Texas Lawmakers Ponder the ‘Culture War’ at Sept. 30 Event

Texas Lawmakers Ponder the ‘Culture War’ at Sept. 30 Event

Conference Explores the Role of ‘Moral Values’ in Contemporary Political Debate

September 28, 2005

AUSTIN A bipartisan panel of current and former lawmakers will reflect on the nation’s raging “culture war” at an Austin conference this week sponsored by the Texas Faith Network.

The panel discussion which includes state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio; state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston; and former U.S. Rep. Max Sandlin, D-Marshall is part of a day-long exploration of the role of “moral values” in contemporary American politics.

The conference is 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sept. 30, at the Palmer Events Center (900 Barton Springs Road) in Austin. It is part of a weekend of events marking the 10th anniversary of the Texas Freedom Network. The conference sponsor, the Texas Faith Network, is a project of the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund and includes more than 600 mainstream clergy from around the state. Other conference highlights include:

  • Religion and Sexuality Former state Rep. Glen Maxey and Shelby Knox, focus of the PBS-aired documentary The Education of Shelby Knox, will discuss the influence of the Christian right on debates over marriage and sex education.
  • Evolution, Stem Cells and the Religious War on Science Dr. Alan Gishlick of the National Center for Science Education and Maxine Jenks of the Capital Area Parkinson Society will review the war on science and its impact on public policy in areas such as education and medical research.
  • The Bible and Public Schools Parent and Odessa College professor David Newman will join Biblical scholar Claudia Camp of Texas Christian University to consider the recent controversy over a deeply flawed Bible curriculum being aggressively marketed to public schools across the country.
  • The Politics of Religion, Class and Race Alan Bean and Freddie Brookins Sr. will review the response of the religious community to the mass arrest in 1999 of African Americans on trumped up drug charges in Tulia, Texas.
  • Keynote remarks by Ernie Cortės and Jeff Sharlet Cortės is the southwest regional director of the Industrial Areas Foundation. Sharlet, a contributing editor for Harper’s Magazine, has written extensively about culture, religion and politics.

    Following the conference, award-winning actor and Greater Tuna star Jaston Williams will host the Texas Freedom Network’s 10th anniversary gala at 8 p.m., Oct. 1, at Palmer Events Center in Austin. Musicians Ruthie Foster and Grupo Fantasma will perform. For ticket information: www.tfn.org, 512-322-0545.
    Both the conference and gala are open and free to news media.