As we reported yesterday, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board voted to approve the “Calvary Hill” specialty license plate, which includes the words “One State Under God” and three crosses on a hill:

Just a little thought experiment — do you think the DMV board’s vote would have gone the same way if the proposed design looked like this:

Or this:

Or this:

I’m skeptical.

And I’m even more skeptical that the lobbyist for Focus on the Family-Texas would be in the papers arguing that the state should authorize those plates:

“Private speech, protected by the First Amendment, should not be subjected to second-class treatment. Anyone who opposed this plate either doesn’t know the law or has no respect for the First Amendment.”

But if this really is about the First Amendment, what’s the difference?… Read More

The Texas Freedom Network just sent out the following press release:

STATE APPROVAL OF CHRISTIAN-THEMED LICENSE PLATE DISRESPECTFUL OF CHRISTIANITY, RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

DMV Board Vote Diminishes Religious Liberty in Texas

Thursday’s approval by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board of a Christian-themed specialty license plate is disrespectful of Christianity and the religious freedom of people of all faiths, spokespersons for the state’s leading religious liberties watchdog said today.

“It’s become pretty clear that our governor is dismissive of religious beliefs other than his own, and now his governmental appointees have voted to send a message that Texas is unwelcoming to the religious faiths of some of its citizens,” Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said. “The truth is that giving government the power to play favorites with faith ultimately diminishes religious freedom for everyone.”

The DMV board approved the “Calvary Hill” specialty license plate design on a 4-3 vote. Proceeds from the government-approved design, which includes the words “One State Under God” and three crosses on a hill, will benefit a Christian youth outreach program. Christians themselves should be concerned by the board’s approval of the license plate design, said the Rev. Dr. Larry Bethune, a TFN… Read More

It's a biennial legislative tradition in Texas -- trotting out a new batch of devious proposals to merge religion and government and attack religious pluralism. And 2011 was no exception.  As the dust settles, the news on this front is mostly good for advocates of religious freedom, as none of the problematic legislation TFN worked to oppose on this issue ultimately made it to the governor's desk. This should be considered a major victory, given the influx of culture warriors who joined the Texas Legislature this session. Here are some highlights:…… Read More

Too often we see public officials in Texas use faith as a political weapon against their opponents. Just as appalling is that so many of those officials seemingly dismiss the reality that their diverse constituencies include people from many different faith traditions. But some officials do show real respect for faith and the religious freedom and diversity of people across Texas. A good example of the latter came on Tuesday, when state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, offered an invocation at the beginning of the Texas Legislature’s special session. Rep. Howard is a former member of the Texas Freedom Network’s Board of Directors. We couldn’t be more proud of her.

Our friends at Texas Impact posted the video below.… Read More

In case you missed it, last week The Daily Show ran a funny piece on the battle over the re-election of Joe Straus as speaker of the Texas House. The show poked fun at the “miracle” of electing a Jewish speaker in a famously Christian land like Texas. And predictably, they found plenty of religious discrimination and rank hypocrisy in Texas, only it was directed at another minority religious group — American Muslims.

When correspondent John Oliver went looking for a useful bigot, Dave Welch of the right-wing Houston Area Pastor Council proved himself more than happy to oblige. Oliver asked — tongue in cheek —  “Can we at least agree that we don’t want a Muslim speaker?” To which a smug Welch replied:

“I would say right now, yes, for a variety of reasons. Again, we have deep concerns about the loyalty of Muslims to the Constitution.”

Wait a minute.

Last time I checked, the Constitution pretty clearly states “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States” (Article VI, paragraph 3).

Somebody isn’t being loyal to the Constitution, alright. But it isn’t American… Read More

Texas Freedom Network

.@iamjohnoliver used the clip in @LastWeekTonight for a segment on how the history of race in America is taught in schools. (2/2) #txed youtu.be/hsxukOPEdgg