Project 2025 May 28th Update

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Project 2025 is a 920-page plan, spearheaded by the powerful and extreme far-right Heritage Foundation. This blueprint for autocracy is supported by more than 100 organizations. Their stated goal is to create an “ideal” America that would see women, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, people of color, and others deprived of their hard-won constitutional rights and the erosion of environmental and education protections. It also advocates for a frightening centralization of power in the executive branch. Rooted in hate and Christian Nationalism, the plan promises to “rescue the country.” Read GPAHE’s full analysis of Project 2025 and the groups behind it.

GPAHE tracks the activities of those behind Project 2025, and their plans for an authoritarian and Christian Nationalist America, no matter who is president, and the groups in this extremist movement are relentlessly implementing initiatives at local, state, and federal levels. 

This week we look at how Project 2025’s influence and agenda is playing out  in Texas and Oklahoma, as well as the Alliance Defending Freedom’s coordinated assault on civil liberties across several states as it furthers Project 2025’s agenda.

Christian Nationalism in the Texas GOP and the War on Maternal Health 

In a state that has become a watchword for reactionary policymaking, the Republican Party of Texas has outdone itself with its draft 2024 platform, The Texas Tribune reports. The 50-page document is a masterclass in a radical Christian Nationalist agenda in accordance with Project 2025 that privileges conservative Christian beliefs over ethical governance and scientific reality. 

Some of the platform’s proposed planks voted on at the May 24, 2024 Texas GOP convention include “proclamations” that “abortion is not healthcare it is homicide;” that gender-transition treatment for children is “child abuse;” calls to reverse recent name changes to military bases and “publicly honor the southern heroes;” support for declaring gold and silver as legal tender; and demands that the U.S. government disclose “all pertinent information and knowledge” of “UFOs,” the Tribune wrote. One of the planks also supports conversion therapy, euphemized as, “reparative therapy or other counseling methods when counseling clients of any age with identity disorder or unwanted same-sex attraction.”

The platform also contains a sweeping series of planks that seek to demolish the foundational American principle of separation of church and state. It calls for legally requiring that the Bible be taught in Texas public schools, alongside instruction on “Christian self-governance.” The rationale is to reinforce the revisionist claim embraced by Project 2025 supporters that the United States was founded as an unambiguously Christian nation with laws and institutions that should reflect an explicitly conservative, fundamentalist worldview.

The platform mirrors the increasing influence of Christian Nationalist ideologues like David Barton, a Texas pastor who has built a lucrative career propagating the myth that church-state separation is a lie used by nefarious forces to obscure America’s supposedly Christian origins. Barton, who considers homosexuality an “aberration” is a frequent invited speaker at conferences hosted by Project 2025 supporter Turning Point USA, and has been an advisor to House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Christian Nationalist who previously worked for Project 2025 supporter Alliance Defending Freedom. Barton’s longtime mission of instituting a conservative Christian ethical order now has the institutional support of the Texas GOP’s governing agenda.

But perhaps no element of the platform lays bare the Texas Republican Party’s craven disregard for ethical governance and human life more so than their embrace of  Dr. Ingrid Skop, recently appointed to the state’s maternal mortality review committee. Skop is a leading anti-abortion activist and vice president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, which poses as an impartial medical research organization. The Lozier Institute is part of the Susan B. Anthony Institute, a Project 2025 supporter.

Despite her pretense to scientific objectivity, Skop is a purveyor of dangerous pseudoscience intended to downplay or deny the deadly consequences of abortion restrictions on pregnant women. She has repeatedly argued that legal abortion is somehow responsible for America’s shockingly high maternal mortality rate, the worst among affluent nations. Her fringe theories include specious claims that prior abortions put women at greater risk of cancer, mental illness, and life-threatening complications in future pregnancies.

This past February, the publisher of three Lozier Institute studies co-authored by Skop retracted the papers after an independent review found “fundamental problems,” “incorrect factual assumptions,” “material errors,” and undisclosed conflicts of interest. The studies had attempted to link abortion to increased risks for women during future pregnancies.

Skop contends the opposite of what all respected public health organizations project: that a lack of abortion access will actually decrease maternal deaths by reducing, in her estimation, supposed risks from later abortions and psychological distress. This deadly pseudoscience ignores the stark reality documented in Texas’ own data, which shows 90 percent of recent maternal deaths as preventable even before its draconian abortion bans took effect.

