My first attempt to chat gay rights, women's rights, and freedom of (and from) religion with a participant at Saturday's Texas Leadership Coaltion rally abruptly ended when the placard-carrying man looked at me squarely and said, "Hell is a terrible place to be for eternity." He was part of a group of local conservative Christians that met in Main Plaza Saturday to blame liberals for edging God out of the public square (while literally rallying in the public square, feet away from City Hall).
The so-called Texas Leadership Coalition, while steered mainly by Catholics under the Catholic Leadership Coalition of Texas (a 501(c)4 nonprofit), appears to have drawn other local voices cut from the conservative Christian cloth. Many of the faces present at Saturday's rally pop up from time to time at City Hall to oppose progressive policies, like members of the San Antonio Family Association (who rallied against domestic-partner benefits for same-sex city employees, passed last year). Pamphlets circulated decrying everything from Planned Parenthood to Mayor Julián Castro's Pre-K 4 SA initiative.
Organizers said Saturday's rally aimed to, most importantly, educate the public on how to vote "for candidates who respect the laws of nature and of nature's God." They broke out GOP party platforms against abortion and LGBT rights. Speaking of President Barack Obama, Texas Leadership Coalition chair Al Notzon proclaimed, "There's no other way to talk about it, we have a dictator." (Notzon also chairs the National Review Board of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, according to the group's website). Notzon continued: "If you look at the party platforms, there's no question that one party is totally promoting abortion, is promoting same-sex marriage, is promoting euthanasia, is promoting taking individual rights away, is promoting taking away economic freedom. That's the Democratic Party."