In case you missed it, last week The Daily Show ran a funny piece on the battle over the re-election of Joe Straus as speaker of the Texas House. The show poked fun at the “miracle” of electing a Jewish speaker in a famously Christian land like Texas. And predictably, they found plenty of religious discrimination and rank hypocrisy in Texas, only it was directed at another minority religious group — American Muslims.

When correspondent John Oliver went looking for a useful bigot, Dave Welch of the right-wing Houston Area Pastor Council proved himself more than happy to oblige. Oliver asked — tongue in cheek —  “Can we at least agree that we don’t want a Muslim speaker?” To which a smug Welch replied:

“I would say right now, yes, for a variety of reasons. Again, we have deep concerns about the loyalty of Muslims to the Constitution.”

Wait a minute.

Last time I checked, the Constitution pretty clearly states “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States” (Article VI, paragraph 3).

Somebody isn’t being loyal to the Constitution, alright. But it isn’t American… Read More

“I will be very candid in asking a question of the pastors of Houston – are we collectively more upset about moral perversion and sin flowing from our city hall through the radical agenda of Mayor Parker and her GLBTQIA allies as we are about being taxed? Are we more grieved about the late term pre-born babies now being murdered in greater numbers in our backyard as about our budgets?”

— An excerpt from an e-mail today from the Houston Area Pastor Council’s Dave Welch, who just can’t get over the choice of city voters to elect an openly lesbian mayor last year.… Read More

Dave Welch, the extremist who runs an outfit called the Houston Area Pastor Council, is now claiming that a federal judge who recently ruled against the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy against gay military servicemembers is a “domestic enemy” guilty of treason. From his screed at the right-wing, conspiracy-peddling website World Net Daily:

“U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips fired a judicial IED [improvised explosive device] directly into the effectiveness, readiness and moral of our military in a time of war makes this, in my non-legal opinion, an act of treason. . . . She has proven herself not only unfit for judgeship but is in fact a ‘domestic enemy’ of the very kind our military members take an oath to defend against.”

Portraying the ruling from Judge Phillips an example of “tyranny,” Welch claims her decision represents a “complete and utter rejection of the U.S. Constitution, the separation of powers and rule by the ‘consent of the governed.'” Of course, Judge Phillips sees the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy as a violation of servicemembers’ constitutional rights to due process, freedom of speech and the right to petition the government. Yet Welch says the judge should be impeached… Read More

You have to wonder how religious-right activists justify breaking the biblical commandment against lying so often. Dave Welch of the Houston Area Pastor Council seems to play fast and loose with the truth almost routinely. The latest example: Welch's group is disingenuously warning Houston voters that a streets and drainage measure on the city ballot in November is really a political attack on churches. The Texas Freedom Network takes no position on the measure -- it is outside our mission -- but we once again note Welch's efforts to manipulate people of faith with grossly misleading charges. Read More

One of the shrillest voices of religious bigotry in Texas, Dave Welch of a far-right group called Texas Pastors Council, is trumpeting yesterday’s approval of a State Board of Education resolution attacking Islam (a resolution suggesting that wealthy Muslims are investing in publishing companies so they can take over the minds of American schoolchildren). In a post on the conspiracy-peddling website WorldNetDaily, Welch repeats his insulting claim during the state board debate yesterday that he speaks for “real pastors.” And he specifically attacks clergy who are standing up to bigotry in Texas:

“Once again, my guns are aimed at the pathetic preachers, pitiful pastors and compromised clergy that TFN, AU, ACLU and their ilk trot out as props for their leftist agendas. They disgust me. Their list of ‘nearly 100 religious leaders from Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths’ who signed a letter opposing the resolution represents a tiny cadre of liberals who have all rejected the fundamentals of their own faiths. . . . It was my joy to testify at the hearing and represent the hundreds of ‘real’ pastors around this state we speak for as well as all those who share our values but… Read More