Religious Freedom

The Texas Freedom Network supports the constitutional guarantee of the separation of church and state, which protects the right of all Americans to practice the faith of their choice, or none at all, free of government interference.

Unfortunately, efforts to knock down that wall are a constant in Texas. Politicians and activists continually work to impose their views on others, especially around issues like abortion and access to contraception. And in a distortion of the principle of religious freedom, far-right groups have supported legislative efforts to allow individuals to use religion as an excuse to ignore laws they might not like and even as a weapon to discriminate against others.

Resources

Prayer in Public Schools: A Primer (2001 report)

The Texas Faith-Based Initiative (2002 report)NDOP_Report_2005_Revised

A Report on The National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (2005 report)

Reading, Writing & Religion: Teaching the Bible in Texas Public Schools (2006 report)

Reading, Writing & Religion II (2013 report)

Can This Class Be Saved? The ‘Hobby Lobby’ Public School Bible Curriculum (2014 report)

Admitted Muslim-hater Molly White, a Belton Republican, failed to win reelection to the Texas House last year, but it seems like the Legislature will have at least one other anti-Muslim fanatic to replace her: freshman state Rep. Kyle Biedermann, R-Fredericksburg. Read More

As continue our review of the outrageous and offensive things we heard from the right in 2016, let's look at the some of the year's rhetoric involving anti-Muslim hysteria and religious freedom. You can check out previous posts from the Year in Quotes here. Read More

by Rabbi Neal Katz

I am a rabbi in Tyler, Texas, and my three children proudly attend our local public schools. At the invitation of our local superintendent, I was recently honored to share a presentation on religious diversity with all of the principals in our school district. This invitation did not come out of nowhere. It was part of an ongoing dialogue between myself and local educational leaders about religious diversity.

I have been part of the religious landscape of Tyler for over 15 years. And as a passionate advocate of interfaith dialogue and local collaborations, I have become a sounding board for many private complaints about the struggles that non-Christian children face when attending public schools. The complaints are not just from the Jewish community. Indeed, parents from the Muslim, Hindu, atheist, Baha’i, Unitarian, and other communities share similar stories with me.

About a year ago, I began a series of meetings with select leaders in our local educational community to address the topic of respecting religious diversity. I began each of those meetings with a simple question. I asked, “Are you okay that when a non-Christian student comes to a public school campus – that the student sometimes feels that… Read More

Texas state Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, lost her re-election bid in the Republican primary on March 2, but she’s still reinforcing her reputation as one of the Legislature’s biggest Islamophobes. Wednesday night she posted on her official Facebook page a link to a video featuring Brigitte Gabriel, one of the most vicious anti-Muslim extremists in America today. In the video Gabriel supposedly “reveals how the Muslim Brotherhood plan for America.”

When a commenter points out that the video is hateful nonsense, White replies:

“Yes, I hate Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood and all terrorist organizations. I will fight for your freedom to be ignorant and hateful to your fellow Americans because I love America and everything she stands for even when her own turn against her.”

In further comments she defends her hatred of Islam and claims: “I know it, I have studied it, I have been briefed on it by experts.”

In Molly White’s twisted world, apparently, all of the world’s more than 1.6 billion Muslims are terrorists. And hating Muslims somehow demonstrates her “love” for America. Her love for America doesn’t seem to extend to America’s guarantee of religious freedom for… Read More

Ted Cruz: A True ‘Champion’ of ‘Religious Liberty’

Ted Cruz needs to just get it over with and start doing air quotes every time he utters the term "religious liberty." Or at least have a staffer stand next to him, ready to flash a cardboard sign with an asterisk every time he says it. Here was Cruz on "Good Morning America" on Monday: Read More

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