When Southern Baptists reaffirmed their hostility to equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans this week in New Orleans, a leading anti-gay voice there was a Texas pastor who has promoted Texas Gov. Rick Perry to conservative evangelicals in the past.

Southern Baptists meeting at their denomination’s annual convention overwhelmingly passed a resolution attacking marriage equality:

The resolution acknowledges that gays and lesbians sometimes experience “unique struggles” but declares that they lack the “distinguishing features of classes entitled to special protections.”

“It is regrettable that homosexual rights activists and those who are promoting the recognition of ‘same-sex marriage’ have misappropriated the rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement,” the resolution states.

One of the authors of the resolution was the Rev. Dwight McKissic, an African-American pastor from Arlington, Texas:

“It’s important to sound the alarm again, because the culture is changing,” he said in an interview after the vote.

McKissic, who is black, said it was “an unfair comparison” for gays to equate same-sex marriage with civil rights because there is not incontrovertible scientific evidence that homosexuality is an innate characteristic, like skin color.

“They’re equating their sin with my skin,” he said.

McKissic has a long history of using incendiary anti-gay rhetoric. For… Read More

It’s bad enough that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has appointed three anti-science creationists in a row to chair the State Board of Education. This weekend we read something that shines an even brighter light on the governor’s carelessness and even indifference when it comes to a deeply dysfunctional and hyper-politicized board that guides what millions of Texas kids learn in their public schools.

The Waco Tribune-Herald has published an interview with Gail Lowe, a Lampasas Republican who is seeking re-election to her District 14 state board seat. (The newspaper also interviewed Lowe’s opponent, Sue Melton of Waco, in the Republican primary for that seat. Subscription required for accessing either interview.) We were astonished to read that Lowe says she had no conversation with Gov. Perry when he appointed her to chair the board in 2009:

“I never spoke with the governor. I’m sorry, but that was not a personal relationship.

Wow. Seriously?

That’s a jaw-dropping revelation considering that Lowe’s appointment came at an especially sensitive moment for the board. The Texas Senate had failed to confirm the appointment of Don McLeroy, R-College Station, to a second term as chair of the state board. Senate rejections… Read More

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is upset about President Obama's comments that a Supreme Court decision to overturn the health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, would represent “unprecedented, extraordinary” judicial activism. Senator McConnell said today that the president is trying to "intimidate" the Supreme Court: “With his words, he was no longer trying to embarrass the Court after a decision; rather, he tried to intimidate it before a decision has been made. And that should be intolerable to all of us.” Oh, cry me a river. Senator McConnell is ignoring the right's decades-long assault on an independent judiciary. Last year, for example, Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested that judges who make decisions he think represent judicial activism should be arrested. Gingrich has also said that judges who engage in what he calls "judicial supremacy" should be impeached. Texas Gov. Rick Perry also attacks what he considers judicial activism and argues that judges can be held "accountable" by ending lifetime tenure. He even calls the Supreme Court "nine oligarchs in robes."…… Read More

The religious right insists that faith is under siege in America. Far-right leaders and pressure groups have pushed the “war on religion” trope for years now. Texas Gov. Rick Perry even used it during his doomed presidential campaign last December. Most recently, the right has argued that the Obama administration’s policy on insurance coverage for contraception is part of this mythical “war.”

But a new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows that most Americans aren’t buying it. According to that poll, Americans by a 56%-39% margin say they don’t think religious liberty is under threat in America today. Of those who do believe religious freedom is threatened, only 6 percent mentioned the current debate over health insurance coverage for birth control. Others mentioned “hostility towards Christians/religion” (10 percent), “removing religion from the public square” (23 percent) and “general government interference in religion” (20 percent).

David Barton, president of Texas-based WallBuilders, plays especially on such fears. You can see that in Barton’s recent essay absurdly claiming that Barack Obama has been “the most Biblically hostile” American president.

The PRRI poll also shows that a majority of Americans support requiring that employers, including… Read More

Does David Dewhurst see electoral gold in politicizing Texas churches? The Texas lieutenant governor is seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat Kay Bailey Hutchison is leaving after this year. On March 23 he will attend “a private briefing” with conservative pastors at a megachurch in south Houston. The right-wing Houston Area Pastor Council (HAPC) is promoting the event.

From the event’s website:

Join pastors and community leaders for this timely opportunity to have a private briefing on critical issues facing state and nation, and also have personal interaction with Lt. Gov. Dewhurst. We will introduce other elected officials and candidates in attendance. Included in the program will be critical Primary and General election information.

This “private briefing” is a page right out of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s political playbook. Gov. Perry has made courting the support of conservative pastors a key part of building his electoral base over the years. In fact, the governor spoke before thousands of pastors and their spouses at six “Pastors Policy Briefings” sponsored by the Texas Restoration Project in 2005 and at others since then. All of the events have been closed to news reporters (except for a… Read More

Texas Freedom Network

It took years to convince the @TXSBOE to create a Mexican American studies course for the state's public schools. It's great to see school districts offering it to students. cbsloc.al/3kKHvgR