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The Free Market Foundation, the Plano-based Texas affiliate of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, has a new pitch for donations — and don’t expect much in the way of truth.

Near the top of the list of whoppers in Free Market’s letter is a claim of victory in a lawsuit over a Bible class offered by the Ector County (Odessa) Independent School District in West Texas. “The district will permanently have a Bible course, with the Bible as the textbook, and may use additional outside resources as well,” Free Market crows in its letter. “Our victory was a huge setback for the ACLU’s national plans.”

Well, no. The American Civil Liberties Union sought to forbid the school district from using an error-riddled, blatantly sectarian Bible curriculum that promotes the religious views of Protestant Christian fundamentalists over everybody else’s. The ACLU succeeded. During mediation, school officials agreed to drop the curriculum of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools and develop an alternative set of class materials. So long as the district uses a curriculum that neither promotes nor attacks anyone’s religion, the district may continue to offer the course. (The Texas Freedom Network Education Fund released a report about the National Council’s dreadfulRead More

The California Supreme Court’s decision that two laws barring same-sex marriage violate that state’s constitution has, predictably, been followed by eruptions of fury from the far right. Kelly Shackelford of the Plano-based Free Market Foundation (Texas affiliate of the far-right Focus on the Family) said the decision was an example of “outrageous judicial activism. This exactly what could have happened in Texas if we hadn’t passed the Constitutional Amendment for marriage.” Texas voters passed that constitutional amendment in 2005 even though state law already barred same-sex marriages and state courts are dominated by Republicans opposed to such marriages.

Other far-right groups, such as Concerned Women for America, portrayed the decision as a betrayal of California voters who had passed a referendum (but not a constitutional amendment) on same-sex marriage in 2000. Supporters of Proposition 22 that year sought to close what they saw as a legal loophole that might permit state recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Even so, prior to the California court’s new ruling, the state already recognized legal “domestic partnerships.” In addition, California lawmakers twice have passed measures legalizing marriage for same-sex couples, but the govenor has vetoed… Read More

Eileen Flynn has written an excellent column in the Austin American-Statesman discussing the misunderstanding of the label “evangelical” and promoting the Texas Freedom Network-sponsored Jim Wallis speaking event at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 13, at First United Methodist in Austin.

Rev. Wallis will also speak with local faith leaders at a rally on the South Steps of the state Capitol at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. The Rise Rally will focus on united people of faith behind issues that the religious right has long ignored, including poverty, hunger and the environment.

You can learn more about the two events and reserve tickets for Rev. Wallis’ presentaiton at First United Methodist Churcy by clicking here.

 

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This is incredible:

Most of the graduating seniors at Washington University in St. Louis weren’t even born when Phyllis Schlafly led the successful campaign in the 1970s to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment. But they will get to learn about her at commencement ceremonies next week when the university awards her a doctorate of humane letters.

I can hardly bear to read on.

Fortunately, Crooked Timber has cut her (and the university) down to size.… Read More

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that:

Some Plano students who are Jewish say they were pressured or taunted to pick up copies of the New Testament from school display tables during recent weeks.

Their parents have called for changes in district policies that allow outside groups to distribute materials on campus.

The Gideons International has set up tables offering copies of the New Testament. The district isn’t violating the law by allowing this — as the story notes, “a judge’s order prevents [the district] from excluding groups based on their beliefs” — but the practice does bother some students.

“Probably the one I heard the most was, ‘If the Bible touched you, like, will you burn or something?’ ” said Jeffrey Lavine, 16, a sophomore at Vines High School. “I sort of played it down as a joke and everything, which it was, but it was definitely a meaner comment than what we’re used to.”

Plano has been a hotbed of controversy regarding religious freedom, resulting in a number of lawsuits.

Which brings to mind this recent quote from Lauren Smith, an associate communications director at… Read More

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