by Jose Medina

On Facebook Sunday afternoon, state Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, wrote that some time today she would publish a “response to the controversy that occurred” when she offered comments about Muslims in an earlier Facebook post. While we wait for her to do that, here’s Rep. White struggling to explain her comments in an interview with KWTX on Friday.

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Beware of politicians who propose legislation to protect religious freedom. It’s very important to read the fine print.

Freedom of religion is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans. That’s why it is protected in the Texas and federal constitutions and why in 1999 a bipartisan majority in the Texas Legislature passed and a Republican governor signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Texas act bars government from “substantially” burdening “a person’s free exercise of religion” unless a law or regulation “is in the furtherance of a compelling governmental interest” and “is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest.”

The law lays out guidelines for identifying how those exceptions apply and includes other carefully crafted language to help ensure that the law isn’t abused to, among other things, undermine civil rights protections or lead to unnecessary and expensive lawsuits that clog up the courts. And for 15 years this law has worked well to protect religious freedom for all Texans.

But that’s not good enough for two Texas legislators and the religious-right groups that support them.

State Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, and state Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, in this year’s legislative session have proposed separate amendments to the Texas Constitution that would sweep away the common-sense… Read More

Far-right state Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, is in the news again, this time for filing HB 829, a bill that would require Texas high schoolers to pass a civics test if they wish to graduate.

As he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Zedler is concerned that teens “don’t know where we got our independence from” and that he wants “kids to know as much as people who become citizens of the United States.” Perhaps valid concerns, though, as noted in the Star-Telegram, the test might not accomplish much.

But the best part of the story came at the end. When the Star-Telegram reporter asked Zedler if he’d taken a civics exam, this was his response:

“No, but I think I would do pretty well. I know the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. I know World War II was started Dec. 7, 1941. I know what the Civil War was fought over.”

Yeah, Poland would like a word with you about when World War II started. And we are just aching to find out what Rep. Zedler believes the Civil War was fought over. Would he say slavery or would he say states’… Read More

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Post by Kory Watkins.

This appalling and incredibly offensive video is from the office of Texas state Rep. Poncho Nevárez earlier today, the opening day of the 2015 legislative session in Austin. Issues involving the Second Amendment and gun safety laws aren’t in the Texas Freedom Network’s issue set. But we oppose right-wing fanaticism, including the petulant, childish tactics illustrated by the political activists in this video.

Armed activists manufactured a rifle just outside the Capitol grounds. They were supporting various bills, including one that would allow Texans to carry handguns openly in public.

When some of those activists swarmed into the office of Rep. Nevárez, the legislator explained that he doesn’t support the bill. As the video shows, the activists turn to insults in an attempt to provoke Nevárez. They repeatedly call Nevárez a “tyrant,” and then try to intimidate him and his staffers when asked to leave the office.

Just as appalling are the comments on the Facebook page of the person who posted the video. Commenters call Rep. Nevárez a “maggot,” “a slimy bitch,” “filth,” and “refuse.” One suggests that activists should put together an “open carry” demonstration outside his office — essentially calling on armed, fanatical activists to confront an elected official.… Read More

A Texas legislator who opposes same-sex marriage has a message for federal courts and gay people: “Screw you.”

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is set to consider on Friday a case that could overturn the ban on same-sex marriage in Texas. But state Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, wants Texas to ignore a ruling that the ban violates the U.S. Constitution. So he has filed House Bill 623, the so-called “Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act,” which would bar the use of any public funds to enforce a federal court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

It gets worse. The bill also would strip salary, pension and other employment benefits from any local or state official who respects a court decision by recognizing, granting or enforcing a marriage license for a same-sex couple. Moreover, it requires state courts to dismiss any legal action challenging the bill’s provisions and forces the plaintiff to pay all attorney and court costs. And for good measure, the bill declares that the state is not subject, because of the Eleventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to lawsuits over the provisions of the bill.

In other words: “We don’t care about no stinkin’ Constitution. We’ll treat people we don’t like… Read More