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Texas GOP to Add Mandatory Bible Lessons to Platform

Texas Republicans plan to vote for making Bible Lessons mandatory in public schools in their official platform Friday.

The official platform for the Texas GOP is more vibe than plan for actual legislative accomplishment, but it is a good status check on where the party’s priorities lie. The current proposal would urge the legislature and State Board of Education to promote “the Bible, servant leadership, and Christian self-governance” in public schools.

The proposal, even if it did make it into law, is blatantly unconstitutional. However, Republicans have increasingly turned to passing laws that aim to rewrite constitutional protections against Christian supremacy by fighting the matter up to the U.S. Supreme Court where conservatives currently have a supermajority.

Ironically, the text of the proposal demands that school administrators and officials “protect the rights of student and staff to pray and engage in religious speech, individually or in groups, on school property without government interference.” The rest of the proposal makes it very clear that religious rights extend only to Christians, not other groups.

It’s possible that this is merely another move in the long chess game Governor Greg Abbott is playing to push school vouchers. His plan would let Texas parents use public funds to pay for tuition to private schools. The vast majority of these are Christian institutions in wealthy urban and suburban neighborhoods.

By further eroding the difference between public and private school through pushing Bible lessons in public schools, it may make it seem pointless to differentiate between the two. As private schools are free of many of the anti-discrimination laws that govern public schools, especially in regards to disabilities, it paves the way for a thoroughly segregated school system in Texas.

Earlier this month, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick also claimed that Biblical lessons were necessary in public schools.

“We are working on a curriculum right now in Texas to get us back to teaching, not necessarily the Bible per se, but the stories from the Bible,” Patrick said in a radio interview. “The story of Esther can have a very powerful influence.”

Other items on the platform up for a vote are the deportation of foreign-born students who attend protests, a law prohibiting undocumented migrants from voting (which is already illegal), a stance against welcoming any refugees from Palestine, purges of non-active voters from rolls, a rule that Abbott should ignore federal instructions when it comes to border security, calls on the federal government to declassify more information on UFOs, and an end to Daylight Savings Time in the state.

Jef Rouner
Jef Rouner
Jef Rouner is an award-winning freelance journalist, the author of The Rook Circle, and a member of The Black Math Experiment. He lives in Houston where he spends most of his time investigating corruption and strange happenings. Jef has written for Houston Press, Free Press Houston, and Houston Chronicle.


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