TheocracyWatch Logo


The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party

What's New?  
SEARCH TheocracyWatch


"When we win this revolution in November, you will be doing the Lord's work, and He will richly bless you for it."
Senator James Inhofe, Christian Coalition rally, October, 2002

In this section:

Breaking the Rules of Fair Play
Operating in Secrecy
"Who Controls the States Controls the Nation"
    Electronic Voting
    Election 2004
Tom DeLay: Former House Majority Leader
The Legislative Agenda
    Houses of Worship Political Speech Protection Act
    Gun Control
    Social Justice
    Food Safety
Church and State

Related Topics: Faith Base Initiative, Women, the Environment, Separation of Church and State, Middle East and Biblical Prophesy, Texas Republican Party Platform

Breaking The Rules of Fair Play

Today's hard right seeks total dominion. It's packing the courts and rigging the rules. The target is not the Democrats but democracy itself. more

Operating in Secrecy

From Congressman Sherrod Brown, Democrat, who represents Ohio's 13th District and first published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: 

House Republicans bend rules, press for votes during wee hours to escape the light of accountability. Never before has the House of Representatives operated in such secrecy:

At 2:54 a.m. on a Friday in March, the House cut veterans benefits by three votes.

At 2:39 a.m. on a Friday in April, the House slashed education and health care by five votes.

At 1:56 a.m. on a Friday in May, the House passed the Leave No Millionaire Behind tax-cut bill by a handful of votes.

At 2:33 a.m. on a Friday in June, the House passed the Medicare privatization and prescription drug bill by one vote.

At 12:57 a.m. on a Friday in July, the House eviscerated Head Start by one vote.

And then, after returning from summer recess, at 12:12 a.m. on a Friday in October, the House voted $87 billion for Iraq. Always in the middle of the night. Always after the press had passed their deadlines. Always after the American people had turned off the news and gone to bed.

The most sweeping changes to medicare in its 38 year history were forced through the House at 5:55 on a Saturday morning.

Here's another place to link to that article, Democracy Crumbles Under Cover of Darkness. It's the website of the Democrats in the House of Representatives.

Report by House Democrats Alleges GOP Abuse of Power, Washington Post, March 8, 2005

Republican National Committee picks a pro-choice Republican as Vice Chair, New York Times, January 14, 2005. Is this a token? Are they trying to appease the moderates to gain support for Bush's efforts to change Social Security?

Pelosi: 'What You Saw on the House Floor This Afternoon Was a Shameless Display of the Republican Culture of Corruption,' October 7, 2005

Republicans Twist Arms on House Floor to Pass Energy Bill, Truthout, October 7, 2005:

The Republican Leadership abuses its power in the chair, and holds votes open for the sole purpose of reversing the outcome of the vote on a regular basis. On five separate occasions in the 108th Congress alone, votes were held open beyond the traditional 17 - minute limit in order to overturn the will of the majority. These votes include the infamous 3 - hour Prescription Drug vote in November 2003, which went far beyond any previous vote and broke all records in the history of electronic voting. By comparison, in 1987, the Republicans excoriated the Democratic Leadership for holding a vote open for only 30 minutes.

    Before the Republican Leadership took over in 1995, votes were usually held open simply to decide what the next business should be on the House floor. This occurred after the outcome was already determined. Below is a chronological record of lengthy votes going back to 1987, and the time each vote was held open. "Arm - twisting" votes are noted by asterisks.

"Who Controls the States Controls the Nation"

Christian Conservatives Turn to Statehouses, New York Times, December 13, 2004, quoting Michael D. Bowman, director of state legislative relations at Concerned Women for America, a conservative Christian advocacy group based in Washington:

It is on the state level "where most family issues are decided. And it is there that local advocacy groups hope to build quickly on the momentum from the election when legislatures convene in the new year."

States as "laboratories of democracy." (TomPaine, November 5, 2004)

In the wake of an election like this, progressives rightfully ask, what should we be doing differently? The answer? We should be putting greater focus on the state legislatures.

... In many areas of public policy, state legislators have become the vanguard of the progressive movement.

State legislators are proposing some of the nation's most far-reaching, proactive measures.  They are making legislatures a testing ground for the newest political debates.  And they are winning progressive victories with cutting-edge policies.

From The Nation magazine, August 30, 2004:

... states do by far the largest share of governing in America. They write most law and give content to even more through interpretation and administration. Most government that affects us in our everyday social roles--as workers, consumers, taxpayers, owners and citizens--tends first or finally to run through states. Economic development, healthcare and abortion access, privacy rights, marriage and the family, wage standards, public safety, criminal justice, prisons, air and water quality, education and training, consumer protection, transportation, libraries and other community public goods--these are just a few examples. In many of these critical areas, in fact, states shoulder primary responsibility.

