Tuesday’s Republican Primary elections in Texas brought the defeat of one prominent member of the far-right faction on the State Board of Education — Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas. But two other Texas politicians prominent on the far right also appear to have been too extreme even for GOP voters.

One was state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, in District 6. “Birther” Berman questions, among other things, whether President Obama was born in the United States. During the 2011 legislative session, Berman proposed a bill that would require presidential candidates to present their American birth certificates to prove they are eligible to be on the presidential ballot in Texas. But Berman also argued that the birth certificate from Hawaii that President Obama has already made public is fraudulent. In 2010 Berman told the crowd at a Glenn Beck rally in Tyler that “I believe that Barack Obama is God’s punishment on us today.”

Berman also fears that Muslims are taking over. During the 2011 legislative session, Berman tried, and failed, four times to pass a law that he argued would protect Texans from the mythical threat of Islamic law. Apparently, the Constitution’s protections… Read More

Texas state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, clearly has a problem with scientists who -- go figure -- support science. Rep. Berman is calling on the University of Texas at Austin to fire a tenured biology professor who objects to including an anti-science creationist group on a list of state-approved charities that are supposed to be involved in delivering health and human services. The Austin American-Statesman has reported that biology professor David Hillis and other UT-Austin faculty members are trying to get the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) removed from the charity list. Employees can have donations to charitable organizations on the list deducted from their paychecks. According to the Statesman, state law requires that charities eligible for the list provide "direct or indirect health and human services." But that's not what ICR does. The Dallas-based nonprofit promotes biblical creationism and rejects mainstream science about evolution. Hillis told the Statesman: "The Institute for Creation Research is an anti-science organization. They work to undermine the mission of the university and of science in general, and especially the science that is the very basis for health and human services. How could such an organization possibly be listed as a charitable organization to be supported by state employees?" Rep. Berman on Thursday sent a statement to the Austin-based political news website Quorum Report (subscription required), charging that Prof. Hillis "fears debate on evolution vs. creationism" and that "Godly professors of science who are creationists fear retribution" from scientists like Hillis: Read More

by Jose Medina

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s refreshing to see a person in a high position of power stand up to the hysterics, even if some of those hysterics are the same people who voted for him.

“And I’m tired of dealing with the crazies.”

So are we. The above is how New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie recently reacted to criticism of Sohail Mohammed, an attorney Christie appointed to a state judgeship. Mohammed is a Muslim, so the far right immediately pounced with the math of hysteria: Muslim + Judgeship = OMG! Sharia Law!!

Credit Gov. Christie, as he was having none of that nonsense at a recent press conference:

“Sharia law has nothing to do with this at all. It’s crazy. It’s crazy. The guy’s an American citizen who has been an admitted lawyer to practice in the state of New Jersey, swearing an oath to uphold the laws of New Jersey, the constitution of the state of New Jersey, and the Constitution of the United States of America . . . This Sharia law business is crap. It’s just crazy. And I’m tired of dealing with the crazies.”

Here’s video of Christie’s comments… Read More

When the Texas Legislature finally ended the session on Wednesday, a little bit of sanity won out and a Texas-size rebuke was handed to far-right lawmaker state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler. Berman, perhaps the Legislature's top inciter of anti-Muslim hysteria, attempted during the regular and special legislative sessions to pass a measure banning Sharia law (which is already barred, along with other religious laws, by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution). He failed not once or twice, but four times. The law could not gain approval as a stand-alone bill, and each of the three times Rep. Berman succeeded in amending it on to other bills, reasonable heads prevailed and stripped it out of the legislation later. Read More

by Jose Medina

Well, I feel safer. Do you feel safer? We should all feel safer given the latest valiant effort by state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, to keep us all safe from the phantom menace of Sharia law and its impending attack on the Texas court system. Rep. Berman took to the Texas House floor Wednesday afternoon and successfully added his anti-Sharia law legislation as an amendment to a judiciary matters bill that was approved in the lower chamber and has been tossed to the Senate for its consideration. Read More

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