Governor Greg Abbott of Texas is only the latest in a line of mental defectives to occupy the Lone Star State’s executive mansion – but he’s taking the insanity to a whole new level. Like his predecessors, Rick Perry and George W. Bush, Abbott’s politics and social views are considerably right of center. However, he also apparently suffers from a mental condition the psychiatric profession describes as “schizophrenic psychosis.” A major symptom of this mental disorder is the inability to distinguish reality from illusion.

It’s no secret that politicians like Perry and Bush pander to the more fanatical followers of Jesus – but at least Christianity is an established, recognized faith. Fortunately, the majority of self-professed Christians are more rational and moderate in their beliefs than the fundamentalist fringe.  Abbott, on the other hand, takes his marching orders from the late cult leader L. Ron Hubbard. You may recognize that name as being that of the founder of Scientology. Among the cult’s many questionable beliefs is the idea that psychiatry is a form of abuse and its practice should be eradicated.

Abbott’s  cult leanings became apparent recently when he vetoed Texas Senate Bill 359. This law would have allowed law enforcement to arrest and detain a person suspected of being mentally ill and potentially violent. It would have given a qualified physician the authority to hold that person for psychiatric evaluation.  The Dallas Morning News described it as “legislation that can save lives, save money and improve safety in communities.” Had such a law been in place elsewhere, it might have prevented last week’s tragic shootings.

This bill was supported by the conservative legislature and law enforcement as well as the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians. Governor Abbott stated that his reason for vetoing the legislation was based on “constitutional concerns.” Apparently, detaining a potentially violent mental patient for medical and psychiatric evaluation is tantamount to false imprisonment.

The Constitution had little or nothing to do with it. The group that lobbied against the bill is known as the “Citizens Commission on Human Rights” (CCHR) – the lobbying arm of the Church of Scientology. This organization’s holy mission is to abolish the practice of psychiatric medicine around the world.  In many ways, the CCHR is like the proverbial Devil who can quote Scripture to suit his purposes. On the surface, the organization addresses some legitimate concerns. These include over-reliance on psychoactive prescription medicines and the fact that psychiatrists are not required to do medical testing on patients in order to rule out physiological factors that may cause erratic behavior.

It is this type of superficial rationality that makes the CCHR so dangerous. Dig beneath the surface, and you’ll find the kind of far-out conspiracy theories that would make The Twilight Zone seem like Bill Nye The Science Guy in comparison. Of course, in the end, it’s all about money and control. Legitimate psychiatry is in direct competition to Scientology’s profitable “Dianetics” programs. Unlike the latter, however, psychiatry is based on scientific research. Dianetics is based on science fiction.

It is horrifying that an elected official, wielding the power of executive office, is so beholden to a cult many have concluded is a massive con game. Furthermore, it’s not the only indication that Abbott is a tinfoil-hat wearing freak. Writing for Salon.com, Bob Cesca cites several examples of Abbott’s paranoia and irrational behavior.

On the bright side, Abbott is the poster boy for the new GOP. The party’s field of candidates have gone so far off the rails that even a growing number of self-identified Republican voters find them difficult to stomach.

In the end, Abbott and those like him could wind up serving the Progressive cause very well – but only if we continue to expose them.

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K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues.