisms of the document, but for a second I thought I wouldn't find the actual document (which made me think it might be a hoax).

Then I saw this:

There's also some very scary stuff in there about how "judicial tyranny" needs to be opposed if it is used to remove the words "under god" from the Texas pledge--or to affect the revised National motto: In God We Trust. Frankly, I feel saddened that our original motto--one that celebrated unity from diversity rather than encouraged divisiveness--was ever shed. E Pluribus Unum needs to be promoted again.

The 2006 State Republican Party Platform is available at In case Pat did not intend to omit the last three sentences of the platform's paragraph on homosexuality, here they are:

Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable "alternative" lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should "family" be redefined to include homosexual "couples." We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, recognition, or privileges including, but not limited to, marriage between persons of the same sex, custody of children by homosexuals, homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits. We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.

I was a Delegate to the convention that adopted the platform. Many delegates to the convention, including me, voted against adoption of the platform.

I testified before the Temporary Platform Committee, overheard most of the testimony given before the committee, and overheard most of the committee's debates and votes. The education proposals that I tried to convince the committee to adopt would have improved the platform but, even if my proposals had been adopted, I probably would still have voted against the platform.

The platform has many good provisions and many bad provisions. Some of the bad provisions are based only on religious zealotry; they should be removed from future platforms. Several members of the Platform Committee, including Chairman Kirk Overbey, an attorney from Austin, are religious zealots who should not have allowed their zealotry to damage the platform or, by association, to damage the reputations of good Republicans.

OMG!!! That's outrageous! I don't even know what to say about that. I can't believe this is a political platform and not a religious one. It sounds like something I'd expect from the platform of the Southern Baptist Convention--not a political party. (And even SBC might not be this extreme?). Nuts. Thanks for posting your insights and the link

Last time I looked this was a Democracy, which basically means that the majority rules. Last poll I saw about how many people believed there was a God was close to 90 percent. That does indeed sound like a majority. It is a simple fact that the majority in a democracy controls the climate of a nation.

I know this upsets those who believe that the "Seperation of Church and State Doctrine" is about keeping religious people from having any say in politics, and should stay out of it. However, religious people are not second class citizens, they have as much right as anyone else to make certain their rights are not trampled upon. The Doctrin is actually about keeping the state out of the church, not keeping religious people silent.

However, At the same time, religious zealots on the right, such as "The Religious Right", and the "Christian Coalition", have gone too far. It ios one thing to protect ones right to practice their religion unfettered. It is quite another thing to use politics and government to force others to live according to their religious beliefs.

Why shouldn't a gay couple be allowed to marry? What possible harm does that cause to any religion or religious institution? Bush says it harms the "institution of marriage." WHAT THE HECK IS THAT? I should think that DIVORCE hurts the institution of marriage if anything does.

So while it is a simple fact that the majority rules, and SHOULD rule, forcing RELIGIOUS belief and practice upon the population at large is going far too far. It is one thing to protect ones own ability to practice ones beliefs. It is quite another to pass legislation that forces it upon others.

Look again! The United States of America is a Federal Constitutional Republic comprising fifty states, one federal district, and fourteen territories, with Democratic Representation. The United States of America is not a Christian Nation. The goal of a Constitutional Republic is to avoid the dangerous extremes of either tyranny or mob rule.

As a constitutional republic America's foreign policy must be appropriate. America's constitutional republic is based on the principles of limited government and individual liberty.

Military officers take an oath (or affirm) to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

If we can hold on to it we have Constitutional Republic,but we seem to be going the way of Rome.

Defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies includes ( in my opinion) the taking away of individuals rights by "Divine" intervention.

An extremely good old film that addresses mob rule is the "Ox Bow Incident." Henry Fonda is in this film. They would never make this film today, nobody is remaking films like this, or "Twelve Angry Men." They are a scathing indictment of the mentality of some people in this country, and so rightly point out the need for a Constitution to protect us from hysterical fanatics.

