Nearly every effort to extend equal and civil rights protections to gay and lesbian Americans is met with a familiar criticism from the religious right: "They'll want to get married next!" That's what we heard when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws. We've heard it about legislation ending employment discrimination against gay men and lesbians. Now we're told that ending the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy against openly gay servicemembers will open the door to gay marriage. Apparently, religious-right groups think throwing the spectre "gay marriage" into just about any debate is a winning strategy. Case in point:…… Read More

Wow. It didn't take long for far-right pressure groups to start smearing clergy members who want the Texas State Board of Education to stop trying to undermine religious freedom in social studies classrooms. Just minutes after the Texas Faith Network's Capitol press conference today, the far right's lies started flying across the Internet. Jonathan Saenz, a lawyer/lobbyist for Liberty Institute, the Texas affiliate of the far-right Focus on the Family, claimed that the Christian and Jewish clergy who spoke at the press conference "personally attack(ed) the Christian faith of some State Board of Education members." Really, Jonathan? How? When? It should be no surprise that he didn't offer a shred of evidence for such an absurd and reckless charge. (Folks shouldn't hold their breath waiting for Saenz to apologize to those clergy men and women.) Saenz also had the gall to question the truthfulness of clergy speakers who want social studies classes to teach the truth about how the Founders barred government from promoting one religion over all others:…… Read More

Well, here’s a neat trick. Liberty Institute/Free Market Foundation, the Texas affiliate of the far-right organization Focus on the Family, has placed the same shrill 0p-ed attacking the “liberal left” in the San Antonio Express-News (yesterday) and the Houston Chronicle (today). But the op-ed, which focuses on the State Board of Education’s revision of social studies curriculum standards, is bylined by two different people. The San Antonio paper runs the piece under the name of the group’s Austin-based lobbyist, Jonathan Saenz. The Houston paper, on the other hand, runs it under Jennifer Grisham’s name. Grisham is Liberty’s media director. It’s amazing how two different people came up with the identical hack piece. No attempt to mislead anybody there, right?… Read More

We'll say this for the folks at the far-right Liberty Institute in Plano: they do a very good job of lying to their own members. The latest example is an e-mail blast to LI members today about the State Board of Education and the revision of social studies curriculum standards for Texas public schools. The e-mail repeats a litany of distortions the far-right group has been pushing since last year, including that liberal curriuclum writers supposedly didn't want students to learn about Christmas, important patriotic holidays and even astronaut Neil Armstrong. Never mind, of course, that the manufactured "controversy" about Christmas was little more than a fundraising gimmick for far-right groups like LI, the Texas affiliate of Focus on the Family. Moreover, it was Peter Marshall -- one of the absurdly unqualified evangelical conservatives far-right state board members put on an "expert" panel for the curriculum revision -- who insisted that Neil Armstrong be removed from a key curriculum standard. We could go on, but you get the point. But the LI e-mail trumps even that nonsense in a sneering rejection of the common-sense notion that the state board stop dismissing the…… Read More

When it comes to lies at election time, many voters point at mistruths they hear from candidates. But voter guides put out by far-right pressure groups in Texas are hardly good examples of honesty themselves. Consider, for example, this question for Texas State Board of Education candidates from the current voter guide put out by Liberty Institute, the renamed Free Market Foundation (the Texas affiliate of the far-right Focus on the Family): Do you support the current law which says the Board may reject a textbook if it believes the book is unsuitable? Actually, the law doesn't say that at all. Read More