Listen to the McLeroy Debate

Far-right pressure groups are still screaming about “religious discrimination” as the culprit in the Texas Senate’s failure last week to confirm Don McLeroy, R-College Station, as chairman of the State Board of Education. Today, for example, Free Market Foundation Focus on the Family-Texas is again making that absurd charge:

We are outraged that SBOE Chairman, Don McLeroy, was blocked from confirmation by 11 Democrat Senators. Despite our best efforts to the contrary, the Senate discussion focused on his Christian beliefs and the opinion of the N.Y. Times. Outrageous.

As we have already pointed out, these reckless attempts to manipulate people of faith are cynical and deeply dishonest. (Some might say un-Christian as well.)

A number of senators spoke eloquently against McLeroy’s confirmation, including Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio; Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso; and Rodney Ellis, D-Houston. You can watch the full Senate video of the debate here. Click on the archive for May 28. Debate on McLeroy’s confirmation begins shortly after the 1:12 mark.

One of the most eloquent speeches came from Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin. If you don’t have time to watch the full debate, we have an audio file of Sen. Watson’s appeal to his colleagues to put the education of Texas schoolchildren above partisan politics and personal agendas. Click here to listen.

Please take the time to thank Sen. Watson and his colleagues who voted against McLeroy’s confirmation. They stood against continuing efforts to politicize our kids’ education and drag our public schools into the seemingly endless “culture wars.” They put the interests of Texas schoolchildren and their families first. Senators who voted against confirmation were Davis, Ellis, Gallegos, Hinojosa, Shapleigh, Uresti, Van de Putte, Watson, West, Whitmire and Zaffirini. You can find contact information for senators here.

17 thoughts on “Listen to the McLeroy Debate

  1. I haven’t listened to the recording of the entire debate, but I did listen to your clip of Sen. Kirk Watson’s remarks. Wow! It’s rare that we are honored with such eloquence and statesmanship in Texas government. Rather than another volley in the culture wars, Sen. Watson’s speech elevated the debate to put the focus squarely where it belongs: on the education of Texas’ children. It’s about time!

  2. I listened to it, and I found the scientific ignorance of some of the Senators to be disturbing and surprising.

    I also thought it was funny when one of the Senators (sorry, forgot who) lauded McLeroy’s science qualifications BECAUSE HE IS A DENTIST. Ugh.

  3. Beth, it was Sen. Ogden. He sounded like an ignoramous. He was embarrassing to listen to and I was embarrassed for him.

  4. It is hard to fathom the outright propaganda and lies coming from the Free Market Foundation. Have these far-right fundamentalists no shame, no integrity whatsoever? Do their Christian beliefs compel them to lie so blatantly?

  5. If the entire faith is infused with fabrications why would you think that the followers would be any different. If you read any histories of the 1st 4 centuries and especially regarding Constantines bloody consilidation of Christianity after his conversion you would see the hypocritical imprint of man all over this religion. For those of you wanting to read a very interesting book. Check out “Saving Paradise”. It explores the phenomonen of fact that there are absolutely NO paintings of Christ dying or of a crucifixion of Christ for the first 3-4oo years of Christianity. It was only after the Religion “evolved” and was consolidated that theology focusing on salvation thru Christ’s Death was formuated and formalized into the mainstream Christian Religion. Kind of hard to attribute divine menaing to the crucifixion when it wasn’t even looked at as important enough to paint a single picute of by their own believers for hundreds of years after Christs Death. Very thought provoking stuff in my opinion.

  6. Why can’t we criticize their religious ideas when it comes to science? Why is dialogue about the falsities of religion, in terms of the facts concerning the way the world really operates, sheltered from dissention, debate and outright interrogation? This stalemate of discourse that occurs only in matters of faith or religion is holding us back from our progress. No other realm of our lives gets the free, unscrutinized and unchecked respect as faith does. We should be able to say, “That individual believes that the earth is less than 10,000 years old and also that dinosaurs lived at the same time as people- he should not be qualified to make big decisions about the way our science classes are taught- he’s not intellectually qualified.” We have the right to say this and we are not discriminating against something that is out of his control like race, gender or sexual orientation. Religions are based on ideas, created by human brains long ago, which have evolved into the massive enterprises that we see today. We have the right to discriminate against his ideas and if we can’t do that, then we don’t have a first amendment right to free speech. McLeroy, as well as anyone who thinks that the earth is so young and that it’s inhabitants were all put here by some unknowable celestial entity as they now appear, does not deserve to be in control of science curriculum.

