The Brief: In God They Trust

Posted by John Reynolds and Madlin Mekelburg - The Texas Tribune, Emily Ramshaw - The Texas Tribune on

The Big Conversation

The Tribune's latest investigative project — a documentary-style series called "God & Governing" — kicks off this morning.

As the title implies, the project's focus is on the influence of religious beliefs on state lawmakers, as exemplified in many of the policy debates from this year's legislative session. In the first installment of the five-part series, lawmakers show little hesitation invoking their beliefs in defending their policymaking decisions.

“During the last legislative session, religion infused heated debates on gun control, gay marriage and abortion — issues that consumed much of lawmakers’ time," the Tribune's Alana Rocha narrates. "That’s despite the fact that just 3 percent of Texans consider them the most important issues facing the state.”

Over the next few days, the series highlights in turn how religious beliefs colored the debate on many of the year's hot-button issues — from open carry and campus carry to abortion and the death penalty to same-sex marriage, abstinence education and school vouchers.

The stories are told to a large extent in the lawmakers' own words. Tribune reporters interviewed nearly two dozen state lawmakers in order to explore how their beliefs drive their policy decisions.

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