Because of redistricting, all 15 seats on the Texas State Board of Education will be up for grabs in the November 2012 elections. The results of those elections will determine whether the religious right’s corrosive influence over public education will weaken or grow as the board considers what the next generation of public school students in Texas will learn about sex education, social studies, science and other subjects. We plan to publish on TFN Insider candidate announcements for a seat on the SBOE. We will publish announcements in no particular order, and their publication does not constitute any sort of endorsement by TFN. We will redact requests for contributions or mentions of fundraising events from the announcements, but we will provide links to the candidates’ websites (if available).

Dexter Smith, District 8, D-Friendswood (Current District 8 Board Member: Barbara Cargill-R-The Woodlands)

On Dec. 12, educator Dexter Smith filed to run as a Democrat in SBOE Dist. 7. The seat is currently held by David Bradley, R-Beaumont, who is running for reelection. Smith’s website is dextersmith4sboe.com.

My name is Dexter Smith. I am a father of four. My wife’s name is Toya and we have been married… Read More

Many of the hateful, sometimes highly political comments some of the people connected to The Response — the Gov. Rick Perry-hosted and supposedly nonpolitical prayer rally in Houston later this summer — are anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-Home Depot, anti-Barney the Dinosaur, anti-you name it. And also pro-violence? The event's info packet lists  Pastor Stephen Broden as one of the endorsers of The Response. Broden, of Dallas, ran for Congress as a Republican in 2010 but was defeated in the general election. A few weeks before the election, a Dallas TV reporter confronted Broden about comments he has made from the pulpit, including that the violent overthrow of the government was "on the table" if elections did not produce the results he wanted. Vote for me, or else? From Broden: We have a constitutional remedy. And the Framers say if that don't work, revolution.…… Read More

Gov. Rick Perry and his spokespeople have for a couple of weeks continued to claim that The Response, a Christian prayer and fasting event organized by the hate group the American Family Association and the governor, is not a political rally. Gov. Perry can continue to make that claim, but the people he's partnered with have no reservations about mixing religion and politics. Read More

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's decision to host a Christians-only prayer event with a vicious hate group is beyond appalling. The governor and his staff claim that the August 6 event in Houston is meant to bring the nation together in prayer. But how is that remotely possible when the event is designed to promote a conservative evangelical Christianity (a perspective certainly not shared by all Christians) and the governor has asked the American Family Association to organize it? In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified the AFA as a hate group on par with Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church, the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nations. Instead of uniting people of faith in prayer for our nation, this event will actually sharpen divisions among Americans along religious and political lines. So it's time for Texans, regardless of faith and political perspective, to stand up for decency, respect and tolerance. Sign on to an open letter that calls on Gov. Perry "to make this gathering open to speakers and attendees of all faiths and welcoming of people of good will who are not affiliated with a faith tradition." Moreover, the…… Read More

Big news over the weekend: Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced that he's hosting a Christian prayer rally and day of fasting this summer in Houston.  He claims the event  isn't political. But if that's the case, why is the event being hosted by, well, a politician -- in particular, a politician with possible presidential aspirations and who has a history of using faith as a political weapon to divide voters? And why was a documented hate group -- the American Family Association -- picked as the event's main funder and organizer? This won't be political? We'll see. Read More