A Texas far-right activist mailed anti-Muslim holiday cards to constituents in House Speaker Dade Phelan’s district, insinuating that Phelan wished constituents a “Happy Ramadan” – a celebration that fell in the spring this year – instead of a “Merry Christmas.” That phrase was crossed out in the card. The cards also showed pictures of Phelan at a Ramadan celebration earlier this year.
According to the Texas Tribune, the activist, Cary Cheshire, is affiliated with the Texas Anti-Communist League and is the executive director of Texans For Strong Borders, which has ties to white supremacist Nick Fuentes.
Cheshire confirmed to the Tribune that he sent the cards and said he personally paid for the mailer.
“Dade Phelan is responsible for the most pro-Muslim session in the history of the Texas Legislature,” Cheshire said.
The context for Cheshire’s criticism of Phelan stemmed from House Resolutions 1069 and 1168, which recognized the importance of Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan. While these resolutions aimed to honor religious diversity, Cheshire singled out Phelan, attributing the passage to what he called a “pro-Muslim record.”
“This is obviously a satirical card, but unfortunately Dade Phelan’s pro-Muslim record is real,” the card states. “The only path to heaven is through Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas!”
But Cheshire’s actions drew backlash from several quarters, including condemnation from Representative Tom Oliverson, a Cypress Republican, and other Republican figures. Critics denounced the cards as disrespectful, undermining religious freedom and the spirit of the holiday season.
“Religious freedom is a core American value,” Oliverson posted on Twitter/X. “Those who put this out have nothing in common with our Lord Jesus Christ. They profane His message with their antics.”
Phelan is Catholic, but he has attended an iftar, the breaking of the daily fast during Ramadan, as well as celebrations from the Jewish tradition.
He’s not singling out Islam. He’s showing that people of all faiths are important. Said Shariq Ghani, executive director of the Minaret Foundation, a Muslim civil society organization.