Dan Patrick Has God on His Side, According to Dan Patrick

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Sen. Dan Patrick
Patrick Michels
Sen. Dan Patrick delivers a passionate speech in favor of House Bill 2 before its passage Friday night.

Lost in the dramatic events of Friday’s final showdown over the anti-abortion bill was a remarkable speech by Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston). It started out a critique of the Democrats’ legislative dealings with the Republican majority—inside baseball, really—but then built to a full-throated declaration of God’s wishes for the second special session of the Texas Legislature and a channeling of the wishes of women and the fetuses they carry.

Now, Patrick’s not known for his subtlety. After all, he came up in the world of right-wing radio and modestly titled his bible-inspiration manual The Second Most Important Book You Will Ever Read.

Patrick recently announced a run for lieutenant governor, challenging the bumbling Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and two other very conservative Republicans of somewhat different flavors, Ag Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. Patrick has made little secret of his disdain for Dewhurst’s mishandling of the anti-abortion bill but it was his venomous and unapologetically Christian-ist speech on Friday that really marked the beginning of the campaign and showed just how extreme Patrick can be.

The Senate doesn’t lack for members willing to wear their faith on their sleeve. Sen. Eddie Lucio, the only Democrat to vote for House Bill 2, gave a half-hour rambling seminar on his personal theology, quoting Mother Teresa and citing John Locke, to justify his belief that life begins at conception. But Patrick goes even further.

He has a history of invoking God to justify his far-right politics. He even knows God’s schedule. In February 2011, he said of a bill requiring women seeking an abortion to get a sonogram, “This is God’s time to pass the bill.”

Patrick reviewed his own book on Amazon.com, humbly writing, “Since God inspired me to write this book, He automatically gets 5 stars and the CREDIT!”

In a 1958 TV interview with Mike Wallace, theologian and minister Reinhold Niebuhr defined “a bad religion” as “one that gives an ultimate sanctity to some particular cause.” He may have had a politician like Dan Patrick in mind.

I suspect Patrick wouldn’t wear one of those “What Would Jesus Do?” bracelets so popular back in the Bush era. Not for him, the open-ended question. “Jesus Does as I Do” is more his cup.

In his Friday address, Patrick managed to speak for women seeking an abortion, unborn babies and God, practically in one breath. That proved too much for one woman in the gallery, who shouted “I can’t take it anymore”:

We talked about the choice, you ask us, well don’t we put ourselves in the place of the woman and her choice, what choice does the baby have? Who speaks for the baby? Do you think if the mother had a conversation with the baby and said, ‘you know, this just isn’t really convenient to give birth to you right now, do you mind dying?’”

Woman yells, “I can’t take it anymore.”

Patrick: “I think that baby would say –“

Dewhurst: “Could you pause for a moment, I think the lady is going to be escorted out.”

Patrick: “I don’t get mad with those folks, I pray for them.

He went on to focus on the key Republican talking point about House Bill 2—that it’s about women’s health more than anything else, but he soon pointed out that he knows how God would’ve voted on House Bill 2 on July 12, 2013.

So at the end of the day, I respect the arguments, it’s been a good day of debate, but I can’t sit here and listen to all this talk that leaves out the most important person in the process, the baby. So who do I listen to?

I don’t apologize for being pro-life and I don’t apologize for being a Christian, and I listen to the word of God on this issue. The Bible tells us we are born in the image of God, and I believe when a baby’s life is destroyed we are destroying the image of God. And there should be no one out there celebrating it. If they want to, fine. But I will never stand on this floor, and I will never cheer, and I will never support anyone who celebrates destroying the image of God.

Sen. Dan Patrick delivers a passionate speech in favor of House Bill 2.
Sen. Dan Patrick during debate on House Bill 2.