Voting: The Foundation of Democracy

The three links below take you to articles that reveal some problems with our system of voting that need to be addressed.


Electronic Voting

Election 2004

The Center for Voting and Democracy (CVD) is dedicated to fair elections where all voters have an opportunity to be represented.

To read about Tom DeLay, the former House Majority Leader, click here.

Religious Right Legislative Agenda

One way to understand the Religious Right is to look at the kinds of legislation their lawmakers sponsor. In the U.S. Congress and in state legislatures, bills are proposed that are anti-women, anti-labor, and anti-civil rights. Their legislation opposes finance campaign reform; environmental protection; gun control; social justice for the poor; public education; teaching evolution; human sexuality; and a separation of church and state. Their bills show a disregard for the U.S. Constitution, and finally, Democracy itself. Bills coming from the Religious Right favor the wealthy and large corporations. The ultimate political goal is to make this country a Christian nation.

Critical Votes Loom For Hill Republicans, Washington Post, August 28, 2005:

Lawmakers are drafting proposals that would cut billions of dollars from the growth of Medicaid, slice into student loans just as students return to college, pare back food stamps and trim farm price supports in the midst of a midwestern drought.

Reimposing Victorian Standards of Morality: House Raises Penalties for Airing Indecency, Washington Post, February 17, 2005; Justice Dept. Fights Ruling on Obscenity, New York Times, February 17, 2005

Class Warfare

Perfect Storm for the Poor, Washington Post, September 1, 2006

Welfare Changes a Burden to States, Washington Post, August 7, 2006

Budget Cuts Pass By a Slim Margin Poor, Elderly and Students to Feel Pinch, Washington Post, February 2, 2006

The Unkindest Cuts, TomPaine, January 12, 2006:

A plurality-32 percent-of the $39.7 billion in cuts in the current budget reconciliation bill come from the student aid programs.

Cheney Breaks Senate Tie on Spending Cuts, The Associated Press, December 21, 2005

For the Most Needy, A Tough Switch, Washington Post, December 20, 2005

Last-Minute Budget Madness, New York Times, December 20, 2005

U.S. Poverty Rate Was Up Last Year, New York Times, August 31, 2005

Bush's Class-War Budget, New York Times, February 12, 2005

Living With Dignity,, March 23, 2005

Senate Votes Against Higher Minimum Wage, Washington Post, March 7, 2005

Bush Budget Leaves Children Hungary, February 23, 2005

From, February 8, 2005:

The numbers don't lie, and in this case, they tell a story that you won't hear from the White House spin machine. President Bush's new budget includes tax breaks that will reduce revenues by $130 billion over five years; massive cuts to important domestic programs like food stamps; and increases in the deficit level to $1.39 trillion. The Center On Budget And Policy Priorities' reveiw of Bush's budget details exactly what's going to be cut-and how a tiny segment of ultra-rich Americans will benefit while the rest of the country struggles. The report also provides easy-to-understand answers to questions like "What caused deficits to return?" (Hint: It wasn't runaway domestic spending.)  SEE THE REPORT

Bigger Republican Majority Plans to Push Bush Agenda, New York Times, January 2, 2005

Business Sees Gain In GOP Takeover, Washington Post, March 27, 2005

This New York Times Editorial, Sept. 28, 2003, "The Right's Grip on the Capitol" sums up the current Religious Right legislative agenda.

" ... barely under the political radar, a long-sought, hard-right GOP agenda has been quietly progressing. Proposals dear to the Republican leadership that would undermine gun controls, women's reproductive freedom, a citizen's right to seek court redress, and a vital array of other constitutional bulwarks are moving slowly toward what in some cases seems like almost certain passage."


The Civil Rights Act, signed into law in 1964, bans discrimination in employment on the basis of race, gender, or religion. The Religious Right disregards the Civil Rights Act through executive orders, legislation, and attempts to actually change the laws. In order to enact his program of Faith Based Initiative, President Bush has been circumventing the Civil Rights Act.

As reported in Church and State, September, 2003:

By a 217-216 vote on July 25, the House passed a bill (H.R.2210,) that permits religious groups operating Head Start centers to discriminate in hiring.

The Workplace Religious Freedom Act (WRFA) (S. 893) is gaining momentum in the Senate. The main co-sponsor, Senator Rick Santorum, is pushing for floor action.
WRFA could Undermine civil rights laws and employer nondiscrimination policies and practices.

The Voting Rights Act was signed into law in 1965 to end discrimination against minority voters. To strengthen the Republican majority, the Religious Right has acted in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis calls the actions of U.S. House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay "the largest disenfranchisement of minority voters since the Voting Rights Act was passed."

