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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The Latest on Church & State

Religious-right activists and politicians like Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz have been scrambling over each other to proclaim their support for Kim Davis. But a new poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose the Kentucky clerk’s refusal, on religious grounds, to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Released this morning, the ABC News/Washington Post poll includes a couple of key questions on religion and  marriage. The verdict: most Americans say one’s individual religious beliefs aren’t more important than equality under the law for all.

In general, when there’s a conflict between (someone’s religious beliefs) and (the need to treat everyone equally under the law), which do you think is more important?

Religious beliefs: 19% Equal under the law: 74% No opinion: 6%

As you may know, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that gay and lesbian couples have the right to marry. Nonetheless a county clerk in Kentucky has refused to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, saying she objects on religious grounds. Do you think this county clerk should or should not be required to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples?

Required to issue: 63% Not required to issue: 33%… Read More

Did you know our nation is at war? No, not just the terrorism/Al Qaeda one. Americans — or Americans with the appropriate religious beliefs, at least — are also at war with the “pro-homosexual left” and the “enemies of religious freedom.” Or so says religious-right groups like Texas Values, the Austin-based state affiliate of Focus on the Family.

Check out the following excerpt from an email Texas Values sent to its supporters on Thursday (with the grammar and spelling errors as well as the overly dramatic bolded and italicized text in the original). Then ask yourself what message those supporters are supposed to take away from it:

America today is occupied territory. The enemies of religious freedom occupy every power center from government to academia. Everyone except its spiritual core. Thank God, that power isn’t centered in Washington. It flows from the faith and values of its people, from a thousand churches and faith-filled homes across Texas and beyond.

That makes our pastors the Leaders of the Resistancee.

How does an invading army break the will of an occupied people? First, it identifies its Resistance Leaders. Next, it isolates and demoralizes them, making them think they’re alone and powerless. Then it breaks them––before the people can… Read More

Religious-righters are twisting and redefining “religious liberty” so much that the term itself is in danger of becoming almost meaningless. Fortunately, a growing number of mainstream religious leaders from around the state are calling out the nonsense. The latest battleground: public subsidies (such as vouchers) for religious schools.

The rabidly anti-gay, religious-right group Houston Area Pastor Council, which also goes by the name Texas Pastor Council and U.S. Pastor Council, is leading the effort to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). The group, led by one of Houston’s most vicious anti-gay activists, Dave Welch, claims that barring discrimination against people because of who they are or whom they love violates the religious freedom of people to, well, discriminate.

Then last week Welch’s group filed a brief with the Texas Supreme Court arguing that the failure of the state to provide taxpayer funding to faith-based schools is also a violation of religious freedom. The brief is for a major court long-running case on whether the way Texas funds its public schools violates the state Constitution. The Pastor Council argues, in part:

The total and complete exclusion of religious providers from the public education system severely implicates religious liberty, whereas their inclusion clearly does not violate religious liberty or the Establishment Clause per… Read More

That’s a tweet today from the Texas Senate Republican Caucus. Apparently, nothing says “protecting your religious freedom” better than saying it while promoting the symbol of the majority religious faith. Courageous, yes?… Read More

Today the Texas Freedom Network and the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas are announcing a joint initiative — Texans Equal Under the Law — to oppose laws that allow people and organizations to use religion to discriminate. This announcement comes as the Texas House Committee on State Affairs considers yet another proposed bill that turns the principle of religious freedom on its head by allowing faith to be used a weapon to harm people. We just sent out the following press release about that bill and Texans Equal Under the Law:

A bill under consideration in the Texas House State Affairs Committee today would give religiously affiliated entities like hospitals and child welfare organizations authority to discriminate against almost any Texas family, two of the state’s leading religious liberties organizations warn.

“This is yet another example of an ill-conceived bill that pretends to protect religious freedom but in truth opens the doors to real harm,” said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network. “And it invites to Texas the same uproar and condemnation we’ve seen with similar bills in Indiana and other states.”

Supporters portray House Bill 3567 by state… Read More

Equality Texas

Any bill that carries the expectation that every Texan needs a birth certificate to use the restroom is an unenforceable bill. #TXLege

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