There’s two ways you can go in life, a lot of people say I believe in God, but there’s a quantum leap when you go from believing in God to believing God. A lot of people believe in God. If you believe God, how would God vote tonight if he were here?And I know I’ll get raked over by the liberal blogs and some people in the media for bringing this up on the floor, but let’s just be honest. Are we a nation that stands for a Judeo-Christian ethic, or are we not? Do we get down on our knees and pray when our children get sick, or when we have a tragedy in West, Texas, or 9/11, who do we turn to then? We turn to God, and say, “God please bless us. “But on this case, “no, no, no, God, sorry, we’re not with you on this one.”  Well, I say the people who are for this bill aren’t any better than people who are against it, aren’t any more godly. I’m just saying we’re listening a little closer.

So I’m proud to stand and vote for this bill. I believe we are improving women’s healthcare, and I believe we care about these children. As they said, when it comes to choice, when it comes to choice, the baby doesn’t have a choice, the baby doesn’t get a vote, but tonight the baby’s going to get, by my count, 19 votes. 19 votes, every Republican and one courageous Democrat will stand and vote for the babies and women’s healthcare.

And I respect everyone’s comments, and I hope you respect mine, because you’re passionate, I’ve heard the passion from my dear friend Senator Whitmire, from my good friend, I’ve heard your passion, but let me tell you, you don’t get to outrank me on passion. And I’m just as passionate, and I care just as much, and I know that this is the right vote on this bill, on this night, on this time. Thank you very much.”

Jesus wept.

Forrest Wilder, a native of Wimberley, Texas, is associate editor of the Observer. Forrest specializes in environmental reporting and runs the “Forrest for the Trees” blog. Forrest has appeared on Democracy Now!, The Rachel Maddow Show and numerous NPR stations. His work has been mentioned by The New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Time magazine and many other state and national publications. Other than filing voluminous open records requests, Forrest enjoys fishing, kayaking, gardening and beer-league softball. He holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.

  • seaustin

    Mmmmm, I wonder how Senator Patrick voted on issues after the child is born? Did he vote to provide assistance with food, clothing, shelter and education? Or did God tell him that tax cut for wealthy businessman was more important….

    • Mister_Mean

      He is pro birth-”we will fight for the fetus until it is born and then it is on it’s own”

      • SoberMoney

        Good George Carlin line, Mr. Mean.

  • A Olson

    He should stick to preaching in a church and stay out of government! Can’t stand him!

  • Paula Alderson Beard

    I agreed with the woman in the gallery! I was listening to the debate on livestream and literally had to take my headphones off while he was speaking. What a condescending jerk! IMHO, religion should be totally separate from our legislative process. We are a state of diversity, and Christianity is not the state religion. There are many people like me, who are Christians, that respect that diversity and wish to keep religion out of government. How would you feel is you were Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, or Atheist? If you can’t make a case for the bill without invoking that it is God’s will, then you don’t have much of a case.

  • Mister_Mean

    Well as I view Patrick he has blasphemed in putting his words in God’s mouth (especially for his personal political benefit). He, to me, does not seem to worship the same Christian God as I do. Nothing says life like guns, no health care, and executing your 500th prisoner. Nothing says small government like no regulations (West Texas), no fire arm sales background checks (to make sure criminals do not have guns) and poking your nose in woman’s health issues to further your brownie points with whom you believe to be the Lord.

    • SoberMoney

      And nothing about these phony big government Republicans like Patrick creating more and more laws to repress women, minorities, senior citizen and young voters, and cutting back on social programs for the needy – all the while whoring for their corporate masters.

      God tells me Patrick – and his higher up nutcase comrade Ted Cruz – are both going to hell.

      • Mister_Mean

        Cruz and Patrick are just one of the faces of the Texas Taliban.

  • Nancy Richard Colburn

    He needs to go hang out with Muslim extremists. He would fit in quite well. What a total and complete religious freak.

  • SoberMoney

    Patrick is just another member of the Republican Taliban Party.

    When sane “real conservative” Texans finally get tired of being in denial that these Christian psycho politicians are truly representing them, we will stop being one of the laughing stock states.

