TEXAS FREEDOM NETWORK STATEMENT ON HOUSE SPEAKER’S RACE
TFN President Kathy Miller: Speaker’s Race Shouldn’t Be a Religious Litmus Test
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 4, 2011
Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller today is calling on members of the Texas House of Representatives to put the interests of Texas families ahead of outrageous political tactics – including the misuse of religious faith – in the contest for House speaker:
“With the state facing massive budget cuts and a tough economy, it’s disturbing that ‘culture warriors’ insist on making the speaker’s race about divisive social issues rather than policies that help struggling families and businesses. But it’s even more shameful that some folks seem hell-bent on turning this into a religious litmus test, implying that support for a particular speaker candidate makes someone a bad Christian. That is nothing more than using faith as a political weapon, and I think a lot of Texans are getting sick of it.”
Since the November elections, some far-right activists have opposed the re-election of Joe Straus as speaker of the Texas House, calling for the election instead of a “Christian, conservative” speaker. Straus is Jewish. In addition, Texas Right to Life has now published on its blog an essay in which retired Catholic Bishop Rene Henry Gracida suggests that Catholic members of the House who support Speaker Straus are “committing a serious sin” because they cannot vote for Straus “with a clear conscience.” Gracida’s essay is available here.
The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of religious and community leaders who support religious freedom, civil liberties and public education.