June 11, 2023

Campaign Action

This is the newest aggressive move made by Texas conservatives toward a Christian-tinged fascism. In 2021, Republican state Sen. Bryan Hughes, with a lot of support from King (and other Texas Republicans), succeeded in creating a law forcing public schools in the state  to display donated “In God We Trust” posters. The “conspicuous place” language appeared in that bill, as well.

However, the recent radical Supreme Court ruling in favor of fired Washington state high school football coach Joe Kennedy—best known for kneeling after games and leading players in prayer—has been a catalyst for the recent push to turn back decades of settled law about religion in schools. During hearings on the bill, state Sen. King blustered that the Ten Commandments are a part of American heritage, saying, “[The bill] will remind students all across Texas of the importance of the fundamental foundation of America.”

I guess King forgot to add a poster of Malcom X with a rifle, Martin Luther King Jr. leading a civil rights march in Washington, D.C., or maybe a portrait of John Brown into his American heritage classroom requirements. Or maybe a poster of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender to the Union army? The Gettysburg Address?

Just to bring you up to speed on conservatives’ vision for public education: You can’t mention anything about being married. You cannot mention anything about the various races and cultures that make up our country. Discussing slavery or race or women or sex in any capacity is verboten. Buutttt you can have kids from the ages of 4 through 18 sit in a room where they will be forced to ponder and discuss:

  • Murder

  • Adultery

  • Stealing

  • Coveting

  • Graven images.

But this isn’t about American history: It’s about bigotry, hidden by a thin gauze of moral hypocrisy. And while it reads as a push for a theocracy, it’s really just the politics of fascism. The state Senate’s approval means the bill has been sent to the state House for consideration. If passed there and subsequently signed by the governor, both bills would take effect next school year.

America could learn a lot from how other countries elect their leaders! Political science professor Matthew Shugart joins us on this week’s episode of The Downballot to explain how a variety of electoral systems around the world operate, as well as his thoughts on which might work well here—and actually improve our democracy. Shugart gets into the weeds on proportional voting, single transferable vote, “decoy lists,” and much more. If those terms are new to you, you’ll definitely want to listen!


Supreme Court to hear case of coach who lost his job after kneeling and praying on the field

ALEC’s No. 1 priority: Gerrymandering to lock Democrats out for another decade

Thou shalt not vandalize Oklahoma’s Ten Commandments monument

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