Texas isn’t the only state witnessing a campaign to baptize (and rewrite) early American history. A group in Florida calling themselves No Separation has begun purchasing billboard space to spread their message that:

Our Founding Fathers knew that America’s government was made only for people who are moral and religious. It’s not suited for governing anyone else.

The billboards feature quotes from early American leaders that, taken out of context, would seem to denounce the separation of church and state. Only it turns out that this propaganda isn’t just misleading; it’s outright false! One of the quotes attributed to George Washington is completely fabricated. According to the billboard, Washington proclaimed,

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

But Washington, of course, never said that. So the billboard sponsors acted quickly to correct their error. Well…not exactly. When confronted with this lie, a spokesperson for the group articulated a rather flexible view of historical accuracy:

“I don’t believe there’s a document in Washington’s handwriting that has those words in that specific form. However, if you look at Washington’s quotes, including his farewell address, about the place of religion in the political… Read More

The Internal Revenue Service has ruled against a complaint filed by the Texas Freedom Network asking whether a tax-exempt, nonprofit foundation improperly sought to mobilize conservative pastors for partisan electoral purposes beginning in 2005. In January 2008 we asked the IRS to investigate whether the Houston-based Niemoller Foundation improperly engaged in partisan political activity on behalf of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's re-election in 2006. You can read our press release at the time here and supporting documents here. The focus of the complaint was Niemoller's funding of six "Pastors' Policy Briefings"in 2005 (and a seventh to celebrate the governor's inauguration in January 2007) hosted by an entity called the Texas Restoration Project. (You can read about the Texas Restoration Project in a TFN Education Fund report here, pages 13-16. ) We also asked whether Niemoller had improperly helped distribute political propaganda in support of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a measure Texas voters approved in 2005. Read More

A Republican Congress instituted the first federally funded private school voucher program, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, in the District of Columbia in 2004. The program was a political victory for far-right groups and individuals such as voucher sugardaddy James Leininger of Texas. But it looked likely to fade out of existence due to the efforts of the current Democratic-controlled Congress.

Yet U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings is doing her darndest to keep it alive.

See Secretary Spellings’ column appearing in yesterday’s Washington Post:

Signed into law by President Bush four years ago, the program is the first to provide federally funded education vouchers to students. It awards up to $7,500 per child for tuition, transportation and fees; in 2007-08 it enabled 1,900 students from the underperforming Washington public school system — the highest total yet — to attend the private or religious schools of their choice.

Now, let’s look at what Spellings has to say in favor of the program.

First she says that parents like the voucher program, but that’s a non-starter. There are also families who are like their neighborhood public schools. The issue is whether it is wise public policy to divert to… Read More

Can you believe it’s been 13 years since Cecile Richards, Ann Richards‘ daughter, started the Texas Freedom Network?

Neither can we.

But it’s true!

For 13 years we’ve been fighting — with your invaluable help — to strengthen our public schools, ensure respect for all faiths and keep the government from infringing on religion and vice versa.

To celebrate, we invite you to our 13th Annual Celebration in Austin — a celebration of freedom and public service.

Get your tickets today. It’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make this year.

Can’t wait to see you there!… Read More