Some good news from a new survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press: just 5 percent of people who attend religious services at least once or twice a month say that their clergy or other religious groups have urged them to vote in a particular way.

That survey makes it clear that most religious leaders don’t want their houses of worship dragged into partisan political campaigns. But their resistance helps explain, perhaps, why David Barton and other religious-right leaders are working so hard to persuade pastors to politicize their pulpits and their congregations.… Read More

by TFN

Early voting is already in progress in Texas. This year’s elections, especially for the State Board of Education, could be critical in deciding whether millions of Texas schoolchildren get an education based on facts and sound scholarship or the personal agendas of politicians. The Texas Freedom Network Education Fund’s 2010 Vote Guide is available here.… Read More

David Barton, head of the Texas-based organization WallBuilders, argues that the Constitution doesn't protect separation of church and state. That constitutional principle is just a myth, Barton says. And now he's suggesting that pastors can promote partisan candidates in their churches. Quoted by OneNewNow, a website ("Your Latest News from a Christian perspective") operated by the far-right American Family Association, Barton says the Internal Revenue Service apparently has decided not to take action in the cases of pastors who have taken the deliberate step of endorsing partisan candidates from the pulpit. From the OneNewsNow article (which describes Barton as a "constitutional expert" even though his only college degree is in religious education): Current law prohibits pastors from speaking on politics or endorsing a political candidate, but David Barton of WallBuilders says the IRS's intimidation of removing a church's tax exemption status is unconstitutional. Even though some pastors have intentionally crossed the line, Barton does not think the IRS wants to take them to court because it may lose. "The IRS doesn't have any interest in doing this because if they do, I believe they know they are going to lose. And if they lose, you have 370,000 pastors in…… Read More

According to new campaign finance reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission, two Democratic candidates are ahead of their Republican opponents in the money race in two key Texas State Board of Education elections on Nov. 2. Candidates have filed reports for campaign donations and expenditures for the period from July 1 to September 23. The next filing deadline is eight days before the Nov. 2 election. The reports show that Democrat Rebecca Bell-Metereau of San Marcos raised nearly five times as much in campaign donations as the Republican incumbent, Ken Mercer of San Antonio, in the contest for the District 5 seat. Bell-Metereau reported raising a little more than $50,000 since July 1. Mercer reported raising just shy of $12,300. Bell-Metereau also had more money going into October, reporting $50,555 in cash on hand compared to Mercer's $11,967. Democrat Judy Jennings of Austin also out-raised her Republican opponent, Marsha Farney of Georgetown, in the race for District 10. Jennings reported $53,753 in cash on hand after $47,832 in donations. Farney reported $22,274 in cash on hand after raising nearly $20,700. But Farney dug deep into her own bank account in winning the Republican nomination last…… Read More

by TFN

The Texas Freedom Network Education Fund has assembled a nonpartisan voter guide to inform citizens about the positions of candidates on critical issues involving the State Board of Education. All information reported in the guide was provided directly by each candidate or campaign in response to a questionnaire. Read the voter guide here.Read More

Texas Freedom Network

We can't thank Sonja enough for her six years of service with TFN. Just Texas wouldn't be what it is today without her. While Sonja's absence will be deeply felt, we wish her the best of luck as she begins a new chapter with Whole Women's Health! twitter.com/wearejus…