Those who voice the opinion that this is a Christian nation base this idiotic assumption on the belief that the colonist, and the founding fathers are one and the same, which they are not! The idea that the first colonist came here for religious freedom is another inaccuracy. Most of the first colonists were not concerned with freedom for other people's religions. But they did want to be free to impose their religion on everyone else. The Puritans were a religious group that broke off from the Anglican Church of England. They came in 1620 to Plymouth, Massachusetts, and later in 1628 to Massachusetts Bay. They set up governments based on their model of the teachings in the Bible. The new colony was based on the Puritan religion, and they were going to keep it that way.

One of the early leaders of the new colony, Nathaniel Ward, described unacceptable religions in a speech. He said, "the observers of other religions shall have free liberty to keep away from us, and such as will come to be gone as fast as they can, the sooner the better. People were executed for what they considered blasphemy between 1659 and 1661.

Not all colonies were formed with the concept of enforcing established religions. Roger Williams founded Rhode Island colony in 1636 based on the idea that in order to keep religion pure, it must be separated from the constraints of the state. This new colony was based on the principle of religious liberty and took in individuals getting away from religious persecution at other colonies. William Penn a Quaker who believed that religion should be free from state control founded the Pennsylvania colony in 1682.

The British concept of a combination of religion and political system has its origins in the rulers of ancient Rome. It was by divine right that they determined the rulers. Divine right is the belief that a supreme being bestows the power to rule on the ruler. This gave the rulers the power to govern all the lands of their country, and be the head of the religion. This was seen as a mutually beneficial for both parties. The church sanctifies the sate, and the state proselytizes the church. But the colonists were subjects of the King who was the head of the Anglican Church of England. The King of England during the American Revolution was George III.

Our founding fathers fought for a Republic, the U.S.A. The Founding Fathers, who loathed the concept of British rule, declared our independence. George Washington the Father of our Nation said, "We were British subjects and we fought our own government!" The Constitution was written by the founding fathers, and on the subject of religion in Article VI, paragraph 3, the Constitution states that state and federal office holders "shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required to qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

In 1789 James Madison proposed the "Bill of Rights" to the House. Freedom of religion was included for the purpose of preventing the establishment of a national religion and even "suggested that the word 'national' be inserted before 'religion.'

Good point. Please excuse my ramble, but I'm aggravated by the GOP. They have effectively turned the party into a Theocrazy (not a misspelling, I like spelling it with a "Z").

I consider myself a Republican…a Left-Wing Republican; like Abraham Lincoln, not like *Reagan, Bush, or W.

I consider myself a moderate, having both liberal and conservative beliefs. Republicans are supposed to believe in small government & big liberty.

I recall a funny antidote from 'W's' second run for office. I was reminding students to take time vote. I stopped by a young lady's desk and asked if she was planning on voting. She said, "Yes. I'm voting for Kerry." Then a look came over face like she had just been caught with her hand in the cookie jar, quickly amending her statement with, "But I'm a Christian." I assured her that I made no assumptions about her personal beliefs, but I'm sure my nonverbal shock showed.

That's when it hit me that 'W' was going to win the election. 'W' had tied himself to 'the Christian thing to do.' After that, I started counting the number of times he said "God" in his speeches. Once I counted 'W' saying "God" over 60 times in a five minute monologue.

I believe the Republican Party will have a difficult time reining in all of its members this election. The Christian Right has effectively split the party, because the many of us do not believe they are aligning to the Republican goals, but rather Religious goals...wiich do not support small government or big liberty.

Because the majority of Americans are Christian, it stands to reason that most of the political parties will contain a majority of Christians. However, most people are not of the same flavor of Christianity that the Religious-Right is trying to paint the entire Republican party with.

*In the eighties, during great revival of religious fundamentalism, the Christian Coalition infiltrated the government through promised support and campaign contributions. A small group of Republicans started a club called "The Trail Blazers." These individuals may not have truly believed as the religious fundamentalists, but they definitely saw the benefit in exploiting the 'caretakers of earth' philosophy to achieve eco-exploitation for gains.

From Reagan to 'W,' many of the leaders are still members, and the Christian Right still fills their pockets and ballets. You would be hard pressed to find a Christian Fundamentalist that does not categorize them self as a Republican, whereas 30 years ago the samples were more varied.



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