The Baptist Joint Committee, which advocates out of traditional Baptist principles for separation of church state, has listed its top stories from 2009 dealing with religious liberty. Curriculum battles over science and social studies in Texas public schools missed the Top 10 but got an “honorable mention.” Because of the BJC’s work as a legal organization, its list of top stories leans heavily toward controversies involving the courts and constitutional issues. Among the group’s Top 10 stories:

David Souter’s replacement by Sonia Sotomayor on the U.S. Supreme Court A court ruling against Christian-themed license plates in South Carolina Controversial bans against Muslim headscarves U.S. foreign affairs and the role of religion Concern by progressives over whether the Obama administration will strongly support separation of church and state

Check out the full list here.Read More

As 2009 draws to a close, we have been reflecting on what has been a very busy year for the Texas Freedom Network. In February, for example, we made national news with the release of our groundbreaking report on the shocking failure of Texas to provide responsible sex education in our public schools. We made important progress in promoting sound science in medical research and, despite some setbacks, public school classrooms. We even helped block the renomination of an anti-science extremist as chair of the Texas State Board of Education. And we joined once again with other supporters of public education in slamming the door on private school voucher schemes in the Texas Legislature.

Right now, TFN is engaged in another critical debate over the future of our children’s education. You have been reading on this blog about efforts by far-right extremists to rewrite history and politicize social studies classrooms. That battle will stretch well into 2010.

So we’re asking for your help. A few generous TFN donors have established a 2009 Matching Gift Challenge. Every dollar you donate before the December 31 deadline will be matched dollar-for-dollar – up to the $50,000… Read More

by TFN

We wonder whether many of the foot soldiers in the religious-right movement will ever wake up to how they have been used. Over the years we've all seen how religious-right pressure groups wade into areas that would seem to have nothing to do with promoting "traditional family values" (whatever that means to them) and other "culture war" issues. Case in point: a group called CRAVE -- Christians Reviving America's Values -- is calling on supporters to oppose the Obama administration on health care reform. From a CRAVE press release headlined "America Cannot Afford Health Care" (and quoting the group's president, Don Swarthout): What have the uninsured people been doing for health care all of these years? The answer is simple. They have been going to Emergency Rooms to be treated because our laws and the Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors say that they must be treated. . . .…… Read More

The Texas Freedom Network has been stepping up efforts to protect the right of families to direct the religious education of their own children as the religious right's assault on that freedom moves into high gear. The latest example of the right's increasingly aggressive campaign: an Ohio teacher has filed a lawsuit claiming that public school officials have violated his constitutional and civil rights by trying to stop him from promoting his religious beliefs in the classroom. School officials in Mount Vernon, Ohio, took action against John Freshwater, an eighth-grade science teacher, after an investigation into a series of incidents. The Columbus Dispatch reports:…… Read More

by TFN

One of the things you can safely bet on when it comes to the religious right: the worse the fund-raising goes, the more extreme the language gets. Oh sure, it's not unusual to see nonprofits raise alarm levels in an effort to raise more money. But the religious right seems especially adept (and shameless) in vilifying their vicims, especially gay folks. Case in point: Vision America, based in the East Texas town of Lufkin. Read More

Texas Freedom Network

And none of it will be unexpectedly announced via tweet.…