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Religious Right Watch

Who’s Who on the Right in Texas

Cathie Adams
Adams is president of the Texas Eagle Forum, one of the religious right’s most extremist advocacy groups. She also served briefly as chairman of the Texas Republican Party. Read more about Adams here.

David Barton
Barton is the founder and head of Wallbuilders, a Texas-based organization that calls separation of church and state a "myth." Barton also served as vice chairman of the Texas Republican Party from 1998 to 2006. Read more about Barton here and here.

Wayne Christian
Christian, one of the most socially conservative members of the Texas Legislature, Christian declared in 2011 that he and his legislative allies were engaged in a "war on birth control." He lost his re-election bid in the 2012 Republican Primary. Read more about Christian here.

Jeff Fisher
Fisher served as executive director of the Texas Christian Coalition. He also ran Winning Strategies’ political operations with Bob Reese. When Winning Strategies became mired in controversy over the use of economic development monies funding their partisan political operations, the company officially separated their political business, which Fisher then ran. He resigned from Winning Strategies and formed his own consulting group, Jeff Fisher & Associates, which has done work for radical-right candidates in races from state representative to State Board of Education. In 2000 he was elected county judge (constitutional county judge) of Van Zandt County in a special election. He won re-election to a full term in 2002 by only 84 votes, after a recount. Fisher lost his post as Van Zandt County Judge to a challenger in late September 2004. He has been the subject of dozens of news stories and much controversy during his tenure as judge.

Richard Ford
Richard Ford is head of the Heritage Alliance and a longtime veteran of the so-called “culture wars.” He has led or founded a series of groups tied to the religious right since the 1970s. But his conservative views on abortion, homosexuality and public education are not what make him remarkable. Ford is infamous for the smear campaign his political action committee, Free PAC, launched against six Republican legislative candidates in the 2002 GOP primary. Learn more about Richard Ford in a Dallas Observer profile.

Rick Green
Green, a former Texas legislator, is a speaker and radio show host for the Texas-based group WallBuilders. Green failed in an election bid for the Texas Supreme Court in 2010. Read more about Green here.

John Hagee
Hagee is pastor of Cornerstone Church, a San Antonio mega-church. He is also the founder of Christians United for Israel. Hagee has suggested that Hurrican Katrina's destruction of New Orleans was God's punishment for homosexuality, and he has made numerous controversial statements seen by many as anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim. Read more about Hagee here.

Steve Hotze
Hotze is a prominent leader of anti-abortion, anti-gay and politically active religious political extremism in Houston. Hotze gained prominence while promoting a ‘Straight Slate’ of political candidates in response to Houston Mayor Kathy Whitmire’s support from the gay community. Using Christian Coalition tactics of organizing through churches and organizing on the precinct level, Hotze led the religious right’s campaign to take over the Harris County Republican Party from moderate Republicans. In recent years he has helped lead opposition to Annise Parker, Houston's first openly lesbian mayor. Read more about Hotze here.

Tim Lambert
Lambert is president of the Texas Home School Coalition, an outgrowth of Christian Home Educators Association.

James Leininger
San Antonio physician and hospital-bed magnate James Leininger has been one of the biggest funders of far-right causes in Texas. He has given millions of dollars to state political leaders in support of his efforts to create a publicly funded private school voucher program in Texas. The Anatomy of Power: Texas and the Religious Right in 2006, a report from the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, includes a profile of Leininger. Read more about Leininger here.

Marvin Olasky
University of Texas journalism professor and editor of World magazine, Olasky has been called "the Godfather of Compassionate Conservatism" and has been a major influence on George W. Bush's political philosophy.

Allan Parker
Parker is an attorney who heads The Justice Foundation (formerly Texas Justice Foundation), a spin-off of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. TJF litigates on behalf of far-right causes, especially in opposition to abortion rights. Read more about Parker here.

Dan Patrick
Patrick, a state senator from Houston, is a favorite among religious-rights groups and activists in Texas. Sen. Patrick was a leader in successful efforts to pass a bill in 2011 that requires women seeking an abortion to undergo an invasive sonogram and listen to a state-approved lecture from their doctors. Patrick has also called for passing a voucher scheme that would shift funds from public schools to subsidize tuition at private and religious schools. Read more about Patrick here.

Rick Scarborough
Scarborough is the founder and president of Lufkin-based Vision America, which calls on pastors – so-called “patriot pastors” – to promote a conservative political agenda in their congregations. In 1996 National Public Radio called him "The Rising Star of the Religious Right" for his efforts to elect fundamentalist Christians and promote religious-right issues on the state and national levels. He has authored a number of books, including Enough is Enough: a Call to Christian Involvement, In Defense of Mixing Church and State and It All Depends on What Is...Is. In 2005 Rick Scarborough launched the Judeo-Christian Council For Constitutional Restoration (JCCCR), a religious-right group created to push for limits on judicial oversight on religious and moral issues and for the impeachment of judges with whom the JCCCR disagrees. Read more about Scarborough here.

Kelly Shackelford
Shackelford is president of Liberty Institute (formerly Free Market Foundation). Liberty Institute is a litigation and lobby group that promotes the religious right's agenda in the courts and legislatively. The Dallas Observer profiled Shackelford in 2005. Read more about Shackelford here and Liberty Institute here.

Dave Welch
Welch is head of the far-right Houston Pastor Council/Texas Pastor Council. Welch is venomously anti-gay and opposes both abortion and sex education. He also supported efforts by creationists on the State Board of Education to adopt curriculum standards that undermine instruction on evolution. Read more about Welch here and the Houston Area Pastor Council here.

Laurence White
White, a Houston pastor, served as head of the Texas Restoration Project. That organization helped mobilize conservative pastors in support of Gov. Rick Perry and a 2005 state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in Texas. Read more about White here and about the Texas Restoration Project here.

Kyleen Wright
Wright is president of Texans for Life Coalition, which opposes abortion and sex education. In 2004 she was a prominent spokesperson for organizations that successfully opposed including information on contraception and STD prevention in new high school health textbooks for Texas public schools. Read more about Wright here.