Maybe it's the stress of the campaign. Maybe it was another gaffe by the gaffe-prone governor. Maybe it's just simply a change of heart. But whatever the reason, Gov. Rick Perry exposed himself this weekend as a lover of scientific evidence. For reals. Read More

Rick Perry is so determined to pander to religious-right voters in the Republican presidential primaries that he wants to gut the First Amendment, one of the most important protections for religious freedom in America. See the partial transcript below from Gov. Perry's interview on Fox News Sunday this past weekend. Let's be clear: Gov. Perry is simply not telling the truth when he suggests that children can't "pray in school any time that they would like." They can and many do. What the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution bars is public schools sponsoring or encouraging prayer. That prohibition protects the right of families and congregations to direct the religious education of their children. It also protects the right of students to pray their own prayers based on their own religious beliefs, not the religious beliefs of the teacher or school administrators. In short, public schools may not decide whose religious beliefs to favor or disfavor. But Gov. Perry wants a constitutional amendment sweeping away that fundamental protection. By arguing to overturn the 1962 Supreme Court decision barring school-sponsored (read: government-approved) prayer, he's looking to gut the First Amendment. And that would threaten religious freedom for all Americans. Read More

A new gaffe-filled video of Rick Perry is making the rounds, this one from his editorial board interview with the Des Moines Register on Friday (video from Think Progress):

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_NWaRKUbpY&feature=player_embedded#at=37]

Think Progress immediately zeroed in on Perry’s reference to “eight unelected” judges on the Supreme Court. (The court has nine justices.) But it fails to mention his arguably more disturbing trampling of the Constitution and First Amendment. Referring to prayer in public schools, Perry says:

The independent school boards that oversee those should make those decision [sic], not government. Again, I mean the idea that we have to be so politically correct that there’s one family that says, listen, I don’t want my child — then that child ought to have the freedom to be, um, you know, can sit over there and play tic-tac-toe or what have you. But the issue is that for Washington to tell a local school district that you cannot have a prayer, and a time of prayer in that school, I think is offensive to most Americans.

Wow. There’s a lot of muddled thinking to unpack here.

First, Perry doesn’t seem to understand that local school boards ARE government. In Texas school… 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

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PAJNntoRgA]

“I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a Christian. But you don’t need to be in the pews every Sunday to know that there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.”

The Texas Tribune reports that an “official familiar with the campaign strategy” says this new Iowa ad for Gov. Perry is targeting evangelical voters with the message that the “moral fabric of our country is out of whack.” In the ad Perry criticizes what he absurdly calls “Obama’s war on religion” and “liberal attacks on our religious heritage.”

The ad follows a statement yesterday in which Gov. Perry attacked a new Obama administration policy to defend the human rights of gay people who are imprisoned, brutalized and even murdered in some countries. Perry called the policy “not in America’s interests” and “not worth a dime of taxpayers’ money.”

Misusing religion to divide voters isn’t a new political strategy for  Gov. Perry, of course. But his rhetoric is increasingly divisive and even incendiary as he desperately tries to regain his footing in the race for the Republican… 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