Mormonism, or the attacks on it, is in the news again this morning following a story in The Daily Beast that cites emails between a Christian radio executive and well-known religious-right activist David Lane. The emails between Lane and Dick Bott of the Bott Radio Network seem to indicate the two were in cahoots to advance the anti-Mormon narrative that became controversial when Dallas pastor and Gov. Rick Perry supporter Robert Jeffress called the faith of Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney a cult and non-Christian. The story posits that because Lane a long history as an important Gov. Perry supporter, perhaps the coordinated efforts were not between Lane and Bott alone, but also with Gov. Perry's presidential campaign. We're not quite ready to take that leap. As Sarah Posner points out in another story published today in Religion Dispatches, the evidence for coordination between Gov. Perry's campaign and Lane on this issue is thin right now. But there are other reasons to be distressed by these emails. Read More

Stop us if you've heard this one before. An extremist pastor walks into a library to destroy public property and when the stunt royally backfires on him, he recruits a member of his congregation to craft an unconstitutional city ordinance that essentially made his church members the morality police and the arbiters of what you and your children can read. No? Never heard that one before? It happened in Wichita Falls in the late 1990s. The pastor in question is Robert Jeffress, at the time the senior pastor of First Baptist Wichita Falls. Jeffress has since moved on to bigger things. He's now at First Baptist Dallas and in the past week has stirred controversy by endorsing Gov. Rick Perry and going on the attack against the Mormon faith of Perry rival Mitt Romney. Jeffress' 1998 controversy erupted after he learned that the Wichita Falls Public Library had purchased two copies each of "Heather Has Two Mommies" and "Daddy's Roommate," both children's books about kids with same-sex parents. Read More

Sounds like Texas Gov. Rick Perry might be taking history lessons from the State Board of Education — you know, the panel that adopted heavily politicized and distorted social studies curriculum standards two years ago.

During a post-debate gathering at a Dartmouth frat party (seriously) last night, someone asked Gov. Perry about states’ rights. His response:

“Our Founding Fathers never meant for Washington, D.C. to be the fount of all wisdom. As a matter of fact they were very much afraid of that because they’d just had this experience with this far-away government that had centralized thought process and planning and what have you, and then it was actually the reason that we fought the revolution in the 16th century was to get away from that kind of onerous crown if you will.”

Good grief. The governor who so claims to revere the nation’s founders and the Constitution was off by two centuries — the American Revolution happened in the 18th century. (And never mind the governor’s dizzy comment about “centralized thought process.” He seems to have confused the Declaration of Independence with 1984 — yet another two centuries away.)

Gov.… Read More

by Jose Medina

Has anyone ever seen the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer and Dallas First Baptist Church Pastor Robert Jeffress together in the same room at the same time? No, I'm not implying that one is Clark Kent and that the other is Superman. What I'm saying is, well, this: "Because my argument all along has been that the purpose of the First Amendment is to protect the free exercise of the Christian religion." — Bryan Fischer "However, the fact that our Constitution demands that everyone have the freedom to embrace any religious beliefs, or no religious beliefs, does not mean that the government cannot demonstrate a preference for Christianity." — Robert Jeffress [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-R0GYhsX-o8&w=205&h=144] [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf5hE_e6iiM&w=210&h=144]…… Read More

Today, Aug. 6, 2011, Gov. Rick Perry received the support of a major Texas far-right figure, then took the stage in front of hundreds of social conservatives at Houston's Reliant Stadium. Wait. Check that. Today is Oct. 7, 2011. Excuse the déjà vu, but we've been watching the 2011 Values Voter Summit, which kicked off today in Washington, D.C., with almost all of the 2012 Republican presidential candidates in attendance. That's where Gov. Perry was, again using faith as a political tool to court voters, and again receiving the support of a major religious-right activist, kind of like what happened at the Response on Aug. 6. This time around the support came from Robert Jeffress, the senior pastor of First Baptist Church out of Dallas. Jeffress endorsed Gov. Perry's presidential bid early Friday and later introduced the governor for his VVS speech. Jeffress is not unlike some of the folks we saw at The Response. He's anti-Muslim, venomously anti-gay rights, and — in what would make a meeting with Mitt Romney really, really awkward — asserts Mormonism is a cult:…… 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