Skop testified at a 2021 congressional hearing that rape or incest victims as young as 9 or 10 years old could safely be forced to carry pregnancies to term. “If she is developed enough to be menstruating and become pregnant, and reached sexual maturity,” Skop outrageously claimed, “she can safely give birth to a baby.” 

That Skop will now be one of the handpicked voices guiding policy on a committee tasked with studying why so many mothers die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth is an abomination. It underscores the lengths to which Project 2025 supporters will go to install anti-abortion ideologues in decision-making bodies, even if it means jeopardizing the lives of pregnant women and eroding public trust in the policy process.  

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists rightly criticized Skop’s appointment, the Tribune reported, stating bluntly that maternal mortality committee members’ “work [must] be informed by data, not ideology and bias.” Yet the Texas GOP’s embrace of both Skop and Christian Nationalist orthodoxy reveals a party fully unmoored from data, democratic values, and basic human decency.

Underpinning all these aims is an exclusionary dream of a society remade in the image of an idealized Christian Nationalist ethnostate — one in which the votes and lives of minority communities can be disregarded or discounted if they diverge from the anointed orthodox vision. By design, women and LGBTQ+ people would lack the same basic rights and bodily autonomy as heterosexual white Christian men.

That the modern Republican Party of the nation’s second-largest state would so nakedly embrace such an authoritarian, anti-democratic, and anti-human agenda is as stunning as it is deeply disturbing. With the Christian Nationalist movement ascending from the fringe to wield tangible power with Project 2025’s authoritarian agenda, Texans are getting a preview of the absurdities, indignities, and injustices the entire country will be subjected to should the next president embrace the movement’s mandate.

Project 2025’s Agenda Takes Root in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, a rising tide of Christian Nationalism is sweeping through the state legislature, championed by far-right politicians determined to erode the separation of church and state. From mandating prayer in schools to channeling public funds to private religious institutions, the movement aims to impose a narrow set of religious beliefs on all Oklahomans.

At the forefront of this push is Secretary of Education Ryan Walters, appointed by Governor Kevin Stitt, who has openly declared that “every square inch of Oklahoma is for Jesus Christ.” Walters rejects the constitutional principle of church-state separation and has encouraged teachers to lead Christian prayers in classrooms. 

Walters has come under fire for his department’s hiring of Vought Strategies, a Virginia-based communications firm, to boost his national profile. The Oklahoma Department of Education is paying Vought Strategies an estimated $30,000 to write speeches, op-eds, and book Walters on at least 10 national TV and radio appearances per month between March and June 2024. Critics argue that this use of taxpayer funds to promote Walters nationally is inappropriate and raises questions about his political ambitions.

Vought Strategies is owned by Mary Vought, vice–president of communications at the Heritage Foundation, a fellow at the Claremont Institute, and a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, all Project 2025 supporters. 

Her husband is Russell Vought, former director of the Office of Management and Budget in the waning months of the Trump presidency. He is one of the authors of, and key players behind, Project 2025’s Mandate for Leadership playbook and president of the Center for Renewing America, his own conservative think tank.

The decision to use public funds to increase Walters’ national exposure has raised concerns about the potential misuse of taxpayer money for personal gain. Former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson called the arrangement “an illegal use of public funds and public resources” if the purpose is to promote Walters rather than provide information to the public.

Further questions were raised when it was discovered that an Education Department employee, David Martin, set up the LLC for Vought Strategies in Oklahoma on the last day proposals for the contract were accepted. Martin listed the department’s building as his address. The department’s communications director, Dan Isett, could not explain why Martin registered the LLC.

Walters has claimed the national media appearances are part of a teacher recruitment effort for Oklahoma. However, none of the email pitches from Vought Strategies to national media outlets obtained by journalists mention teacher recruitment. Instead, they focus on topics like fentanyl, drag queens in classrooms, and teachers’ unions in an effort to get Walters’ name circulating in Project 2025 supporters’ circles and position him for an appointment in Washington, D.C., should Project 2025’s efforts prevail and a Republican becomes president.

Courting controversy and relishing in his reputation as an “anti-woke” crusader, on January 23, 2024, Walters appointed Chaya Raichik, the woman behind the controversial “Libs of TikTok” social media account, to the state’s Board of Education. Raichik’s notoriously mean-spirited and bigoted account spreads anti-LGBTQ+ content targeting individual teachers, schools, and physicians, among others, leading to harassment, threats of violence and more than a dozen bomb threats to public spaces, including at a children’s hospital. 

