Rafael Cruz, the fringe religious-righter and father of Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, is claiming (inaccurately, of course) that our nation’s public education system was founded by “a member of the American Communist Party.” Here’s an excerpt from a report by our friends at Right Wing Watch:

The elder Cruz alleged in an interview on the Sirius XM program “Breitbart News Daily” this morning that public schools are brainwashing children into communism as a result of the work of education reformer John Dewey.

While he did correctly identify Dewey as a secular humanist, Cruz alleged that “John Dewey was a member of the American Communist Party,” when, in fact, Dewey was “an avowed anti-Communist” who even believed that “known Communists should not be permitted to teach children.” He co-founded the anti-Communist Committee for Cultural Freedom and was widely denounced by supporters of the Communist Party.

Cruz said that Dewey’s influence in the school system instilled anti-American values in children and, as a result, created “chaos in society.” This prompted Cruz to discuss Common Core, which he claimed “is about redefining education, redefining history and attempting to brainwash kids with a secularist view of history… Read More

by Dan Quinn

Education continues to be a major battleground in the religious right’s culture wars. If they’re not trying to destroy public education, religious righters are trying to use it instead to indoctrinate students in right-wing ideology. Here’s some of what we heard from the right on this issue in 2015. (Click here for previous posts on what we heard from the right in 2015.)

“We have a monstrosity, a monopoly. It’s called public school.”

– Texas state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, explaining her support for voucher legislation that would shift public funding to private and religious schools.

“(W)e are experimenting at great cost to taxpayers with a program that removes our young children from homes and half-day religious preschools and mothers’ day out programs to a Godless environment…”

– In a letter from Tea Party activists on Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s special “Grassroots Advisory Board,” arguing that proposed legislation for pre-K classes would lead Texas kids to Godless socialism.

“Could the IB program in an American public school classroom be at the heart of America’s continuing move to the left?

– MerryLynn Gerstenschlager of Texas Eagle Forum, worrying that the widely respected International BaccalaureateRead More

Religious-righters are twisting and redefining “religious liberty” so much that the term itself is in danger of becoming almost meaningless. Fortunately, a growing number of mainstream religious leaders from around the state are calling out the nonsense. The latest battleground: public subsidies (such as vouchers) for religious schools.

The rabidly anti-gay, religious-right group Houston Area Pastor Council, which also goes by the name Texas Pastor Council and U.S. Pastor Council, is leading the effort to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). The group, led by one of Houston’s most vicious anti-gay activists, Dave Welch, claims that barring discrimination against people because of who they are or whom they love violates the religious freedom of people to, well, discriminate.

Then last week Welch’s group filed a brief with the Texas Supreme Court arguing that the failure of the state to provide taxpayer funding to faith-based schools is also a violation of religious freedom. The brief is for a major court long-running case on whether the way Texas funds its public schools violates the state Constitution. The Pastor Council argues, in part:

The total and complete exclusion of religious providers from the public education system severely implicates religious liberty, whereas their inclusion clearly does not violate religious liberty or the Establishment Clause per… Read More

For another indication of just how much the paranoid, right-wing political fringe has become embedded in Texas government, check out what Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s “Grassroots Advisory Board” is up to. Today the panel of Tea Party activists released a letter criticizing Gov. Greg Abbott’s plans to expand pre-K programs in the state. Those programs, the advisory board insists, will undermine parental rights and put children into “a Godless environment” that promotes socialism.

Yeah, that’s right. Tea Party activists who advise the Republican lieutenant governor are accusing the Republican governor of trying to lead Texas kids into Godless socialism. This is whack-a-loon territory.

The governor’s plan, outlined in House Bill 4 and Senate Bill 801, call for more funding and better quality standards for pre-K programs that school districts choose to offer. Lt. Gov. Patrick’s Tea Party advisors see the bills as a step toward universal pre-K education for all Texas kids. (TFN takes no position on these bills. Pre-K isn’t one of the issues that we focus on. But we do monitor what the right-wing fringe is up to, and they really don’t like pre-K.)

You can read the full letter from the lieutenant governor’s advisory committee here. Some choice excerpts:

“(W)e are experimenting at great… Read More

Call your senator TODAY in opposition to this reckless raid on funding for neighborhood public schools. Click here to find the name and phone number for your senator.

Big moves behind the scenes tell us the Senate could take up a massive private school voucher bill this week. It’s critical that you call your senator TODAY and express your strong opposition to Senate Bill 4.

SB 4 gives tax breaks to wealthy interests that fund voucher “scholarships” at private and religious schools. An independent analysis has shown that the bill’s backers are dramatically underestimating the cost of this tax-credit scam — to the tune of billions of dollars in coming years.

Meanwhile, our neighborhood schools are still struggling with billions of dollars in state funding cuts the Legislature passed in 2011.

Please click here to find the name and phone number for your senator. When you call, tell them:… Read More

Texas Freedom Network

Senate Democrats, we need you to continue to vote NO on Greg Abbott’s @TXsecofstate nominee @gdwhitley! #PurgeWhitley #VoterSuppression #txlege bit.ly/2GOia31