Or maybe the lawyers at Liberty Institute -- the Plano-based Texas affiliate of Focus on the Family -- think Christians are just remarkably gullible. During the revision of social studies standards this year, for example, the group portrayed Texas teachers on the curriculum teams as anti-Christmas zealots who want to erase the holiday from their classrooms. It didn't matter that the teachers, themselves Christians, made clear that they had no such intention at all. Liberty Institute apparently figured enough Christians would believe such an absurd lie that it would help fundraising. Now the group is outrageously charging that officials in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, are attacking God and a local Christian church. A Liberty Institute e-mail to activists Friday screams: "Don't let them kick God out of Gettysburg!" Noting that Gettysburg was the scene of a pivotal Civil War battle and of one of President Lincoln's most famous speeches, the e-mail absurdly claims that "the City of Gettysburg is trying to kick God out of Gettysburg by closing the only reconstructed Civil War chapel in America." "We don't know why the city of Gettysburg is discriminating against our client," the group whines in its shamelessly manipulative e-mail. (Yes, Liberty Institute is now…… Read More

Battle lines are forming in the newest "culture war" flash point in Texas: the state House of Representatives. In fact, religious-right pressure groups are working furiously to replace Republican Joe Straus of San Antonio with a hard-right Speaker of the House. Each day brings a new attack in the far right's "scorched earth" strategy, with pressure groups denouncing Speaker Straus and his GOP supporters as "liberals" and "RINOs," or "Republicans in name only." Dave Welch, head of the far-right Texas Pastor Council, suggests that Straus stands in the way of "moral law." In an e-mail Monday, Welch even called on clergy to contact House members in opposition to Straus. On Tuesday the president of the anti-everything Texas Eagle Forum, Pat Carlson, sent an e-mail to far-right activists attacking Straus: "We must not allow him to be elected speaker again."…… Read More

The message from Texans was loud and clear in the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund’s statewide survey last spring: 88 percent of likely voters said they support “requiring public schools to protect all children from bullying, harassment, and discrimination in school, including the children of gay and lesbian parents or teenagers who are gay.”

Far-right pressure groups like Focus on the Family, however, seem to believe promoting their anti-gay hate agenda is more important than protecting children — even after the recent suicides of three teenage boys (including one from the Houston area) who had been bullied severely and repeatedly by classmates. Two teens, one 13 and the other 15, hanged themselves. The Houston-area teen, 13, shot himself. But Focus on the Family says laws that seek to protect gay and lesbian students from bullying simply “promote homosexuality to kids.” Focus and other far-right pressure groups have also launched a full-scale media assault on the Safe Schools Improvement Act in Congress.

The Texas Legislature has refused to pass anti-bullying legislation in previous sessions. Last year, Focus on the Family’s Texas affiliate, Liberty Institute, dishonestly attacked an anti-bullying bill (

Read it before they're finally embarrassed enough to remove it from their blog. The right-wing group Liberty Institute today apparently decided that civility is beneath them. In a sneering and insulting Internet post, the group attacked faith leaders who today called on the State Board of Education to respect religious freedom and tolerance, referring to them as simply "a handful of 'Keep Austin Weird' pastors."…… Read More

A group of interfaith religious leaders from the Texas Faith Network, a project of the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, just held a press conference in Austin to condemn a proposed anti-Islam resolution that will be considered on Friday by the State Board of Education. Read more about the resolution here. Today's press release is below. We were proud to see this fantastic group of Christian, Jewish and Islamic clergy come together to reject the promotion of religious prejudice and hate in our public schools. Then right after the press conference, one of the religious right's lobbyists, Jonathan Saenz of Liberty Institute (the Texas affiliate of Focus on the Family) sounded angry and confused as he bashed those very faith leaders who had just spoken for religious freedom and against intolerance and bigotry. Speaking to reporters gathered around him, Saenz refused to denounce the misleading and inflammatory rhetoric in the proposed resolution. He even suggested that Texas students really are using anti-Christian, pro-Islamic textbooks. That's right: apparently Saenz wants Texans to believe that the state board's Republican majority and Democratic members are part of some great anti-Christian conspiracy in Texas. Does he…… Read More