  7. It’s quite possible there were no paintings of the cricfixion during the early centuries because a painting might have been deemed as proscribed as were idols. Also, there is no way of knowing what, if any, believers had the skills or resources to create a painting. Until there was an organized church, where would such a painting be hung? Thought provoking? Jesus spoke Aramaic, not Hebrew. The texts describing his life and other events were recorded in Hebrew. All this was translated to Greek, and later to Latin from the Greek. Centuries later, the Latin was translated to other languages including English. Our English language Bibles are updated 1-2 times per century to allow for changes in language. Anybody with experience in multilingual communication and usage wil appreciate the futility of attempting to make translations with 100% accuracy, allowing for nuances et cetera. This should be thought provoking.

  8. The happenings during the last year and a half with the TSOBE represents emarrassment to the classical Republican party of Texas. The invading religious right (RR) Fundamentalists present nothing but frustration to anyone committed to progress in education be it evolution or sex education or even the teaching of reading skills. The RR has set themselves up as their own authorities denying panels of competent expeerts and produced their own brand of reactionary science based on “Gods Word” as interpreted by the RR. The findings of science over the past hundreds of years are blatantly disregarded in favor of the writings of largely unknown and barely educated authors of scatterd allegorical documents which were put together over a 1000 years later as the bible. It really takes some kind of retards to use these ancient thoughts as a guide for modern science education. When the antics of this board and its factually challenged president were highlighted across the nation why did the legislature fail to act appropriately? The confirmation of Mcleroy failed not because of Republicans doing the right thing, but because of the 2/3rds majority required. They voted as partisans even with the background issues staring them in the face. We know the govenor has not gotten far beyond his cheer leading days in college. He put htis turkey in and stood by him to the end. But the entire board caved in on important issues and the legislature session was largely a waste. Important bills never got out of committee. The education committee passed Mcleroy unanimously; the bills to limit the powers of this board were ignored; the classical Republicans on the board were overwhelmed by negative messages and even threats by the RR( they were not being loyal repubs) when they didnt vote to support the Mcleroy et al garbage. Make no mistake, the TGOP has been taken over by the RR. As a long time Republican I’m prersonally incensed by whats happened when the GOP adopted their theme song…”Give me that old time religion, its good enough for me.” I’m only hoping that Kay Bailey can do something about this dilemma.

  9. Yes Doc, but is Kay Bailey a classical Republican. We folks who live outside of Texas would not know that. I have seen interviews with her on CNN and so forth. In those interviews, I could not tell the difference between her, Tom DeLay, or Jerry Falwell. I long for Classical Republicans like you and Howard Baker, Jr. just so I can feel that my family and I are safe from these fruitcakes who have taken over your party. The fruitcake fringe fears that some amorphous blob called “liberals” is going to take control of their lives (which is just plain stupid), so they have to buy more guns to fight the upcoming Civil War. I do not want to take away their guns. I have level-headed friends who collect guns. I do happen to think that a loaded 50 caliber machine gun in the living room is not a particularly good idea, especially if toddlers are around.

    On the other hand, I am afraid of these people because it seems to me that they have lost their minds. They are behaving like the people in a famous Twilight Zone episode:

  10. Charles, If youre looking for the perfect candidate, forget it. He/she couldnot get elected from this fragmented party, which underscores the frailities of party dependence. I have far more confidence in decisions made by KBH than by any other potential candidate. ..anything to get rid of Perry so long as its not one that is sympithetic with the RR(the root of our troubles.

  11. This question is off topic but I wanted to ask you guys if you have tried to post on the FMF website. I’ve tried going after J Saenz ideas but he keeps deleting me.

  12. jdg.

    I have posted to their blog one time. They were asking people to right to their congressman to request that the FCC not renew the old “equal time” rule. I wrote a contrary response, and they did not delete it. The best way to disagree and have it stay up is to pretend that you are 12 year old kid who can write better than most adults and frame the language like a letter to your grandmother and make sure all four sides of the message are equipped with airbags. I’m serious.

  13. Charles,
    I’ve gotten some stuff posted over there. I told him he was delusional.

  14. Of course he’s delusional. What else do you expect from people who would let sick people sit in one place and rot because God supposedly does not “authorize” anyone to help them get well except a religious charity. To help them get well with tax money would be “covetous” according to their new party line. Sounds like a one-way goat ticket to the left handed peanut gallery to me.