Robert Downen is a reporter for The Texas Tribune. 

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How Once-Fringe Christian Ideals Could Become Texas Law

A man holds a sign reading "Jesus is king" in a crowd of people.

A man holds a sign reading "Jesus is king" while Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick delivers his inaugural address at the state Capitol in Austin on Jan. 17, 2023. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Already this legislative session, the Texas Senate has approved bills that would require the Ten Commandments to be posted in all public school classrooms and allow unlicensed religious chaplains to supplant the role of school counselors. Meanwhile, there are numerous efforts to eliminate or weaken two state constitutional amendments that prohibit direct state support of religious schools and organizations, a key plank of the broader school-choice movement.

‘Genocides Start With Words,’ Experts Warn as Antisemitism Rises

Outside of the sanctuary at Congregation Beth Israel in Austin on Nov. 1, 2021. Late the night before, a fire was set at the synagogue. Franklin Barrett Sechriest, then a student at Texas State University in San Marcos, was charged in the incident. Michael Gonzalez/The Texas Tribune

As other kids in Austin, Texas recovered from trick-or-treating on Halloween last year, Sarah Adelman worried about white supremacists, her mom, and their synagogue. After a series of antisemitic incidents around Central Texas, someone set fire to Congregation Beth Israel, where Sarah’s mother, Lori, is a leader.