The religious right strategically uses religion and religious language, combined with patriotic symbols, to push a political agenda that has little connection to the values of mainstream people of faith. It is, in short, a political rather than religious movement. The Texas Freedom Network has monitored the religious right in Texas since 1995.

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Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller issued the following statement on Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s announcement that his office will file a legal challenge to the Obama administration’s directive that public school districts protect transgender students from discrimination.

“It is shameful that Attorney General Paxton has decided to use the power of his office to join the lieutenant governor in bullying transgender students in our public schools. There have been more criminal charges filed against Paxton than there have been cases – zero, in fact – of transgender people using non-discrimination policies as an excuse to enter public restrooms to commit assaults, but that fact doesn’t seem to be stopping top state elected officials from stoking irrational fears about a problem that doesn’t exist and stigmatizing transgender children. The Obama administration’s directive simply asks school districts to acknowledge a student’s gender identity and shield them from discrimination.”

Far-right politicians and political activists have used bathroom access issues to target non-discrimination policies across the country that protect everyone, including LGBT individuals. Last year in Houston, the same fear-tactics were used to overturn the city’s Equal Rights Ordinance. And in North Carolina, the state legislature passed legislation to overturn a… Read More

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller released the following statement regarding tonight’s loss by Mary Lou Bruner in the runoff for the Republican nomination for State Board of Education District 9:

“Texas escaped an education train wreck tonight. If Bruner had ultimately won election to the board, she would have instantly become the most embarrassingly uninformed and divisive member on a board that already too often puts politics ahead of making sure our kids get a sound education. We commend the majority of East Texas voters for their wisdom in this particular race.”

The State Board of Education sets curriculum standards and adopts textbooks for the state’s more than 5 million public school students.

The victor in the GOP runoff was Keven Ellis, a chiropractor and president of the school board in the East Texas town of Lufkin. Bruner, a retired educator from Mineola, drew national attention to the race with outrageous statements made on her Facebook page, in public forums and in media interviews. Among them:… Read More

Dave Welch, the Houston hate-monger who runs the right-wing U.S./Texas/Houston Area Pastor Council, played a leading role last year in promoting the deeply misleading argument that the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance would give sexual predators access to women's restrooms. Of course, this bathroom predator argument, which we're now hearing around the country, is essentially a lie. But that hasn't stopped Welch and others who support discrimination against LGBT folks. They even seem to be trying to tie just about any assault or harassment in a public restroom to protections for transgender folks. Here, for example, is a screenshot from an email last Friday from Welch's group: Read More

Religious-right leader Robert Jeffress, pastor of a Dallas megachurch, told listeners of a Family Research Council radio program Monday that protecting transgender people from discrimination means America is "headed toward chaos" and represents "rebellion against the plan of God." Our friends at Right Wing Watch report how Jeffress insisted that anti-discrimination efforts are a threat to religious freedom, and he specifically blamed the Chamber of Commerce and business interests. In fact, he told guest host Todd Starnes, Islamic State terrorists are less of a threat: Read More

Buyer’s Remorse? Tea Party Group Pulls Bruner Endorsement

An influential East Texas Tea Party group has taken back its endorsement of Mary Lou Bruner, the controversial Republican vying for the District 9 seat on the Texas State Board of Education.

The group, Grassroots America-We the People, took issue with Bruner’s refusal to address the numerous inaccurate statements about public education she made at a gathering of school superintendents earlier this month. On the other hand, though, the group doesn’t seem to have much of a problem with Bruner’s many, many other inaccurate claims and her peddling of outlandish conspiracy theories, which Grassroots America surely knew about when they first endorsed her months ago.

In a press release issued Wednesday, Grassroots America executive director JoAnn Fleming announced that a majority of the group’s board of directors voted to pull the endorsement. It was the first time Grassroots America had taken such a step in the organization’s seven-year history, she said.

From the release:

One of the reasons we endorsed Mrs. Bruner was because of her long years of experience as a teacher. We believe the practical classroom experience of teachers is not respected or valued enough by many public school administrators, trustees, and legislators attempting to “fix”… Read More

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