With Christmas celebrations on the brink of extinction in Texas, the Texas House intervened yesterday by passing the “Merry Christmas bill” to ensure public schools remain a welcome place for Jesus Santa.

Santa’s attorney — and lobbyist for the religious-right group Texas Values — was at the Capitol to whip votes and remind us all of the true meaning of Christmas. Check out this Twitter post from Jim Henson of the Texas Politics Project:

RT @kathygranttx: Every day is Christmas & every night is New Year’s Eve at the #txlege twitter.com/KathyGrantTx/s…

— Jim Henson (@jamesrhenson) May 9, 2013

The bill now awaits a vote in the Senate.… Read More

A rare moment of rational debate broke out in the Texas Senate last week in the most unlikely of places — a committee hearing on a proposal to ban Texas courts from imposing  “foreign law” (code for Sharia law) on citizens. Hearings on this contentious subject in previous years have been marked by open bigotry and wild accusations against Muslim Americans.  But the Senate Business & Commerce Committee’s consideration of SB 1639 by Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, took a different tone.

There were, to be sure, several testifiers who warned of the threat of a “hostile system of laws that has crept into our community” and peddled thinly veiled paranoia. But after these folks had their say, the committee heard from  a parade of informed, thoughtful testifiers who systematically took apart the case for the bill. Pastors, interfaith groups, civil liberty organizations and attorneys specializing in family law each in their turn challenged the need for — and motivation behind — the proposed bill.

The key exchange came at the end of incisive testimony by Karl Hayes of the Texas Family Law Foundation:

Hayes: “None of the proponents who have come forth to testify on this… Read More

by Dan Quinn

The board, staff and student leaders of the Texas Freedom Network extend our profound gratitude for your unwavering support. From all of us to you and yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Click here to send this photo as an eCard to someone you think would support the mission of the Texas Freedom Network.… Read More

We are about to implement a new design and features that better integrate TFN Insider and the Texas Freedom Network’s main website. So we apologize in advance for any technical hiccups that might happen over the next couple of days.

We hope you will like the new design. Like the one we’ve had since launching TFN Insider in July 2008, the new design is pretty streamlined and easy to navigate. In fact, it’s very similar to our current website. What’s not changing is our goal to help TFN Insider readers stay informed about the religious right in Texas and our efforts to protect religious freedom, individual liberties and public education for all.

We also want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support and for helping spread the word about TFN’s important work. You might be interested to know that TFN Insider is about to reach an important milestone for the blog of a nonprofit, state-based advocacy group: 1 million views since launch. The healthy traffic to this blog is due in large part to readers like you who contribute your own comments and share our posts on your own blogs, your Facebook pages,… Read More

Tonight the Texas Freedom Network celebrates 16 years of work promoting religious freedom, civil liberties and public education. Please join us for our Epic Evening from 7 to 10 p.m at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum (1800 Congress Ave.) in Austin.

This is TFN’s biggest celebration and fundraiser of the year. We’ll have a fabulous silent auction, tasty appetizers and great music by the Texas Tycoons. In addition, TFN will recognize state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, with a Legislative Hero award for his efforts to stop the State Board of Education from censoring our schoolchildren’s textbooks and politicizing their classrooms. He is also a strong supporter of responsible, evidence-based sex education in public schools. We will also thank Nancy Neavel and her late husband Dick for their years of selfless volunteerism and support for TFN’s work by recogizing both with our Samantha Smoot Activist award.

You can still buy tickets at the door tonight ($65). So please come out and join hundreds of fellow Texans in celebrating our 16 years of work on behalf of real mainstream values.… Read More