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 have attempted to impose their views on others on 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.

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Advocates at State Affairs Hearing Push Back Against Arguments That Anti-Discrimination Laws Threaten Religious Liberty

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AUSTIN – Religious and civil liberties groups today warned Texas senators that religious freedom has never meant the right to use faith as a weapon to discriminate against others or to ignore laws that everyone else must obey.

Representatives from the various groups spoke at a press conference before a Texas Senate State Affairs Committee hearing on religious freedom today. They countered arguments that individuals and businesses should be able to use their religious beliefs to opt out of or simply refuse to obey anti-discrimination measures and other laws that protect everyone. And they pointed to real threats to religious freedom that should command the committee’s attention.

Kathy Miller, president, Texas Freedom Network “Religious freedom is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans. But it’s deeply dishonest when politicians radically redefine that freedom so that individuals and businesses can use religion to discriminate or impose their personal religious beliefs on others. In America we all have the right to equal treatment under the law, regardless of who we are or what we believe.”

Rebecca L. Robertson, legal and policy director,… Read More

So Is Ted Cruz Running for President or Priest?

Here is Heidi Cruz on Wednesday, putting husband Ted Cruz’s race for president in, well, godly terms:

“When I thought about doing it for our country, it became very clear to me that our family must be in this race. We are at a cultural crossroads in our country, and if we can be in this race to show this country the face of the God that we serve—this Christian God that we serve is the foundation of our country. Our country was built on Judeo-Christian values. We are a nation of freedom of religion, but the God of Christianity is the God of freedom, of individual liberty, of choice and of consequence.”

So her family is selflessly showing the country “the face of God”? They think highly of themselves, don’t they?

It also seems clear that both Cruzes suffer from a fundamental misunderstanding of what religious liberty really means. Their conception is strikingly different from how the nation’s founders saw that freedom.

The audio clip of Heidi Cruz’s comments is available at rightwingwatch.org.… Read More

Robert Jeffress, the far-right Dallas pastor who thinks President Obama is paving the way for the Antichrist, is troubled that the president visited a Baltimore mosque this week to express his opposition to bigotry and discrimination targeting Muslim Americans. After Jeffress spoke on Fox News today, the network tweeted some of his comments, including:

.@robertjeffress: Pres. Obama is “operating in his favorite role… and that is defender-in-chief of Islam.” pic.twitter.com/lMCVluPIvb

— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 5, 2016

Pres. Obama is “operating in his favorite role… and that is defender-in-chief of Islam.”

Jeffress is so proud of his contempt for religious freedom, the president and Muslim Americans that he retweeted the Fox News post about his comments.… Read More

With the holidays upon us, religious righters and the politicians who pander to them are looking for any excuse to scream about a mythical “war on Christmas” and dream up new “threats” to religious freedom. The latest example comes to us from the city of Orange in Southeast Texas.

Orange city officials have decided to remove a Christmas nativity scene from city hall because an organization called Orange County Atheists wanted also to post a banner nearby. The atheists’ banner doesn’t attack Christmas or religion at all. It doesn’t even object to the nativity scene. The banner (below) simply extends good wishes to people who celebrate other holidays (including Christmas) this time of year:

But some folks in Orange are offended that a public building would (gasp) recognize the holidays of various faiths and traditions along with Christmas. Here’s what a city spokesperson said in announcing the rejection of the request to post the banner:

Based on this request, the City reviewed current case law. Supreme Court decisions have tried to address this question in an array of decisions, but there is not a clear case that gives affirmative direction to displaying the Nativity scene. This makes it difficult to… Read More

By Rabbi Neal Katz

As a rabbi, my faith is supremely important in my life. That’s why it’s painful for me to see religion used as a tool to harm or discriminate.

But it happens. And sadly here in Texas, some of our state leaders are even encouraging this misuse of religion.

Today, I’m happy to tell you about a new initiative TFN and the ACLU of Texas are launching to identify and address these issues. We have created a website to collect the stories of religious discrimination in our state to better understand the scope of this problem. All information on the website will remain private. If a government official or private business in Texas has used religion to discriminate against you or someone you know, we want to hear your story.

Nobody should ever be turned away from a business or government office, refused service or evicted from their home simply because they don’t share another person’s religious beliefs or because of who they are or whom they love. That discrimination distorts the real meaning of religious liberty.

If you agree, help us get the word out about this important initiative byRead More

Tx Freedom Network

The House State Affairs hearing today has been moved to room E2.028. #txlege

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