Expelled Texas lawmaker Bryan Slaton is Exhibit A for conservative Christian hypocrisy
Slaton said he would "never stop fighting for our Christian-Conservative values." Then he sexually harassed his aide.
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Texas State Rep. Bryan Slaton, a devout Christian who was one of the most conservative lawmakers in the overwhelmingly Republican state, was unceremoniously expelled from the legislature yesterday by a unanimous vote of 147-0. It’s the first expulsion from the State House in nearly a century.
The vote occurred despite Slaton resigning from his position the day before, but it served as confirmation that it was, indeed, possible to be too toxic even for Texas Republicans.
Slaton’s actions are impossible to defend, though.
According to a 16-page report released by the House General Investigative Committee, the 45-year-old married Slaton “engaged in sexual intercourse” with one of his 19-year-old legislative aides (Sophia) after giving her alcohol—despite her being underage. The aide later reported feeling “pretty rough,” “really dizzy,” and had “split vision.”
Sophia had never had sex before but she told one of her colleagues that she had “lost her virginity” to Slaton that night and “bled a great deal as a result.” She added that they did not use protection, which led to her allegedly going to a drugstore the next morning to obtain “Plan B” medication. (Sophia did not confirm this part of the story.) Sophia would also later say she wouldn’t have agreed to have sex had she been sober.
When a third colleague heard about all this, she asked Sophia point blank, "Did y’all fuck?”
“Yes,” said Sophia.
Before long, someone emailed Slaton to say he knew about the affair, and he confronted Sophia about the matter. He told her “nothing would happen as long as her and her friends keep quiet.”
All of this took place the first week of April. Within days of the sexual harassment, all the legislators seemed to know what had happened. A formal investigation was launched. It didn’t help that Slaton’s other staffers—all men—refused to cooperate with the investigators despite rules requiring them to do so in cases like this.
Last week, the report was made public and recommended that Slaton be expelled from the legislature. They also said he committed three crimes that could result in a one-year jail sentence and a $4,000 fine.
His lawyer argued that Slaton shouldn’t be reprimanded in any way because the incidents occurred at his apartment and not the State Capitol, as if location is an acceptable excuse for sexually harassing someone over whom he had power.
Slaton resisted resigning for days before finally pulling the plug—only after he knew he was going to be expelled. To be fair, the expulsion wasn’t merely a formality. Slaton could have received his salary and a per diem until he was replaced; the expulsion put a stop to that.
His resignation letter offered no apologies for what he did. There was no remorse. Instead, he said he looked forward to “spending more time with my young family.”
What makes this scandal all the more egregious is that Slaton had a reputation for injecting his religion everywhere he could. This past February, he filed a bill to reduce or eliminate property taxes for families with at least four children, a move clearly designed to benefit “quiverfull” Christian families (like the Duggars) who have the resources to have several kids and own a home. Same-sex couples and people who have been divorced would not be eligible for the tax cuts. His goal, he said, was to send the message to straight couples: “Get married, stay married, and be fruitful and multiply.”
A couple years ago, he also filed a bill to charge anyone who has an abortion, along with the doctors who perform them, with assault or homicide, a crime punishable by death.
He has also called for a ban on children at drag shows, claiming kids need to be protected from “perverted adults.” When Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made similar anti-drag remarks, Slaton praised him for it, saying he was proud of Patrick for “always being willing to stand with children against those who want to sexualize and take advantage of them.” He even referred to an all-ages drag show as a “grooming event.”
Drag queens aren’t sexualizing children. Conservative Christians, on the other hand…
Slaton’s campaign website, as expected, is full of his Christian credentials:
Bryan Slaton is a proud East Texan with values and principles that resemble(represent) the great people of East Texas. These values were formed as he grew up regularly participating in church and family gatherings. Bryan attended Ouachita Baptist University, where he earned a double major in Youth Ministry / Speech Communication. He then attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and earned a Masters of Divinity with Biblical Languages. He served in the ministry as a Youth and Family Minister for 13 years.
The website says he attends Fellowship Church in the town of Royse City.
The bottom line is that a conservative Christian lawmaker who used his faith to reward other conservative Christians while hurting those who don’t follow his supposed “values” was booted from the Texas legislature because he sexually assaulted one of his virgin staffers after plying the underage aide with alcohol then telling her to keep quiet.
Just like Jesus would do.
When Slaton was elected to his second term last year, he said, “I will never stop fighting for our Christian-Conservative values.“
We know what those values are: Hypocrisy. Sexual misconduct. Cruelty. Projection.
And yet none of that will likely matter. Republicans had no problem kicking Slaton out of the legislature because he lives in an extremely red district, winning both of his elections with over 80% of the vote. It won’t matter which Republican is on the ballot next time around because that person will get elected no matter what. And then that person will just take the baton and continue pushing the same kind of thoughtless, heartless bills designed to punish people who don’t agree with conservative Christian theology.
Slaton reminds us, however, that the loudest and proudest conservative Christians are often the ones with the biggest skeletons in their closets.
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