From People for the American Way: The Long Shadow of Jim Crow: Voter Intimidation and Suppression in America Today.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay went to Texas with a new map intended to redraw district lines in order to add Republican seats to the U.S. House of Representatives. Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis explains how DeLay's power grab disenfranchises Hispanic and African American voters:

The Republican advantage would be gained by removing many African American and Hispanic voters from their current Congressional districts and "packing" them into a few districts that already have Democratic majorities. The voting power of these minority voters would be dramatically diluted by the Republican plan, in contravention of the federal Voting Rights Act. If the Republicans succeed, over 1.4 million African American and Hispanic voters will be harmed. It would be the largest disenfranchisement of minority voters since the Voting Rights Act was passed.

New Twist in Texas Districting Dispute, New York Times, December 3, 2005

"The day was November 7, 2000," an ACLU ad says. That was the day that hundreds of votes by black citizens weren't counted. The ACLU ad calls that day, "a day in American history when black people counted less than white people."

Civil Rights Focus Shift Roils Staff At Justice, Washington Post, November 13, 2005

GOP Rebellion Stops Voting Rights Act, Washington Post, June 22, 2006

Democracy in chains, US Republicans are planning to change the law to stop black, Hispanic and Native American voters going to the polls in 2008, Guardian Unlimited, June 23, 3006

Black and Blue, New York Times, July 24, 2006 -- Documents the hostility of the GOP toward African Americans.


Bush's War On Unions,, October 10, 2006

Contractors Get Affirmative Action Exemption, New York Times, September 20, 2005

Labor Board's Critics See a Bias Against Workers, New York Times, January 2, 2005

SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, Overtime cut undermines workers, Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Yesterday, the biggest pay cut in American history took effect: The Bush administration's overtime pay cut became official. It's a new federal rule that could strip up to 6 million workers of overtime pay protection, forcing them to work longer hours without fair compensation.

Health and Safety Rules:

Early in 2001, Congress passed Senate Joint Resolution 6, under the auspices of the Congressional Review Act of 1996. S.J. Res. 6 disapproved the Ergonomic Protection Standard, effectively invalidating the standard and prohibiting the Department from promulgating a "substantially similar" regulation in the future.

Federal Workers:

The Bush administration created the largest agency in the country -- the Department of Homeland Security. Riding on the tide of patriotism after September 11, they insisted on removing workers rights and procedural rules from the new department.

Overtime Pay Victory:

"President Bush's plan to change the definition of who is eligible for overtime pay (thus seriously limiting the numbers of worker eligible for overtime pay) ran into a serious roadblock on Capitol Hill today, as the Senate, in a rare Democratic victory, voted to block the White House from issuing the new rules." NY Times, 9/11/03

Labor unions, which have argued that the White House plan would permit businesses to demand that employees work longer hours without compensation, hailed the vote as an important victory. Six Republicans joined with 48 Democrats to oppose the White House plan, which critics say would strip as many as eight million workers of their right to overtime. The White House claims it would effect 1.3 million workers. The 54-to-45 vote was a rebuke to the administration which threatens to veto the Senate bill.

Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act

Gun Control

House Passes Bill to Protect Gun Industry From Lawsuits, New York Times, October 20, 2005

Lawyers, Guns and Money, Guardian UK, July 30, 2005

Senate Approves Bill Protecting Gun Businesses, New York Times, July 29, 2005

Senate Moves to Shield Gun Industry, New York Times, July 26, 2005:

''What's happening on this gun liability bill is really despicable,'' said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. ''To put that ahead of the defense bill, I think, is the most distorted priorities I can possibly conceive of.''

"No one ever believed that legislation this bad could pass," said Mike Barnes, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. He was referring to a bill passed by the House that immunizes gun makers and sellers from liability.

President Bush has indicated that if the bill passes the Senate, he'll sign it. New York Times, September 22, 2003.

The ten-year ban on assault weapons expires September 13, 2004. The House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay, who decides what bills will and won't come up for a vote, has announced that a vote to continue the ban on assault weapons will not come up for a vote, so Tom DeLay will have decided that assault weapons will become available once again.

The House included in an omnibus appropriations bill a change in the rules about background checks on guns. The bill would require the FBI to delete the information from background checks in 24 hours instead of the current policy of 90 days.

On March 2, 2004, the Senate scuttled a bill that would have immunized gun makers from lawsuits. Democrats and moderate Republicans added two amendments to the bill that gun advocates could not live with. One was to extend the ban on assault weapons, the other to require background checks on weapons buyers at gun shows. The Senate's vote was a defeat for the gun lobby.

The Capitol Flinches at Gun Safety, New York Times, May 30, 2005

Social Justice

Who should care for the poor? This question differentiates members of the Religious Right from other evangelicals and Christian groups. Taxes are necessary for the government to run programs for the poor, yet tax cuts, especially for the wealthy, are one of Bush's signature issues.

