by Dan Quinn

In the growing category of religious-right hypocrisy, read this recent statement from the Southern Baptist Convention's Richard Land regarding the proposed Muslim community center near Ground Zero in New York: "I take a back seat to no one when it comes to religious freedom and religious belief and the right to express that belief, even beliefs that I find abhorrent. But what I don't do is I don't say that religious freedom means that you have the right to build a place of worship anywhere that you want to build them."…… Read More

As attacks on the religious liberties of American Muslims grow, where are the supposed voices for religious freedom among far-right groups in Texas? Pressure groups like Liberty Institute (the Texas affiliate of Focus on the Family) and Texas Eagle Forum often grandstand about threats to First  Amendment's protections for religious freedom when they claim Christians are the victims of unjust government actions or court decisions. Why are they silent as some call for discriminating against Americans because they are Muslims? On Tuesday, for example, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association demanded that the government bar the construction of "even one more mosque" in America, charging that every Muslim is a terrorist-in-training: "Permits should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America, let alone the monstrosity planned for Ground Zero. This is for one simple reason: each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government."…… Read More

As the right's anti-religious freedom campaign against American Muslims gathers team, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered a stirring speech yesterday about a proposed Muslim community center near the site of the 9/11 terrorist attack. Mayor Bloomberg's powerful words echo an enduring American principle: our Constitution protects the religious freedom of all people and their right to worship as they choose without government interference. Bloomberg's speech came yesterday amid continued attacks on the religious freedom of Muslim Americans. Excerpts from the speech: …… Read More

We hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful Independence Day and recalling the freedoms on which our nation was founded and is still governed. So please take a few minutes to read the words that heralded the birth of our nation. We also thought it would be appropriate to note the words of two of our greatest American thinkers and heroes, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Jefferson, of course, authored our nation's Declaration of Independence. Madison is often considered the father of the Constitution. We recall the words of both (below) at a time when members of the Texas State Board of Education threaten one of our most cherished and important freedoms by insisting that public schools promote one particular religious perspective over all others. Indeed, some board members, like Cynthia Dunbar, and other influential political activists, like David Barton, even insist that our government, laws and elected officials essentially be judged by religious tests. Jefferson and Madison strongly argued otherwise. Read More

One thing you can be sure of: when the religious right and its supporters talk about "religious freedom," they're not talking about freedom for people of all religions. They want government to pick and choose which people of faith will be more free than others. The far-right faction on the Texas State Board of Education offers repeated examples of this kind of hypocrisy. Another example is a new anti-Muslim screed making the rounds on the Internet, criticizing what it calls efforts to "islamicize our schools." The author of the piece is Pamela Geller, a blogger and commentator popular in the far-right media (including the cable news networks). Think Ann Coulter, but with even less restraint or shame. Seriously. Geller, writing on her Atlas Shrugs blog, attacks an "instruction sheet" from an online resource explaining how Muslim parents can ensure that the religious freedom of their children is respected by American public schools: "Check out this 'instruction sheet' to Muslims on how to islamicize their public schools. There is no separation of mosque and state -- mosque is state in Islam. If this guide shows us anything, it's what idiots they take us for. This is, of course, an outrage. None…… Read More

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