“Traditional values.” Tom DeLay. Jesus loves low, low prices! Just another day in Texas.

Wayne Christian, the aptly (or inaptly) named Republican Texas state representative, succeeded last week in passing legislation last week that would require public universities to spend an equal amount of money on “Student Centers for Family and Traditional Values” as they do “to support a gender and sexuality center or other center for students focused on gay, lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, transsexual, transgender, gender questioning, or other gender identity issues.”

Christian is also the president of the Texas Conservative Coalition (its slogan is “winning the fight, building the future,” proving again, I suppose, that conservatives are out to win fights and progressives are out to win something more nebulous by conceding the battle). The TCC is the caucus for conservatives in the Texas legislature, and operates a separate “research center.” Together the TCC and the TCCRI are a classic multi-issue conservative group focused principally on deregulating every industry so fatcats can make oodles of money and leave the poor behind; on top of that, such an agenda is also an imperative of “traditional values” and “western civilization.” If you can leave LGBT people out of that, too, all the better.

In classic Texas Republican politics form, the executive director of both groups, John Colyandro, is an indicted former associate of disgraced former House Minority Leader Tom DeLay. Colyandro is the former executive director of DeLay’s Texans for a Republican Majority, and DeLay’s co-defendant in that notorious campaign finance scandal in which DeLay et al. were accused (and DeLay convicted) of illegally funneling corporate cash to a state political action committee. Colyandro faces state charges of making unlawful corporate contributions; DeLay was convicted on charges of money laundering and sentenced to three years in prison, although he remains free on appeal.

The TCC and TCCRI have advocated for, among other things, “Western Civilization” centers at state universities. For Christian, at least, “civilization” is only for straight people. In a story about last week’s debate, the Austin Statesman reported that Christian maintained, “If they’re [universities] going to pay for one, they need to balance it with the other” and claimed that college campus LGBTQ resource centers teach “alternative sexual behavior” and “alternative sexual practices.” Christian also introduced a provision, which the House voted to table, that would have required state universities to use 10 percent of their appropriations on “Western Civilization” courses. The TCC was behind a bill that stalled last term that would have created a “School of Ethics, Western Civilization, and American Traditions” at the University of Texas at Austin.

One of nine task forces maintained by the TCCRI is one on “Western civilization,” the mandate of which is “to further understanding of Western civilization and American traditions among students at state public schools and institutions of higher education.” “Traditional values” are part of the group’s catchy LIFT acronym (Limited government, Individual liberties, Free enterprise, and Traditional family values).

Rewarded with Wal-Mart money, TCCRI has argued that worker justice campaigns against the retail giant are “political agitprop cloaked in the shroud of religious rhetoric.” TCCRI, which received $10,000 grants from the Wal-Mart Foundation in 2006 and 2007, according to tax records, published a paper on “traditional family values” as part of its “LIFT Perspectives” in late 2005. The title: “Would Jesus Value Everyday Low Prices on Robes and Sandals at Wal-Mart?”

In it, Colyandro and his co-author, Brent Connett, maintained that “the Left” is “increasingly fond of invoking the expression ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ every time they mount their hobby horse of social justice complaints.” They rip into the “What Would Jesus Do?” campaign, which was intended to raise awareness of worker injustice. From the paper:

Not only does “Wake Up Wal-Mart” twist Biblical passages for its own purposes, it misquotes the scripture. The letter purportedly quotes Deuteronomy 25:13-15: “Thou shalt not oppress a hired servant that is poor and needy … lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee.”

Get out your Bible. Deuteronomy 25:13-15 dictates that weights should be perfect and just, not diverse. Of all the clergy who signed onto the letter that lambastes Wal-Mart for its immorality and alleged failure to follow the Golden Rule, it appears not one of them caught the error. And maybe that’s the root of this problem: the clergy involved with this campaign are political activists, unfamiliar with the virtues of market economics and blindly idealistic about the social responsibilities of any corporation.

Wal-Mart is a business which the American people clearly value: shelves stocked with items they need (or want) at prices that alleviate financial pressure on the poor and underprivileged, while also benefiting millions of middle class shareholders who count on the firm’s financial success. The company pays employees well above the federal minimum wage, and employs more people than any other company. It offers millions of dollars in cash to community efforts, and does even more when a crisis strikes.

Wal-Mart’s business model is based on the Golden Rule, and it works. And we’re betting Jesus would love the low, low prices.

Could you find a more perfect example of the right’s “biblical” uber-capitalism, couched in “traditional family values?”