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Faith-Based Initiative Reaps Bitter Fruit In Texas FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 10, 2002

Washington, DC As the Bush administration moves forward with a sweeping overhaul of faith-based social service programs, new evidence from his similar initiatives as Texas Governor shows disturbing consequences, according to a report issued today by Texas Freedom Network Education Fund.

When Governor of Texas, George W. Bush launched an aggressive campaign to deregulate faith-based providers and increase the financial resources made available to faith-based programs. Critics say the state’s five-year record with the Bush Faith-Based Initiative has been devastating.

Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, said, “What’s been a disaster in Texas can only be a disaster for the nation. The Texas record is as devastating as it is illuminating, and that’s why the Bush administration is sweeping it under the rug.” As national policymakers debate the Faith-Based Initiative, folks from Texas say they already know and the nation should be wary.

“Five years into the Faith-Based Initiative, the Texas program is unregulated, prone to favoritism and co-mingling of funds, and has proven to jeopardize the well-being of the very people it is supposed to serve.” Smoot added.… Read More

Mainstream Texans Outraged At Textbook Censorship And Book Banning; Citizens Testify To Counter Religious Right FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 23, 2002

Austin, TX Mainstream Texans came to Austin to testify today, saying publishers and the State Board of Education must hear from more diverse perspectives than they have in the past.

Many witnesses criticized efforts by Religious Right groups that urge textbooks to teach more about Christianity and traditional gender roles, and to cut “unpatriotic” content about slavery and discrimination.

“Most Texans are incensed by efforts to push the personal religious and political beliefs of a select few into schoolbooks used by all Texas children,” said Ashley McIlvain, Political Director of the Texas Freedom Network, a watchdog group that monitors public education issues.

Publishers and the Board heard from a number of people today asking them not to succumb to pressure from Religious Right groups like Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy and Texas Public Policy Foundation.… Read More

Mainstream Texans Form First-Ever Campaign Against Textbook Censorship; Parents Tell Censors, Publishers “I Object!” July 9, 2002

Austin, TX Hailing it as the first-ever campaign against textbook censorship, parents, teachers and community leaders gathered in Austin today to kick off their statewide “I Object!” to Textbook Censorship campaign.

Texas textbook reviews have garnered national attention over the years for generating firestorms of controversy and accusations that far-right groups censor textbooks to advance their own religious and political beliefs.

Now, a group of Texans says that’s going to change with a campaign to increase grassroots involvement and bring more diverse perspectives in to the textbook review process.

“For too many years now, a small but vocal group of people has controlled the textbook adoption process in Texas,” said Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network, which watchdogs the Religious Right and organized the grassroots campaign.

“We’re here today because mainstream Texans have had enough. Today, we’re launching a campaign that will let thousands of fair-minded parents, community activists and religious leaders say, ‘I Object!’ to textbook censorship,” said Smoot.… Read More

Controversial Religious Right Group, Free Pac, Has Cozy Relationship With Candidates Across State FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 8, 2002Republican office holders and candidates across Texas have denounced the extremist Religious Right group, Free Enterprise PAC, for its mailers targeting moderate Republicans with primary opponents backed by the Religious Right. Governor Rick Perry called the mailings “divisive and unacceptable.” Lt. Governor Ratliff denounced FreePAC and the group’s financial supporters.

However, FreePAC’s contributions directly to 18 legislative candidates across the state have gone relatively unnoticed.

Campaign finance reports on file at the Texas Ethics Commission reveal that 18 House and Senate candidates have received campaign contributions from FreePAC in 2001-2002. These candidates include: (FreePAC’s conservative candidate rating in parentheses for candidates with Republican Primary opponents)… Read More

White House Sends Top Gun To Defend Faith-Based Initiative In Dallas FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 23, 2002

The White House is sending a top official to Dallas tomorrow to defend the Bush administration’s faith-based initiative, also known as “charitable choice.” The White House has been on the defensive since the release of damaging research documenting Texas’ five-year record with “charitable choice.”

Stanley Carlton-Thies, Associate Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, will present the administration’s legislative and regulatory plans to advance the faith-based initiative. The forum is sponsored by the Greater Dallas Community of Churches and will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, January 25, 2002 at First Presbyterian Church, 408 Park Avenue in Dallas, Texas.

Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network a watchdog group that monitors the Religious Right will present research on Texas’ track record with the faith-based initiatives that were set in motion by then-Governor George Bush.… Read More