The nose of the Texas Gop is inside the tent


A little bird alerted us yesterday to an article, “The Texas GOP’s proposed platform would force the Bible in schools,” subtitled “The Texas Republican Party’s agenda contains everything on conservative Christians’ wishlist.” That about says it all. The article describes a tentative platform offered by the Texas Republican Party, which will be finalized by Wednesday. The author, Friendly Atheist, calls the platform a wish list for the far right but considers much of the document more performative than real. I wish I was as certain.

Atheist’s article singles out a handful of planks from the proposed platform. They are very troubling to anyone who believes in the separation of church and state, and particularly to anyone who does not conflate religion with right-wing Christianity. For example,

Plank 18

Plank 88, according to Atheist’s article, demands “instruction on the Bible, servant leadership, and Christian self-governance,” as well as demands that chaplains in schools “give guidance from a traditional Biblical perspective….” (I do not know what servant leadership means, but I can guess that Christian self-governance means governance over the rest of us.)

There is more, but it seems to me that what is most relevant to The Panda’s Thumb is this gem:

Phidippus audax

Jumping spider
Phidippus audax – jumping spider, often called bold jumper, found in an enclosed, unheated space, Boulder, Colorado, April, 2024. I was interested in the powerful forelegs, if that is the right word (the left foreleg must have been folded under, because a later photograph shows that it is intact). The spider in this photograph was running along the edge of a dish from which it could apparently not get out. Despite the designation jumping spider, it very kindly hung around while I managed a few photographs.

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"Who Am I?" by Martyn Iles, Executive CEO of Answers in Genesis: Book Review

Book cover

Martyn Iles, as many readers will know, was managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby until sacked by the Board in February 2023, was appointed Chief Ministry Officer of Answers in Genesis in May of that year, and in November was promoted to Executive CEO, working alongside Ken Ham, who remains as Founding CEO.

While still in Australia, Iles promoted right-wing causes in the name of individual religious freedom, expressed support on his YouTube channel for the claim that the 2020 US presidential election had been stolen, and in a Facebook post on January 21 2020, just two weeks after the January 6 insurrection, reaffirmed his admiration for Donald Trump. However, since joining Answers in Genesis he has, to the best of my knowledge, refrained from overtly political comment. In a Facebook post on March 17 this year he explicitly rejected the idea of a “Christian nation,” since being a Christian or not is a characteristic of individuals. Thus he has placed a welcome distance between himself and the extremes of US Christian Nationalism.