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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Worried about the spread of swine flu? Wendy Wright from the far-right group Concerned Women for America thinks the alarm is all just part of a conspiracy by the Obama administration. Wright charges that the administration declared a “state of emergency” not to make it easier for the government to respond to outbreaks of swine flu in this country. No, she says, the real reason is to promote the nomination of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Some people think that declaring a state of emergency about the flu was a political thing to push the Sebelius nomination through. If there’s even a hint that [Department of Homeland Security] is manipulating the health situation to push a political appointee through, well, it almost defies imagination that they’d be willing to that.

If Wright wants to hear something that “defies imagination,” perhaps she should listen to her own whacked-out drivel. Far-right groups like CWA have been mounting a huge attack opposing the Senate confirmation of Sebelius, whose pro-choice views have made her the right’s newest devil. But the Obama administration is using concerns about swine flu… Read More

Is Gov. Rick Perry abandoning Don McLeroy? The Houston Chronicle’s R.G. Ratcliffe asked the governor today whether he’s worried that the Senate would reject his reappointment of the controversial Bryan dentist as chairman of the Texas State Board of Education. The governor hardly offered a ringing endorsement of the man he first appointed to the post in July 2007:

“I’ll leave that up to the Senate. They have lots of people go through. The Senate will work that out.”

Ratcliffe then asked if the governor has been contacting senators and urging them to confirm McLeroy’s nomination. Gov. Perry’s answer seems to indicate that he’s not:

“I have 1,500 different appointees a year. We appoint them. They go through the process. That’s the way it’s always worked.”

You can see Ratcliffe’s post, along with video of his interview with Gov. Perry, here.

It looks like the chances that McLeroy will win Senate confirmation are beginning to crumble. Well, if so, then what? The question will be whether the governor appoints a new chairman who puts the education of Texas children ahead of personal agendas and divisive politics.… Read More

It is obvious now that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is basing his hopes for re-election next year mostly on winning over the far-right wing of the Republican Party. (That's the same wing that wrote the 2008 state party platform. You can read that classic example of extremism here.)  If Gov. Perry can win the GOP nomination, he figures he'll win the general election fairly easily in a Republican-leaning state. So with an expected challenge for his party's nomination from U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, the governor has raced to the extremist fringes. In addition to sharpening his attacks on reproductive rights for women, Gov. Perry has rejected federal aid for the unemployed, revived the racially poisoned "states rights" rhetoric of the segregationist right from the 1950s, and even suggested that Texas could and might one day secede. And this week he's once again pow-wowing with fundamenalist pastors at a closed-door confab in Austin. Read More

The Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research Graduate School has filed its long-threatened lawsuit against Texas' commissioner of higher education, Raymund Paredes, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Last year the coordinating board rejected the ICR's application to offer master's of science education degrees in Texas. The board said the ICR -- which argues that the concept of biblical creation is backed by science while evolution is not -- failed to meet required academic standards. (Well, yeah.) According to the complaint (available here), the ICR is charging that the coordinating board Dr. Paredes are working to perpetrate viewpoint discrimination and censorship, inter alia, in violation of the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th Amendment (and in violation of other laws), especially as the 14th Amendment is recognized as applying to the constitutional rights of free speech (including academic speech and religious speech), freedom of the press (including freedom from "prior restraint" censorship of academic speech associated with freedom of the press), freedom from viewpoint discrimination (as well as content discrimination), free exercise of religion, freedom of association, freedom from hositility toward religious viewpoints), freedom from arbitrary and…… Read More

Texas Gov. Rick Perry really seems comfortable around some rather apocalyptic types these days. Case in point: FOX News commentator Glenn Beck. Beck has sounded almost unhinged lately. Earlier this month, he shrieked that America is headed toward fascism. He even claims a symbol on the Mercury Dime -- introduced into the U.S. currency in 1916 -- is proof that our march toward fascism stretches back to the early 20th century. Beck is also an admirer of James Dobson, who founded the religious-right group Focus on the Family. Beck brought Dobson on to his show a while back to talk about prayer in schools, declaring that some people "want to remove God from America entirely." Across the bottom of the screen was a caption reading, "Progressives want to remove God from America." (That surely must come as a shock to the tens of millions of people of faith in America whose political views are, in fact, progressive.)…… Read More