Most taxes are unbiblical according to Beliles and McDowell authors of America's Providential History in their chapter on Christian Economics. Income tax is "idolatry," property tax is "theft" and inheritance taxes are simply not allowed in the Bible.

The Texas Republican Party Platform actually spells out which taxes to cut. It calls for abolishing the IRS and eliminating "income tax, inheritance tax, gift tax, capital gains, corporate income tax, payroll tax and property tax." Social Security tax will gradually be phased out for a system of private pensions.

Republicans in the House approved new tax credits for the children of families earning as much as $309,000 a year - families that already enjoy significant benefits from earlier tax cuts - while doing next to nothing for those at the low end of the income scale. "This," said the Washington Post, May 19, 2004, in an editorial called "Leave No Rich Child Behind," is "bad social policy, bad tax policy, and bad fiscal policy. You'd think they'd be embarrassed but they're not."

Tom DeLay sabotaged tax credits for 12 million children of the working poor. Those tax credits would cost only $3.5 billion. But Mr. DeLay, angry at Senate Democrats for cutting President Bush's original tax cut proposal in half, embedded the credits in an $82 billion tax cut package that would favor people with higher incomes.

The Bush administration, which created a record budget deficit partly through tax cuts for the rich, is threatening to make up some of the difference by cutting desperately needed programs aimed at the poor. One candidate for the chopping block is Section 8, the federal rent-subsidy program whose main purpose is preventing low-income families from becoming homeless.

What the New York Times, August 2, 2004, calls a "House mutiny" against the Republican leadership, dominated by the Religious Right, may have saved Section 8 housing.

A May 19 White House budget memorandum obtained by The Washington Post revealed:

if President Bush is reelected, his budget for 2006 may include spending cuts for virtually all agencies in charge of domestic programs, including education, homeland security and others that the president backed in this campaign year.

January 14, 2005: Bush Plans Sharp Cuts in HUD Community Efforts, Washington Post, January 14, 2005

Bush Budget Calls for Cuts in Health Services, New York Times, February 5, 2005

Administration Seeks to End Student Loan Program, New York Times, February 5, 2005

Operation On-Your-Own, TomPaine, October 18, 2005:

Only a group with a misplaced sense of entitlement would try to push $70 billion in tax cuts through Congress, while cutting anywhere from tens to hundreds of billions in dollars from programs that assist working and middle-class families. The misplaced priorities of conservatives is not news, but their willingness to use the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina as a justification for these program cuts takes their outrageous and calculated behavior to another level.

 From the Los Angeles Times, March 5, 2005:

Fourteen of the Senate's Republicans - including usually loyal Bush allies - joined 40 Democrats and one independent in expressing opposition to any cut to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's $4.7-billion community development block grant program.

Congress's Threadbare Budget Politics, New York Times, November 17, 2005

US House Passes $49.9 Billion in Spending Cuts, Reuters, November 18, 2005

A Moral Disgrace, Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners and Convener of Call to Renewal, made the following statement today on the narrow passage of the House Budget Reconciliation Bill. November 18, 2005

Tax Cut Showdown, New York Times, December 9, 2005:

Most of the benefits would flow to taxpayers who make more than $1 million a year. That's morally reprehensible at a time when the House and the Senate are moving toward an agreement to cut as much as $45 billion over five years from domestic programs like Medicaid, food stamps, student loans and child-support enforcement. And it comes at a time when the government is already borrowing extensively for all manner of undertakings, like the war in Iraq and the new prescription drug benefit for Medicare.

A Look at Republican Priorities: Comforting the Comfortable, New York Times, June 23, 3006:

Two weeks ago, the Senate killed an effort to repeal the federal estate tax on multimillion-dollar fortunes. The "no" votes were a stand for budget sanity and basic fairness. But the pro-repeal camp doesn't want to take no for an answer.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed an estate-tax cut that is a repeal in everything but name. The so-called compromise would exempt more than 99.5 percent of estates from tax, slash the tax rates on the rest and cost at least $760 billion during its first full decade. Of that, $600 billion is the amount the government would have to borrow to make up for lost revenue from the cuts, which would benefit the heirs of America's wealthiest families, like the Marses of Mars bar and the Waltons of Wal-Mart Stores. The remaining $160 billion is the interest on that borrowing, which would be paid by all Americans...

All this effort for a bill that would put $760 billion in new debt on the backs of Americans in the name of making a handful of extremely rich people even richer. Congressional leaders may know how to count votes, but otherwise their math is pathetic.

Food Safety

House votes to dump state food safety laws , San Francisco Chronicle, March 9, 2006

Church and State

House Injects Prayer Into Defense Bill, Washington Post, May 12, 2006

Next Page


Last updated: September-2006