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On Thursday the University of Texas released a poll showing that nearly a quarter of Texans believe Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is a Muslim. How is it possible that so many people still believe this long-discredited rumor? Well, it doesn’t help when Republican Party officials at Texas Eagle Forum continue to promote misinformation about Sen. Obama’s religious faith.

Yesterday Texas Eagle Forum President Cathie Adams sent the following e-mail to her list, referring to an article on the far-right Web site Newsmax.com. The article suggests that Obama has the support of radical Arabs and Muslims and calls into question his religious education and faith. For the record (once again), Obama is a Christian and has made that clear repeatedly.

Adams, who clearly thinks God put her on Earth to judge the religious faith of other people, is unpersuaded. And check our her signature at the end of the e-mail: “Cathie Adams, Republican National Committeewoman for Texas.”

So not only is Adams engaging in religious bigotry, she also is doing so as an official of the Republican Party. Her e-mail, dated Oct. 30, follows:

Friends, While many question Barak Hussein Obama’s “religion” as discussed in the article below, the more important… Read More

by TFN

To all those who name the name of Christ who plan to willfully disobey Him by voting for Obama, take warning. Not only is our nation in grave danger, according to the Word of God, so are you.

To those who think that God’s grace gives them license to willfully disobey Him without consequences – think again.

[O]bey Him in the voting booth and out of it. If not, do us all a favor and quit calling yourself a Christian.

— Janet Folger, president of the extremist Faith2Action radio program and author of The Criminalization of Christianity, warning voters that they will be divinely punished if they vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

So there. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Stay up-to-date on news about the religious right. Click here to subscribe to TFN News Clips, a daily digest sent to your e-mail address.… Read More

The battle between creationists and supporters of sound science in Texas public schools has moved to another important stage. Texas Education Agency has formally opened the public review period for the state’s proposed science curriculum standards. Click here to learn more on submitting your comments about the standards proposed by work groups made of teachers and academic experts. Once the State Board of Education adopts the final standards (an action currently set for March 2009), publishers will use those standards to craft new science textbooks for schools in Texas and other states across the country.

First the good news: the standards proposed by the work groups drop language requiring that public schools teach students phony “weaknesses” of evolution. They also include language making clear that supernatural explanations (such as creationism/”intelligent design”) have no place in a science classroom. You can read more about the proposed standards here.

Now the bad news: creationists who control the state board have already said they oppose the work groups’ proposed standards on evolution. The board’s creationist chairman demands that teachers water down instruction on evolution by teaching so-called “weaknesses” and says science should be redefined to include supernatural explanations. Far-right… Read More

It appears that Texas State Board of Education member David Bradley, R-BeaumontBuna, is hoping religious bigotry will help him win re-election. The 12-year incumbent is circulating a flier that suggests his Democratic opponent, Laura Ewing of Friendswood, wants to — pass the smelling salts, please — teach social studies students about Islam. The flier explains that Ewing joined other social studies educators on a trip to Africa and India and asks: “Do you know what the Democrat for State Board of Education supports?” The flier implies that Ewing — that evildoer — was using the trip to help develop a curriculum that includes the study of Islamic history and culture. Actually, she was. The state’s curriculum standards for social studies — passed by the state board shortly after Bradley joined it in 1997 — require that students learn about the world’s major religions and cultures. And the trip, as Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Falkenberg explains today, was made possible through the support of the state’s Republican governor, Rick Perry. Falkenberg writes:

It’s easy to dismiss Bradley’s campaign handout as dirty campaigning with an unusually bigoted bent. . . . But the campaign piece represents more… Read More

by TFN

TFN Insider welcomes guest blogger Dr. Steve Sprinkle , director of
The Unfinished Lives Project and associate professor of practical theology of at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth.

 

A near brush with anti-gay hate crime in the late 1990’s in Fort Worth shocked me awake to the reality of violence against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Texans.  Like hundreds of other LGBT hate crimes victims throughout the USA, Texans who are members of the sexual minority face discrimination and fear as their daily bread in the Lone Star State.  As a professor of theology, my pursuits are usually quiet ones, preparing for class, and doing my research.  But my quest to understand the effects and causes of hatred against people because of their difference has made me stare into the face of radical evil: the sort that kills.  For the past three years, as time allowed, I have travelled to 16 states and the District of Columbia to visit the sites where LGBT people died because of their sexual orientation.  I have interviewed relatives, bereaved lovers, co-workers, neighbors and friends, journalists, and law enforcement officers who had direct knowledge about the women and men who died so brutally because of ignorance, prejudice and fear.  It has been the journey of a lifetime, and in a strange way, though I am a teacher, these deceased LGBT people have become my teachers.  Their stories have led me to hope, not hate.

 

I have learned how much all of us need each other, especially all of us who are members of racial/ethnic, religious, differently-abled, female, and LGBT communities.  In Maya Angelou’s words, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”  I have learned how vital the work of advocacy is, by courageous groups like TFN, Equality Texas, and the Human Rights Campaign.  I have also learned how precious life itself is, and how fragile.  I am writing a book, Unfinished Lives: Reviving the Memory of LGBT Hate Crimes Victims, and it will be done soon, God willing.  I want to convey to anyone who will listen that it is possible by hope to bring something beautiful and meaningful out of the ugliest realities of American life.  Every time I meet a mother or lover, a friend or an advocate of one of these murdered LGBT people and share their stories, the intentions of the killers and the haters are frustrated, and the hope for a better, more just society somehow springs to life from the ashes. I cannot explain how it happens, but in the telling and re-telling of the stories of these remarkable people who gave everything just to be who they were, we are led to hope, not hate.

 

I dedicate the following address that I delivered earlier this month in Austin to all those working for a better world.

  Read More

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