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)

Cruz Tries to Out-Trump Donald Trump

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, in full desperation, has apparently decided that the only way to catch Donald Trump in the Republican presidential primary race is to out-Trump Trump or to at least match him blow by extremist blow.

Early this morning, terrorists struck a train station and an airport terminal in Brussels, Belgium, killing dozens and injuring many others. Before long, the opportunistic Cruz had popped open a fresh pack of dog whistles and was marching in front of reporters with his own Trump-like plan on how to prevent terrorism here at home:

“We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.”

In other words, Cruz essentially wants to wall-off entire neighborhoods and tell law enforcement that anyone who is Muslim — or who is perceived as being Muslim — should be considered a suspect. Doing anything less, Cruz said, would be caving to “political correctness.”

Cruz has now become the other candidate not named Trump who will do or say anything (last Friday he called undocumented immigrants “hardened, vicious, violent criminals.”) to get elected, and he doesn’t mind attacking an entire faith to do it.

Last week, Cruz… Read More

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller is warning that this week’s appointment of a prominent political activist to a key position in the Attorney General’s Office threatens religious freedom in Texas. Read More

New Texas AG’s Office Appointee Rejects Church-State Separation

“I’ll hold up my hundred-dollar bill and say, ‘for the first student who can cite me the provision in the Constitution that guarantees the separation of church and state verbatim, I’ll give this hundred dollar bill. … It’s not there. … The protections of the First Amendment protect us from government, not to cause government to persecute us because of our religious beliefs.”

That’s Jeff Mateer, the newly appointed First Assistant Attorney General of Texas. Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Mateer’s appointment to the post on Wednesday. Mateer replaces Chip Roy, who has joined a super PAC supporting Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign.

It’s not surprising that Paxton, who won election with the support of religious-right groups and activists, would appoint a foot soldier in the culture wars who rejects the key constitutional principle of separation of church and state (and employs the persecution rhetoric common on the religious right now). Mateer had been serving as general counsel for First Liberty Institute, a Plano-based litigation group that advances the religious right’s agenda in the courts.

The lawyers at First Liberty Institute (formerly Free Market Foundation and then Liberty Institute), are the equivalent of political ambulance chasers. If you’re a social conservative who feels persecuted because,… Read More

Using Religion as a Weapon: The Truth Behind the Right’s Cynical Pro-Discrimination Campaign

It's been clear to observers over the last year that opponents of LGBT equality have cynically shifted their rhetoric from attacking same-sex marriage to promoting "religious liberty" as an excuse to discriminate. Now the website Five Thirty Eight details this shift. Read More

Today’s hearing of the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee was billed as an examination of how to protect religious liberty, but it was really about what we expected it would be: justifying discrimination against LGBT people. In fact, halfway through the hearing, it became clear that religious-right activists and committee members were especially interested in relitigating last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.

One after another, religious-righters and other conservative activists went before the committee to make a variety of argument that, boiled down, were essentially the following:

They have the to ignore laws that offend their religious beliefs. They have the right use their religious beliefs as an excuse to discriminate against LGBT people. The U.S. Supreme Court is a tyrannical institution that, particularly on the issue of marriage, has demonstrated no respect for God, country and Constitution.

If you’re interested, you can watch an archived video recording of the hearing here. The hearing went from 9 a.m. to nearly 12:30.

Shortly before the hearing, the Texas Freedom Network and the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas held a press briefing at the Texas Capitol to talk about real threats to religious liberty in… Read More

Join the TFN Email List

   Please leave this field empty

Follow TFN on Facebook

DONATE TO TFN

The Texas Freedom Network fights the powerful influence of the religious right, and every dollar makes a difference in our campaigns. Make your contribution today and join a grassroots network of more than 130,000 members and supporters. DONATE TODAY