The Texas Monthly describes the takeover of the state Republican Party by evangelical Christians. The party freely uses the language and symbols of evangelicals. Their passionate commitment to freedom and religious Liberty is self-referential.

A recent article begins:

Late last month, Senator Ted Cruz stood beside a pulpit at the Texas Faith, Family, and Freedom Forum, hosted by Texas Values, a conservative policy group based in Austin, and made the case that liberal insanity in Washington was worse than he’d ever seen it. He took Trump-style potshots at the appearance and scruples of his opponents—in this case a handful of congressional Democrats. “Five years ago in the Senate there was one open and avowed socialist,” Cruz said, referring to Bernie Sanders of Vermont. “Crazy uncle Bernie, white hair standing straight up. By the way, would it kill the guy to use a comb? I mean he’s a socialist, he can just take one from someone.”

Calling Democrats lunatics is standard practice for Texas’s junior senator. But mixed in with his jeremiads were other signals more fitting to the setting, a stage at Austin’s Great Hills Baptist Church with a large cross adorning the podium beside him. “A revival is coming,” said Cruz, the son of an evangelical Protestant minister. And while he added that politicians like him were ready to lead it, he also reminded those gathered that much of the public still needs to be won over. “We need to do a much better job as evangelists,” Cruz said. “Evangelists for Jesus, yes, but also in the public sphere as evangelists for liberty, for our values.”

Cruz blended explicit biblical language and patriotic imagery throughout what was, at its core, a speech to rally the political activism of the “joyful warriors” convened that evening by Texas Values, which itself makes little distinction between Republican, Christian, and American priorities. The group’s website explains its position that “government is an institution ordained by God, with the purpose of punishing evil and rewarding good” and adds that “those who serve in government are God’s ministers.” A cross-shaped graphic accompanying the term “Religious Liberty” on the homepage makes clear to which religion’s God the group is referring….

After the Texas Supreme Court sided with cheerleaders in East Texas in August 2018 and allowed them to display a verse from the New Testament on their football team’s run-through banner, state attorney general Ken Paxton tweeted in support. “God bless these young cheerleaders for their faith in God and their fight to protect their religious liberties. Just like their banners said, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’” The verse, taken from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippian church, references the apostle’s spiritual growth, which allows him to endure the unpredictability—including hunger and financial need—in his missionary work. The verse has become popular among athletes, politicians, and other competitors as a triumphalist blessing over their ambitions. It would be better applied as a way of saying “I’ll be fine, even if I lose, because God’s kingdom doesn’t depend on a football game or an election.” But that’s not the message Paxton is sending in the tweet. His public messaging and that of other top Texas politicians implies that the kingdom of God very much depends on who wins elections.