In addition to Raichik’s appointment, Walters is pushing for a “Western civilization” high school course developed by Hillsdale College, a member of Project 2025’s advisory board. A deeply conservative and religious school, Hillsdale rejects what it calls the “dehumanizing, discriminatory trend of so-called ‘social justice’ and ‘multicultural diversity.’”

Hillsdale’s curriculum whitewashes history and promotes American exceptionalism while downplaying the impacts of systemic racism. Some Oklahoma teachers now fear teaching about historical injustices like the Tulsa Race Massacre or the state’s Jim Crow past, State Representative Mickey Dollens (D) explained on the Straight White American Jesus podcast on May 20, 2024.

However the Christian Nationalist agenda goes beyond education. Last year, Oklahoma allocated $200 million to private school vouchers, with 95 percent of funds going to students already in private schools, effectively a taxpayer subsidy for affluent families. As budget talks begin, Walters and his allies are seeking to expand vouchers by hundreds of millions more, which public school advocates say will undermine the already underfunded public system.

The rise of Christian Nationalism in Oklahoma is evident in the slew of measures that have been proposed or enacted, including, as Dollens and the podcasters at Straight White American Jesus point out:

– Mandating the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools and on state Capitol grounds.

– Establishing the nation’s first publicly-funded religious charter school

– Providing tax credits for religious schools.

– Using Bible verses to justify spanking children with disabilities in school.

– Banning the teaching of evolution in public schools.

– The governor claiming that the state of Oklahoma is for Christ in his inaugural speech.

– Attempting to designate the Bible as the official state book.

– Allowing volunteer chaplains in public schools, with no initial requirements for background checks or qualifications

– Encouraging teachers to lead Christian prayers in classrooms.

As these ideas take root in Oklahoma, concerns are growing that Oklahoma’s Christian Nationalist playbook, modeled on Project 2025, could be exported and take deeper root in  other conservative states. The movement’s goals — cementing ideological control, dismantling public education, and rolling back rights for women and minorities — pose a significant threat to core democratic principles on a local, state, and national level.

The battle for the future of Oklahoma serves as a microcosm of the larger struggle to protect the separation of church and state in an increasingly polarized America. With the appointment of controversial figures like Chaya Raichik and the relentless push for religious influence in public institutions, Christian Nationalists are demonstrating their determination to reshape the state according to Project 2025’s dangerous worldview.

The Coordinated Assault on Civil Liberties by Project 2025’s Legal Army

Across several Republican-led states, an assault on civil liberties like abortion rights and LGBTQ+ equality is being waged in court by a shadowy legal army fighting alongside public officials for Project 2025’s Christian Nationalist agenda.

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Project 2025 partner, has emerged as the go-to law firm for red states looking to implement extreme far-right social policies. The group, described by the New York Times as an “explicitly conservative Christian legal-advocacy project, designed to bring together lawyers, elected officials and activists to achieve policy goals in line with its religious mission,” has forged direct partnerships with attorneys general and county prosecutors in Idaho, Kansas, Arizona, Iowa, Mississippi, and Wyoming, and other regions in support of its anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-abortion agenda.

Through these arrangements, government officials have effectively ceded substantial legal power and authority to the ADF, a private interest group dedicated to demolishing the separation of church and state. As Rolling Stone reports, contracts reveal the ADF controls officials’ public statements, dictates their media interactions, and even influences settlement negotiations in exchange for shouldering most litigation costs.

In Idaho, Attorney General Raúl Labrador signed a contract agreeing to consult with the ADF before making any public comments about its defense of the state’s ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth “to avoid undermining positive rulings or future litigation.” An Arizona county prosecutor outsourced its entire public communications on reviving a draconian 1864 abortion ban to the ADF.  

The ADF’s outsize influence is part of a highly coordinated, well-funded —  in 2021 ADF took in more than $104 million — strategy by Project 2025 supporters and their wealthy anonymous donors to further their authoritarian agenda.

From defending Idaho’s ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth to helping revive Arizona’s pre-Civil War abortion prohibition and assisting Kansas in forcing abortion providers to mislead patients with inaccurate medical information, the ADF has been integral to advancing Christian Nationalist policies in GOP-controlled states. In Mississippi, it helped craft the 15-week abortion ban that became the case that led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court.

The ADF’s escalating offensive represents an existential threat not just to bodily autonomy and LGBTQ+ rights, but to the integrity of America’s democratic institutions as Project 2025’s Mandate for Leadership marches forward.

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