Jared Woodfill has a plan to win the chairmanship of the Texas Republican Party this year: rally some of the most viciously anti-LGBT and anti-abortion extremists in support. Naturally, religious-righters are thrilled.
Woodfill, a former Harris County GOP chair, helped craft and lead the reprehensible fear-mongering campaign that succeeded in repealing the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) last fall. That ordinance protected LGBT people from discrimination, but Woodfill and other HERO opponents screamed that it would endanger women and children in public bathrooms. (Never mind that Woodfill, an attorney, is defending a man sued for allegedly taking photographs of women changing clothes in a bathroom without their knowledge.)
After the success of the deeply dishonest anti-HERO campaign, Woodfill has now signed on to defend indicted anti-abortion activists who helped make deceptively edited videos attacking Planned Parenthood.
Whether he’s defending discrimination and smearing LGBT people or attacking women’s reproductive freedom, Woodfill has allied himself with the most repugnant creatures on the religious right. You can see that by reading a Houston Press report from a pro-Woodfill, “Take Back the Party” event in Houston last week. Speakers at the gathering bizarrely railed against Republican leaders they are trying to portray as closet liberals.
How bizarre is that? Consider that one of their targets is state Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball. Riddle thinks the idea of public education came “from Moscow, from Russia … straight out of the pit of hell.” She also wants public school students to read Bible verses in class, calls supporters of women’s access to abortion “pro-death,” and praises right-wing militants who take up arms to intimidate law enforcement.
Now Riddle is too liberal for Woodfill and his fellow religious-righters. Go figure.
Maybe in comparison, the extremists joining Woodfill at the various “Take Back the Party” events make Riddle sound almost like a free-love hippie chick. OK, not really — Riddle has made her home on the fringes of the far right throughout her political career.
In any case, here’s what the Houston Press reports prominent hate-monger Steve Hotze (who helped fund the anti-HERO campaign last year) had to say at the Houston gathering last week:
“I think what we’re missing in the Christian church today is a militant, warrior mentality,” Hotze said. “I know Jesus said not to take up arms, but I take the Old Testament literally. How many of you know what happened in HERO ordinance?” Everyone, obviously, raised their hand, and Hotze recounted the glory days (and mentioned Woodfill extensively, of course).
Then it got really weird.
“They want to force us to celebrate homosexuality and other perverted acts — that’s all they think about,” Hotze said. “What has our society come to when Bruce Jenner puts on a dress and goes on the ESPN and gets an award for courage?” Hotze deepened his voice an octave or two and gave a brief impression of Jenner: “uh, I’m Caitlyn Jenner, uh, yeah.”
“Thirty years ago, they would have locked Jenner up,” Hotze continued. “These people are crazy as a bedbug. This is a wicked, evil, satanic movement. They want to recruit, brainwash our children, right when the hormones start kicking in. I know, I’m a doctor. We’ve got sick, sexually perverted presidents. Then we’ve got the Muslim problem, which is one thing I like about Dan, uh, Dan, uh, Dan, uh, Donald Trump. If you know about that religion, then you know they want you to do what they want you to do or they’ll cut your head off! We need people to stand up against this absurd, ungodly tomfoolery. We’re putting on a full-court press. We’re challenging 35 seats to say enough is enough. We’re going to do everything we can to take them down.”
The hate is strong with these people. But they love Jared Woodfill.