Polls have shown that religious voters in America identify with the Republican party. Many of these voters shun the idea of the separation of church and state, claiming that it is a “myth” or only a one-way street in that religion can shape government policy, but government cannot shape religion. In some circles, this has led to a theocratic worldview. The Texas Freedom Network offered a stunning example of this in June when it analyzed the Texas Republican Party’s platform.
But it’s not just Texas Republicans who embrace concepts of Christian nationalism and the dogmatic teachings of America’s religious right. Except for a handful of state Republican parties, such as those in Indiana and Massachusetts, snippets of extremism appear in the state platforms throughout the nation. In reviewing 32 of the platforms published and available online by state Republican groups, a trend emerged that shows:
- A general fear that “religious liberty is under attack,” with an obsession about promoting “patriotism” as “one nation under God” and ensuring that religious institutions will never be taxed;
- Numerous calls to ensure that God, prayer and religious imagery, such as Ten Commandments displays, be permitted in public schools and in the public square;
- Support for the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in public schools as “scientific theory” and part of “the controversy” that rejects the theory of evolution;
- Resolutions for the adoption of a “personhood amendment” to the United States Constitution that would recognize zygotes as people having Constitutional rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness;
- The use of harsh and derogatory language concerning sexual orientation, including the specific exclusion of gays, lesbians and other minorities from civil rights legislation;
- A move to reconstruct the judicial process so that citizens are denied their Constitutional rights of due process when issues of reproductive rights or sexual orientation are the subject of judicial appeal;
- The replacement of social programs with faith based programs.
Some of the Republican platforms, such as in Texas and Idaho, are calling for a return to the gold standard for currency and demanding that the United States leave the United Nations. The Rights of the Child and Project 21 are amongst the chief demons of the UN, as portrayed by state Republicans such as in Kansas. Others, like Iowa and Oklahoma, have “birther” provisions that demand that the president provide proof of U.S. citizenship.
Not all states have had their GOP conventions for the year 2012 and some states have not published their platforms. Of the 32 platforms reviewed, church/state issues and related Christian fundamentalism are commonplace. Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Iowa offer the most extreme platforms.
In fact, South Carolina’s GOP believes that its platform was divinely inspired, writing “It is our firm, God-inspired belief that the full implementation and application of the foundational principles set forth by the South Carolina Republican Party in this Platform will permit us to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and to our posterity.” (Section VI, Secure the Blessings of Liberty).
Oklahoma’s 2011 platform indicates in Section F, 12, that its platform is so wonderful that “We believe that government should not fund any organization that opposes the ideas and principles contained in the Republican Platform.”
A number of the states have adopted the national platform, which will be rewritten for the 2012 Republican National Convention. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell will chair the committee charged with drafting the platform. The 2008 version contains a great deal of religious language, which, judging by the state platforms, will be retained or enhanced.
- Our godly heritage and religious liberty.
- Our patriotic Christian nation, from K-12.
- More than 1 in 5 Republican parties agree: Creationism should be taught as science.
- God bless the zygotes.
- The gays and minorities must be marginalized to save America!
- With liberty and justice for all (except pregnant women, gays, and people who don't like religion in the public square).
- Getting America back on track with faith-based programs.
- Source materials (links to quoted materials).