8.25.22 – NBC News

“Christian Cell Company, Patriot Mobile, Took Four Texas School Boards”
By Mike Hixenbaugh


Excerpts From This Article:


Patriot Mobile markets itself as “America’s only Christian conservative wireless provider.” Now the Trump-aligned company is on a mission to win control of Texas school boards.

DALLAS — A little more than a year after former Trump adviser Steve Bannon declared that conservatives needed to win seats on local school boards to “save the nation,” he used his conspiracy theory-fueled TV program to spotlight Patriot Mobile, a Texas-based cellphone company that had answered his call to action.

“The school boards are the key that picks the lock,” Bannon said during an interview with Patriot Mobile’s president, Glenn Story, from the floor of the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, in Dallas on Aug. 6. “Tell us about what you did.”

Story turned to the camera and said, “We went out and found 11 candidates last cycle and we supported them, and we won every seat. We took over four school boards.”

“Eleven seats on school boards, took over four!” Bannon shouted as a crowd of CPAC attendees erupted in applause.

It was a moment of celebration for an upstart company whose leaders say they are on a mission from God to restore conservative Christian values at all levels of government — especially in public schools. To carry out that calling, the Grapevine-based company this year created a political action committee, Patriot Mobile Action, and gave it more than $600,000 to spend on nonpartisan school board races in the Fort Worth suburbs.

This spring, the PAC blanketed the communities of Southlake, Keller, Grapevine and Mansfield with thousands of political mailers warning that sitting school board members were endangering students with critical race theory and other “woke” ideologies. Patriot Mobile presented its candidates as patriots who would “keep political agendas out of the classroom.”

Their candidates won every race, and nearly four months later, those Patriot Mobile-backed school boards have begun to deliver results.

The Keller Independent School District made national headlines this month after the school board passed a new policy that led the district to abruptly pull more than 40 previously challenged library books off shelves for further review, including a graphic adaptation of Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl,” as well as several LGBTQ-themed novels. 

In the neighboring city of Southlake, Patriot Mobile donated framed posters that read “In God We Trust” to the Carroll Independent School District during a special presentation before the school board. Under a new Texas law, the district is now required to display the posters prominently in each of its school buildings. Afterward, Patriot Mobile celebrated the donation in a blog post titled “Putting God Back Into Our Schools.”

And this week at a tense, eight-hour school board meeting, the Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District’s board of trustees voted 4-3 to implement a far-reaching set of policies that restrict how teachers can discuss race and gender. The new policies also limit the rights of transgender and nonbinary students to use bathrooms and pronouns that correspond with their genders. And the board made it easier for parents to ban library books dealing with sexuality.

Patriot Mobile’s goal is to install school board members who will oppose the teaching of “LGBTQ ideologies,” fight to remove “pornographic books,” and stand against school anti-racism initiatives, which she and her supporters have argued indoctrinate children with anti-white and anti-American views.

… Wambsganss made clear that Patriot Mobile views its political activism as a religious calling — and that the group’s electoral success this spring was just the beginning.

“We’re not here on this earth to please man — we’re here to please God,” Wambsganss said, adding later in the interview, “Ultimately we want to expand to other counties, other states and be in every state across the nation.”

‘Make America Christian Again’
Founded about a decade ago, Patriot Mobile markets itself as “America’s only Christian conservative wireless provider,” which includes a pledge to donate a portion of users’ monthly bills to conservative causes.

Initially, Patriot Mobile’s founders said their goal was to support groups and politicians who promised to oppose abortion, defend religious freedom, protect gun rights and support the military.

…That approach has drawn the support of some big names on the right.

“You can give your money to AT&T, the parent company of CNN, and you can pay the salary of Don Lemon, or you can support someone like a Patriot Mobile and give back to causes that they believe in,” Donald Trump Jr. said from the stage at a CPAC gathering in February. “That’s not cancel culture, folks. That’s using your damn brain.”

…Beginning a year ago…Rafael Cruz, a pastor, began leading weekly Bible studies for employees at Patriot Mobile’s corporate office, which the company films and posts on YouTube.

In a recent Patriot Mobile sermon, Cruz — the father of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas — dismissed the concept of separation of church and state as a myth, arguing that America’s founders meant that ideal as a “one-way wall” preventing the government from interfering with the church, not preventing the church from influencing the government.

He then called on people who “are rooted in the righteousness of the word of God” to run for public office.

“If those people are not running for office, if they are not even voting, then what’s left?” Cruz said. “The wicked electing the wicked.”