    Politically, Texas has become a cross between Florida and Oklahoma – with an economy run by greedy white Christian fossil fuel plutocrats.

    Texas is now the model state for the US neo-Christian Republican Party. Baaaaaaa…!

  • A. Zigon

    Therein lies the problem. They are proselytizing and assuming everybody believes what they do or needs to.
    I do not believe in their god or the fact that they think they are some kind of chosen messenger. There is no room in politics for any of this. Quite frankly it is a throwback to biblical times when religion was used to control people so they wouldn’t rise up against the government(religious leaders.) I am sick to death of these politicians passing laws that no one wants or even knew were on the agenda until they are already law. Gun laws ,Abortion Laws, Education policies etc are all public affecting and should all be on a referendum for vote. Not crammed through in the middle of the night or secretly attached to some fishing license bill. This is the lowest form of lying cheating thievery and elections are coming

  • robin77071

    Early this morning God’s publicist issued the following statement, “I don’t know this fool and he certainly doesn’t speak for me”

  • Lorraine R

    Lorraine R

  • Lorraine R

    State Senator Dan Patrick told his colleagues to ask themselves: “How would God vote tonight if he were here?” Yes, that’s the question HE asked, “How would God vote tonight if He {the Father HE God, that is, from whom “all life comes”) were here? If that’s not ripping off women, I don’t know what is. No, all life does not come from God the Father, men, and males. Too many fundamentalist men believe that since “all life comes from males” and neither women nor a God/dess create life, women can only kill life that is made only by men and an all male God. She could not possibly have a roll in creating life, and should not have a choice about whether she will create life or not, because she does not have the power to create life–only men and male Gods have that power. All life is created only by God the Father.

    Women need to start asking, “How would God/dess vote tonight if SHE were here?” She would vote on the side of women and tell GOP men to quit stealing life from Her and women. SHE would let them know that all life does NOT come from men and males. She would tell them to quit robbing life from women and God/dess against their will and Hers. It is She and women who should decide whether to give life, which involves a good deal of pain and sacrifice. Men should not be able to force women to undergo this pain and make these sacrifices when such sacrifices are not required of men. She would tell tham to quit invading, conquering, usurping, and stealing women’s bodies and lives. To do so is demonic, because they are doing it in the name of their ALL MALE idol God.

    After all, if God is male (and fundamentalist men (& some women) all know HE is), male must be God. That means men and the government men create (and it has been mostly men who have created it, especially in Texas) should be able to impose their religious beliefs upon women, to rob women of their religious liberty, and make all of women’s decisions for them (since women are not really persons able to make decisions about the most basic aspects of their lives themselves). What arrogance! How can anyone vote for or support such demonic men? Why don’t women rise up and throw these men out? This makes me give more credence to the atheists and secularists who say “Christianity must go.” If this is what so-called “Christianity” has turned into, I guess I must agree.

    Women and the God/dess should never be forced to give life against their will. The proper attitude toward women and the God/dess who chose to give life should be gratitude for life freely given by choice. Only when life is given through choice, when the Spirit of balance and righteous love prompts women as does their human reason, when the circumstances of their lives are right, is life given righteously. The proper attitude toward such a great gift should be gratitude for the great sacrifices women are making to do this and the great love out of which they are choosing to do so. It should never be force, theft, conquest, tyranny, cruelty, or hatred.

    Strange that these GOP men think they should be able to defend their own freedom and property with guns; but they should be able to invade, usurp, and steal women’s bodies, blood, lifeforce, and freedom at will. It is not only grossly immoral, but against the will of God for any man, woman, fetus, zygote, child, or government to invade, coerce, conquer, steal, usurp, or rob a woman of her body, blood, or lifeforce against her will. It should be her choice, in conversation with her family, doctor and God. It is a violation not only of her civil rights and free will, but of her religious freedom to steal life from her against her will. It is a violation not only of the constitution of the United States, but of God’s will. Those who commit such robbery in the name of their idol ALL MALE God are in league with the Devil and headed for hell.