City Hall told the Botanic Garden to host the True Texas Project. Here’s what we get | Opinion

It is always helpful when our neighbors show us how hateful and bigoted they are.

Today, we see the truth behind the True Texas Project, a Grapevine-based activist group that promotes native white Christians as superior and says Christianity, not American freedom and liberty, should be the law of the land.

Leaders Julie and Fred McCarty of Grapevine and their board members often tell us outright how they’re better than everyone else.

In 2019, Fred McCarty wrote on Facebook dismissing the mass killing of 23 people in an El Paso shooting as “blow-back” against “foreign people.”

Flowers and items left at a makeshift memorial near the Walmart where 20 people were killed Saturday, in El Paso, Texas, Aug. 4, 2019. Federal investigators in El Paso said they were treating the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism and prosecutors were considering federal hate crime charges. (Celia Talbot Tobin/The New York Times)
Flowers and items left at a makeshift memorial near the Walmart where 20 people were killed Saturday, in El Paso, Texas, Aug. 4, 2019. Federal investigators in El Paso said they were treating the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism and prosecutors were considering federal hate crime charges. (Celia Talbot Tobin/The New York Times)

Newly fueled since 2019 with anonymous donations and embraced by the Republican Party church clique, the patriot-movement group operates in 37 counties across Texas as a far-right freak show.

Monthly meetings mix traditional religious conservative views with increasingly incendiary topics such as “The Black Robed Regiment,” referring to armed pastors leading a violent overthrow to impose forced Christian government, or “Globalists Want You Eating Bugs.”

You’d think a group like this wouldn’t have any real standing in the Republican Party.

Nope. The True Texas Project dominates the Republican Party in much of Tarrant County.

The group is nonpartisan on paper. Yet its meetings are announced on the county Republican Party calendar alongside those of traditional GOP clubs. Fred McCarty is a Republican precinct chairman.

Julie McCarty, president of the NE Tarrant Tea Party
Julie McCarty, president of the NE Tarrant Tea Party

When my own vote was thrown out completely in a 2020 election — because I didn’t use the same kind of pen to sign the mail-in application and ballot — most of the ballot review board members canceling my vote were members of the True Texas Project.

They were appointed by the Republican county chairman and told to challenge ballots.

They picked out mine.

Lately, the True Texas Project has faked being more mainstream.

When the group sponsored a fundraiser in April at River Ranch Stockyards, one of the speakers was “Dr. Phil” McGraw, now a Christian TV host on a new religious network in Fort Worth.

Dr. Phil McGraw has announced the launch of his new cable network called “Merit Street Media” based in Fort Worth, where he will debut a new version of the Dr. Phil show in primetime.
Dr. Phil McGraw has announced the launch of his new cable network called “Merit Street Media” based in Fort Worth, where he will debut a new version of the Dr. Phil show in primetime.

Most of the people who go to True Texas Project events probably don’t even know the group has way-out views.

So it was helpful when the group published the program for its 15th anniversary conference July 12-13 in Fort Worth, warning of a “war on white America.”

Another speaker calls for “top-down” government under biblical “natural law.”

The program was described in a report by the Texas Tribune, an Austin-based nonprofit news site.

After the report, at least three speakers, including former governor candidate Don Huffines of Dallas, canceled their appearances. Huffines, once endorsed by the group, called the conference a “dumb and inaccurate way to promote the Republican agenda” and objected to antisemitic overtones.

The event is scheduled at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. A city spokesman confirmed late Friday that city lawyers told the Garden it could not cancel the rental.

County Judge Tim O’Hare, District Attorney Phil Sorrells and Sheriff Bill Waybourn spoke about the county’s election integrity unit at a True Texas Project meeting April 10.
County Judge Tim O’Hare, District Attorney Phil Sorrells and Sheriff Bill Waybourn spoke about the county’s election integrity unit at a True Texas Project meeting April 10.

In so many words, the event’s message seems to be, “Native-born white Protestants are real Americans, and you’re not.”

In the program on the True Texas Project website, conference presenter C. Jay Engel of near Sacramento, California, describes his talk warning against multicultural inclusion and claiming liberals want to “rid the earth of the white race.”

Online, Engel writes that “heritage Americans” are those whose ancestors came before 1885 and Ellis Island.

Black Americans and American Indians are included, but only if they affirm the “domination and pre-eminence of the European derived peoples, their institutions, and their way of life.”

Look, to me, there is only one American heritage and way of life. The Constitution spells it out: liberty and freedom for all.

Being an American is not about being native-born, or Christian, or white.

The Tribune listed other True Texas Project topics, including the “Great Replacement Theory,” claiming demographic shifts are part of “a deliberate policy” to replace white American citizens, and “The Case for Christian Nationalism,” calling for strict Christians to take over and rule politics and the law.

Most of this isn’t new from the True Texas Project. Just more extreme.

Bumper stickers were available at the NE Tarrant Tea Party election watching party in November 2010
Bumper stickers were available at the NE Tarrant Tea Party election watching party in November 2010

The group began in 2009 after the election of President Barack Obama. Back then, it was the NE Tarrant Tea Party, secretly started by Republican political organizers in Dallas to take over a movement that began in the Libertarian Party.

Julie McCarty has been in the news before, with less drama.

In 2014, she wrote on Facebook that voters should choose a Southern Baptist over a Methodist church member for judge in the Republican primary because Methodists “have women pastors and openly welcome gays.”

That same year, her group distributed handouts at the Republican state convention saying that all immigration “dooms a conservative Republican party.”

The True Texas Project’s message is now much more direct: Foreigners are inferior, and native-born white Christians should rule.

That does not sound like America.