Category Archives for religious freedom

Marking Religious Freedom Day: A Lesson for the Religious Right

Today is Religious Freedom Day, marking the anniversary of the passage of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom. Authored by Thomas Jefferson, the statute served as a model for other states. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution also includes the principle of religious freedom protected by the Virginia statute. The statute reads, in part: “Be it enacted by […]

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Phony Outrage over Alleged Religious Persecution

Here’s another item for the “we’re not surprised”  category: a Texas religious-right group is deceitfully portraying a U.S. Army chaplain as a victim of religious persecution. Liberty Institute, a litigation group based in Plano north of Dallas, is representing Capt. Joseph Lawhorn, an Army chaplain who ran into trouble for essentially evangelizing at a mandatory training on suicide prevention […]

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This Is How Bigotry Works

So here’s a story about how bigotry works — and how religious-right groups feed off it. Schools across America typically close for important Christian holidays like Christmas. Some also close for major Jewish holy days like Yom Kippur. Muslims in Maryland’s Montgomery County asked officials to consider closing local schools in recognition of major Islamic days of observance like Eid al-Adha as well. […]

Also posted in church and state, TFNEF, war on Christmas nonsense | 3 Comments

What Is the Real Threat to Religious Freedom in America?

Right-wing politicians and pressure groups cynically claim that religious freedom is under attack in America. But in a column published today in the Austin American-Statesman, Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller writes that the real threat to religious liberty comes from those seeking to redefine what that freedom actually means. Kathy’s full column is below. Recent court decisions extending marriage equality to […]

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Florida County Commissioners Discover That Religious Freedom Means Freedom for Everyone, Even Pagans

Religious-right activists celebrated when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this year, in a 5-4 decision, that beginning governmental meetings with sectarian prayers doesn’t violate the Constitution’s Establishment Clause. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins declared: “The court has rejected the idea that as citizens we must check our faith at the entrance to the public square.” Of course, […]

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Crying Wolf: Turns Out Texas Politicians, RR Groups Were Wrong about Religious Discrimination Claim

Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge UPDATE, 10 a.m., May 7: Even more about how this incident didn’t involve religious discrimination. The governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and a long list of religious-right groups and activists owe UIL officials an apology. *** One of the fastest ways to whip up a political […]

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Proposed Texas Constitutional Amendment Could Help Fred ‘God Hates Fags’ Phelps Disrupt Funerals

Why would religious-right groups like Texas Values, the Texas lobby arm of Plano-based Liberty Institute, want to help hate groups disrupt funerals for military servicemembers and the victims of tragedies like last week’s fertilizer plant explosion in West? Those groups are demanding that state lawmakers pass a constitutional amendment — HJR 110/SJR 4 — that […]

Also posted in 2013 Texas Legislature, LGBT issues, TFN, Westboro Baptist Church | 2 Comments

Texas House Committee to Consider Bill Protecting Discrimination in Colleges and Universities

On Wednesday the Texas House Higher Education Committee will consider legislation that could force Texas colleges and universities to allow student organizations to discriminate. House Bill 360 by state Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, would withhold state funding from a public or private institution of higher education that requires religious and other student organizations to […]

Also posted in 2013 Texas Legislature, LGBT issues, Matt Krause, TFN | 3 Comments

Texas Religious Freedom Law Doesn’t Need Fixing

Last Wednesday, the Texas House Committee on State Affairs took testimony on HJR 110, by state Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, which would add a modified version of the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to the state constitution. TFN supported passage of Texas RFRA in 1999, and we think it has been working just […]

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Week Ends with Big Wins for Public Education, Family Planning, LGBT Texans at the Capitol

This week began with the Texas Freedom Network mobilizing supporters of public education, family planning, LGBT rights and religious freedom for big battles at the Texas Capitol. We’re happy to report good news on a number of fronts, but hard work remains ahead of us. Public Education On Thursday the Texas House voted overwhelmingly, 103-43, […]

Also posted in birth control, Islam, LGBT issues, public education, Texas Legislature, TFN, vouchers | 2 Comments