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Texas Freedom Network has been taking fire from religious extremists on the State Board of Education for our stand on public school Bible classes. We have been very critical of the state board’s failure to adopt clear, specific curriculum standards to guide public schools in creating worthwhile, legal courses that don’t end up in court.

In pieces published by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News, state board member Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, responded to our concerns about the lack of sound Bible class standards by repeating a disingenuous argument. Mercer claimed (again) that the Texas attorney general has given a “constitutional green light” to the vague, very general standards the state board adopted. Well, how could the attorney general object to something that says essentially nothing? The standards adopted by the state board barely even mention the Bible. Now local school districts will have to expend precious and scarce resources to develop real curriculum standards that are academically and legally appropriate — something the state board decided was just too hard to do itself.

Then Mercer repeats the falsehood that no public school district has ever been successfully sued for… Read More

The uber-far-right Westboro Baptist Church led by Fred Phelps never ceases to amaze:

Canadian border guards are under orders to prevent members of a fundamentalist American church from crossing into Canada to protest at the Saturday funeral for a Winnipeg man brutally killed on a Greyhound bus last week.

Westboro Baptist Church, a controversial Kansas-based sect, intends to picket the funeral of 22-year-old Tim McLean to tell Canadians his slaying on July 30 was God’s response to Canadian policies enabling abortion, homosexuality and adultery.… Read More

by TFN

TIME has posted reflections on faith written by the two presumptive presidential candidates, Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain.

McCain:

[O]n Christmas Day, I was standing in the dirt courtyard when I saw that same guard approach me. He walked up and stood silently next to me, not looking or smiling at me. Then he used his sandaled foot to draw a cross in the dirt. We stood wordlessly looking at the cross, remembering the true light of Christmas, even in the darkness of a Vietnamese prison camp.

Obama:

My values speak to the 47 million Americans suffering without health care, the care of soldiers and civilians in Iraq and veterans back home, the expanse of God’s creation that is warming day by day, the single mothers struggling to provide for their families and the fathers who are too often absent from the scene. I don’t believe we should ignore the debate over traditional “values issues” at the expense of these other moral challenges. But we can’t just talk about “family values.” We actually have to stand up for policies that value families.… Read More

Last year, the Texas House voted overwhelmingly to bar public funding for any private school voucher scheme. Apparently, Texas Education Agency Commissioner Robert Scott didn’t get the memo.

Recently, TEA adopted a dropout prevention plan that would allow the agency “to fund nonprofit groups as an alternative [to public schools] to educate dropouts.”

Since Commissioner Scott missed, forgot or ignored the Legislature’s will, the Texas State Teachers Association is working to remind him via a court order.

“They couldn’t push vouchers through the Legislature in an aboveboard way,” said TSTA President Rita Haecker. “So they went through the back door to divert public dollars to private school programs, even though lawmakers warned them not to do so.”

It’s really no surprise that Scott is pushing vouchers — his former boss, Governor Rick Perry, has received a boatload of money from voucher sugardaddy James Leininger.… Read More

This video — of Focus on the Family‘s Stuart Shepard imploring the group’s followers to pray for a downpour of rain during Sen. Barack Obama’s outdoor acceptance of the Democratic presidential nomination at the party’s convention in Denver later this month — has really taken off since we ran it in today’s TFN Daily News Clips. From the blogs to the cable news!

Not saying we started it or anything.… Read More

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