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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Not everyone was in a festive mood for Evolution Weekend this year. While more than a thousand religious congregations from a wide variety of faith traditions gathered last weekend to celebrate a more positive relationship between religion and science, the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research (ICR) wanted no part of it. In fact, the ICR used the occasion to broadcast their belief that any Christian who accepts evolution is inviting "swift destruction," even implying that pastors who participated in Evolution Weekend are "false teachers...who privily shall bring in damnable heresies." (Apparently they continue to speak the "King's English" over at the ICR, naturally preferring the King James Bible.) Read the latest e-mail alert from our young earth creationist friends at the ICR after the jump. Read More

The contest for speaker of the Texas House of Representatives is exposing deep divisions in Republican ranks — and the religious right is doing all it can to widen those divisions. A collection of religious-right groups is sending out mass e-mails, calling on activists to contact their local lawmakers and demand that they support the re-election of Tom Craddick, R-Midland, to a fourth term as House speaker. Some of the e-mails use almost identical language, suggesting coordination in support of Craddick.

Craddick has alienated Democrats and a number of Republicans with his autocratic rule of the House and by forcing controversial votes on hot-button issues like private school vouchers. The religious right has strongly supported Craddick’s speakership, seeing him as an important tool in the far-right’s ongoing and deeply divisive culture war on mainstream values like strong public schools, religious freedom and civil liberties in Texas.

Eleven House Republicans have moved to support state Rep. Joe Straus, a Republican from San Antonio, as speaker after the new legislative session begins on Jan. 13. To win, Straus will need the support of a large majority of Democratic votes as well.

According to Associated Press, the… Read More

Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, isn’t the only elected official who believes President-elect Barack Obama is a Marxist. A Republican congressman from Georgia, Paul Broun, apparently agrees that, by golly, he just might be a commie. He says a general proposal Sen. Obama made during the campaign to create a civilian force for protecting national security is just what the Soviet Union did.

“It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, he’s the one who proposed this national security force. I’m just trying to bring attention to the fact that we may — may not, I hope not — but we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism.”

He’s right, of course. He does sound crazy. But it gets worse. Congressman Broun apparently also worries that Sen. Obama is a Nazi. Really. He says Sen. Obama will ban gun ownership if he does create a civilian national security force during his administration.

“We can’t be lulled into complacency. You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I’m not comparing him to… Read More

A Roman Catholic bishop is telling a prominent far-right group to look elsewhere for congregations willing to break the law by promoting partisan politics from the pulpit during this year’s general election campaign. Talk to Action has more here.

The Texas Freedom Network has been a leading voice in exposing far-right efforts to drag our houses of worship into partisan politics through groups such as the Texas Restoration Project. A TFN Education Fund report in 2006 took a close look at the Texas Restoration Project’s ties to Texas Gov. Rick Perry and the Republican Party. The Restoration Project is still active, with plans for another so-called “Pastors’ Policy Briefing” (again featuring Gov. Perry) on Oct. 9-10 in Austin. These briefings bring hundreds of conservative pastors and their spouses (free of charge) to hear Gov. Perry and a string of pooh-bahs rail against separation of church and state, gay men and lesbians, reproductive rights for women and other favorite demons of the religious right.… Read More

The following article by Frederick Clarkson is crossposted with permission from Talk to Action. One of the major tactics in the political development of the Religious Right over the past few decades has been abuse of the IRS non-profit tax code which, simply put, proscribes electioneering by 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, including churches. Recently, the Alliance Defense Fund, the Scottsdale, AZ-based headquarters for the Religious Right's strategic legal ininitiatives, has encouraged mass law breaking by Religious Right-aligned churches in the run up to the 2008 elections. Not content to have one church do it as a test case challenge to the constitutionality of the law, they want to get maximum political impact along the way. The main event will be high profile political sermons on September 28th preached in as many churches as they can get. Read More

Texas Civil Rights Project

As we pass the deadline by which Gov. Abbott can sign bills into law, we're excited to release our video "How to defeat at bad bill," about our experience w/ @MOVE_texas taking down SB9 & stopping the attempts by the State to hurt voting rights in Texas! #txlege #VotingRights pic.twitter.com/ads0…